CLEVELAND -- Picking off two passes in the season opener was a grand way for eight-year NFL veteran Dimitri Patterson to thank the Dolphins for a new opportunity.
This was my first chance coming into training camp with a legitimate shot [to be a starter], Patterson said after his two interceptions helped Miami to a 23-10 win over his former team, the Browns, on Sunday in Cleveland. This was the first organization to do that, and I want to make sure that they made the right decision by me playing well.
Patterson excelled before leaving the game for good in the third quarter with a sore groin, an issue he says he has managed since training camp. He replied no doubt about it when asked if he would be ready to play next Sunday when the Dolphins visit the Indianapolis Colts.
Patterson thought it was wise of the Dolphins to remove him.
Ill be ready to play, he said. It was a safety precaution. They wanted to make sure I didnt pull anything and make it worse and be out a number of weeks.
Pattersons first interception came with 10 seconds left in the first quarter and the Browns on their 27. Cleveland quarterback Brandon Weeden tossed a short pass to the left that wide receiver Greg Little couldnt pull in, and Patterson lunged for the deflection. The pass was ruled incomplete, but the Dolphins successfully challenged the call with the replay showing that Patterson controlled the football before it made contact with the ground.
Four plays later, Caleb Sturgis booted a 49-yard field goal for a 6-0 Dolphins lead.
Patterson ended a Cleveland drive at the Miami 22 when he got his second pick with 8:05 to go in the second quarter. Weeden eluded a Dolphins pass rush and threw short to his left for tight end Jordan Cameron. The toss was a bit high and bounced off Camerons hands to a waiting Patterson.
The first [interception] was in man coverage, Patterson explained. It was just an over route, a third down. The ball was kind of high and went off the receivers hands. I just tried to catch it and focus in. The second one was a Cover-2 drop. It just went off [Camerons] hand and I dove for it. The second one was more just reading the quarterback. The first one was more being in the right place at the right time.
Patterson played 21 games, including five starts, for the Browns in 2011 and 2012 before they waived him last Dec. 17. The Dolphins picked him up the next day and he started their final two games.
Its a good feeling, he said of playing well against his former team. I wanted to come out and make sure Id have a good game, but if I have a bad game next week, this means nothing.
Fourth-year cornerback Nolan Carroll made the Dolphins first interception, ending Clevelands game-opening drive. He picked it off at the Dolphins 1-yard line as Weeden went deep left for receiver Travis Benjamin on a third-and-8 play from the Miami 40.
We said coming into the game that we wanted to be aggressive and wanted to take the ball away as much as possible, said Carroll, who played in the nickel package and then ably stepped in at cornerback after Pattersons departure. Our goal for this year is to be the No. 1 team in the league in takeaways.