Reporting Daryl Ruiter
CINCINNATI (92.3 The Fan) – Cleveland Browns coach Pat Shurmur knows that he is campaigning to keep his job.
After watching his football team fall to 0-2, Shurmur focused on the progress made Sunday – especially by the Browns’ top 2 rookies.
“They both (Richardson and Weeden) had pretty good production,” Shurmur said. “There were a couple plays I didn’t recognize that ended up being good plays. I was talking with Brad (Childress) and I said ‘I didn’t recognize that play but good job.’ Guys just find a way.”
The 24 points scored were the most that the Browns have scored since week 2 last year – a 27-19 win at Indianapolis.
“I’m proud of my guys,” Shurmur said. “I thought they did a hell of a job of playing hard. Now, they gave up some big plays and in the end that was the difference.”
Running back Trent Richardson ran for 109 yards on 19 carries and his first NFL TD – a 32-yard run in the second quarter. He also caught a 23-yard touchdown in the third quarter to pull the Browns back within 7 at 24-17.
“It felt good,” Richardson said of his first NFL TD. “It would have felt even better if we would have won. It’s a big deal when you finally get to touch the end zone.”
Quarterback Brandon Weeden was noticeably better as well.
“I wish I had a dollar for every hour that I put in this week,” Weeden said. “I busted my tail and really dissected what we do. I felt pretty confident out there. I think for the most part it was a lot better than last week but there’s still a sour taste.”
Weeden completed 26 of 37 passes for 322 yards and a pair of touchdowns as the offense racked up 440 yards of total offense.
“Brandon did some things better,” Shurmur said. “And as a coach looking at it there’s some area’s where he can improve.
“He’s learning some things and i think he’s made some progress today as a quarterback in the NFL.”
Weeden finished with 114.9 rating – light years ahead of the 5.1 he registered against the Eagles. His 322 passing yards set a new Browns rookie record surpassing Eric Zeier’s 310-yard effort at Cincinnati on Oct. 29, 1995.
“Last week I was extremely upset with the way I played,” Weeden said. “I busted my tail in the film room studying. We have something to build off of. That’s the positive.
“We’ve just got to find a way here and there to make 1 more play.”
Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson’s interception in the third quarter was turned into a touchdown instead of just a field goal – last week, the Browns kicked 3 field goals off of 3 interceptions and a fumble recovery.
Following the game, Shurmur was anxious to put the loss behind them.
“It’s all about the process,” Shurmur said. “This game’s over now and we’re already into our new process. They were singing the National Anthem and I told one of the guys, one of the players next to me — I didn’t even look at him — and I said, ‘Game day never gets old.’ And really it doesn’t. Now that game day’s over, the process is where we’ve got to get back into it and we just do.
“That’s why we circle the wagons and although you guys write beautiful stuff, we don’t read it, we don’t listen to it — we just forge ahead.”
Spectacular Effort: Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga got an up close and personal introduction to Trent Richardson Sunday.
After watching Richardson run for 39 yards on 19 carries last week against Philadelphia, Maualuga told Cincinnati reporters that he didn’t see anything “spectacular” on film from the No. 3 pick in the draft.
Richardson heeded those words and did his best to be spectacular as he ran for 109 yards and a touchdown. He also caught 4 passes for 36 yards and another score.
“He came out and made a statement,” Maualuga told reporters after the game. “He had a good game. We shook hands. We’re moving forward. I’ll see him in a few weeks.”
Richardson said earlier in the week the comments “sparked” him and it showed.
“Yes, I used them as motivation,” Richardson said. “I talked to him after the game and he said, ‘I respect your game.’ We’re playing football and having fun so it doesn’t matter what you say.”
Visible Man: Incoming owner Jimmy Haslam III made the trip to Cincinnati to take in the first road and AFC North game of the season. He wore what might become his customary game day attire – a light grey sport coat with orange tie.
Haslam attended the Florida-Tennessee game Saturday before flying to Cincinnati. He rode over to the stadium on the team bus.
Where’s Sheldon: Cornerback Sheldon Brown was credited with playing in his 162nd consecutive game but was barely visible.
Buster Skrine started in Brown’s place at right corner and Skrine had a tough day to say the least.
“He battled, against a very fine receiver at times,” Shurmur said. “I think it’s safe to say that A.J. (Green) is going to get his plays. I thought (Andrew) Hawkins did a nice job. They’ve got some very talented skill players that, let’s give them a little credit now. They created some big plays.”
Brown sustained a shoulder/neck stinger last week against Philadelphia but practiced all week and was not a factor in Shurmur’s decision not to play him a lot.
“Yeah, we had Buster (Skrine) in there,” Shurmur said. “That’s all I’ll say. Sheldon’s fine; we played Buster.”
Injuries: Rookie defensive tackle Billy Winn sustained a concussion in the first quarter and TE Alex Smith walked off with trainers with 9:57 to play in the fourth with a head injury as well.
Safety Eric Hagg left the game in the second quarter with an eye injury but returned after halftime.
Defensive end Juqua Parker left the game with an ankle injury in the third quarter.
Shurmur did not have an update as to how severe the injuries were.