Reporting Daryl Ruiter
BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – For the first time in a long time, Cleveland Browns coach Pat Shurmur can smile on a Monday.
His team ended an 11-game losing streak dating back to Nov. 20 of last season with a 34-24 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
With new ownership and the burden of the streak hovering over him, no one needed the win more than Shurmur.
“We needed it,” Shurmur said. “This isn’t about me; this is about my players, our city. This is about trying to build a consistent winner.”
The Browns had their opportunities in each of their first 5 losses but just couldn’t find a way to get over the hump.
Quarterback Brandon Weeden, who turned 29 Sunday, threw for 231 yards a pair of TDs and an interception – which actually came off of a tipped ball.
“We’ve been close the first couple weeks,” Weeden said. “We just haven’t been able to like coach says get out of our own way. We’ve shot ourselves in the foot. I think confidence-wise closing out a game, playing well in the second half, playing well in the fourth quarter in all three phases has got to give us confidence. Now the goal is to keep moving forward and build from it. Use the momentum going forward.”
They did on Sunday.
“The first 5 games, we gave ourselves a chance to win but didn’t make enough plays to do it,” Shurmur said. “We made enough plays yesterday, as a team.”
The Browns overcame the loss of rookie running back Trent Richardson to injury and 7 consecutive series without a first down.
“It wasn’t always pretty,” Shurmur said. “We had way too many 3-and-outs. But we found a way to score enough points.”
Monday, Shurmur was pretty candid about the frustrating stretch between the second and third quarters.
“We were calling bad plays and we weren’t executing,” Shurmur said.
The Browns scored 20 offensive points in the second half – 27 total. Weeden hopes that it’s a sign that things are starting to come together.
“We’re scoring a lot points, our defense is playing well, offensively we’re starting to click and mesh there,” Weeden said. “The entire team, against New York we had a bad play and it kind of snowballed. That didn’t happen yesterday. That kind of shows the progress we’re making from what we’ve been through. I think it’s a good thing. We’ve got a long ways to go, but we’re on the right track.”
Despite the adversity, they found a way to get it together and put 27 points on the board in the second half – 21 came in the fourth quarter.
“We took another step forward,” Shurmur said. “These guys are all full grown men. We got better as a team because we won a game. Now we have to show consistency and go win another.”