CINCINNATI - The Cleveland Browns' defense could have used cornerback Joe Haden in their 34-27 loss to the Bengals Sunday, but he was reportedly at home in Florida.
While Haden served the first of a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, Dimitri Patterson got the start in his place. Patterson is normally the slot defender.
Patterson was beaten by receiver A.J. Green on a 10-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter, but for most of the time he held up well. There was no question where the Bengals were going with the ball almost every time quarterback Andy Dalton dropped back.
"It was a collective contribution from the receiving corps, but make no mistake about it, they made a conscious effort all four quarters to get A.J. Green the ball," Patterson said. "He had help, and they came out with a victory."
Green finished with seven receptions for 58 yards. The Browns were hurt more by Ben Tate, who had three catches for 71 yards and a 44-yard touchdown, and Andrew Hawkins, who had two receptions for 56 yards and a 50-yard touchdown.
Dalton was successful at times throwing toward second-year cornerback Buster Skrine. Skrine started in place of Sheldon Brown.
"I didn't think I played well," Skrine said. "I have to play better next week."
WHAT'S THE STORY?: Brown was a mysterious healthy scratch. He hurt a shoulder against the Eagles but was able to practice all week.
"We had Buster in there, and that's all I'll say," coach Pat Shurmur said. "Sheldon's fine. We played Buster."
TOUGH GOING: Left tackle Joe Thomas was beaten in pass protection twice by defensive end Michael Johnson in the first quarter. Quarterback Brandon Weeden was tripped for a sack by Johnson the first time. In the second period Thomas was penalized for holding on a run by Trent Richardson, and he was penalized later for illegal motion.
Thomas was listed on the injury report with a knee problem. He was limited in practice last week.
NOT DOUBTER: Shurmur didn't think twice about throwing the challenge flag on a play late in the fourth quarter in which Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham caught a 22-yard pass from Dalton on a third-and-7 play from the Browns' 46. Gresham bobbled the ball when hit by safety T.J. Ward along the sideline. Shurmur thought that Gresham didn't have both feet inbounds after regaining possession, but his challenge was overruled.
"At that point you have to challenge that because that's a significant game situation," Shurmur said. "The views that we saw said that he bobbled it going out of bounds. You have to (challenge it) because it's fourth down and they're punting. I've got one timeout left and we're on the other side of the two-minute warning."
RECORD-SETTER: Weeden set the Browns' rookie record for passing yards in a game with 322. He broke the record of 310 set by Eric Zeier on Oct. 29, 1995.
INJURY REPORT: The defense took a big hit. Rookie tackle Billy Winn exited in the first period with a head injury, which usually means a concussion. Safety Eric Hagg went to the locker room in the second quarter with an eye injury but returned. End Juqua Parker was carted off in the third quarter with a sprained foot.
On the offensive side receiver Greg Little left in the second quarter but managed to return. Tight end Alex Smith left in the fourth quarter with a concussion.
CENTURY MARK: Richardson had his first 100-yard rushing day with 109 on 19 carries. It marked the first time a Browns rookie rushed for 100 yards in a game since Lee Suggs did it Dec. 28, 2003, here against the Bengals.
SHARP EYE: New Browns owner James Haslam's game-day presence continues to stand out. He was on the field two hours before kick off keeping close watch on proceedings. He went back inside for a short time but was one the field during warmups.
Haslam has been taking stock of all aspects of the organization so he will be better prepared to take an active role when his ownership is officially approved by the other 31 owners next month.
INACTIVES: The Browns opted not to play quarterback Thaddeus Lewis, receiver Jordan Norwood, running back Brandon Jackson, safety Ray Ventrone, linebacker James-Michael Johnson, offensive lineman Oniel Cousins and linebacker Tank Carter.
The Bengals sat down cornerbacks Jason Allen and Dre Kirkpatrick, halfback Bernard Scott, tight end Donald Lee, receiver Ryan Whalen, tight end Richard Quinn and defensive end Carlos Dunlap.