Reporting Daryl Ruiter
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) - Wind, rain and a slick field.
Those are the types of days that Jim Brown used to live for.
Apparently Trent Richardson does too.
Richardson, who entered the game with a right rib injury, ran for a career-best 122 yards on 24 carries and a touchdown as the Cleveland Browns escaped with a 7-6 victory Sunday afternoon at soggy and sloppy Cleveland Browns Stadium.
“Great running backs break tackles,” Brown said in the locker room after the game. “You do that, you are in control. You keep the ball. The other team is disheartened. That’s football.”
It marked the second time that No. 3 pick in the draft crossed the century plateau this season. He ran for 109 and a TD in week 2 at Cincinnati.
Buster Skrine sealed the victory, the Browns’ second in 3 weeks, by tipping a Philip Rivers pass incomplete on 4th and 10 with 1:20 to play.
“Buster, he’s a really, really good kid,” cornerback Joe Haden said. “He’s a hell of a football player and I’m just glad that he was able to show it today in the clutch. Definitely when the game is on the line, he showed that he’s big enough for the occasion, and he stepped up and made the play.”
Brandon Weeden struggled throwing in the rain completing 11 of 27 passes for 129 yards but did not throw an interception for the second straight game.
The Chargers opened the game by running on 9 of the 10 plays on their opening drive but Jackie Battle was stopped on 4th and 1 at the 30 by safety T.J. Ward.
Richardson started and picked up 3 yards on his 1st carry, 8 more on his second run, 11 on his 4th and then 26 yards and a touchdown to cap the 12-play rain soaked opening drive.
“This is football weather,” Richardson said. “You grow up looking at the Cleveland Browns and people up north and you wonder how they do it.
“I’m still thawing out right now.”
Richardson used 5 carries to run for 49 of the 70 yards on the drive that included a 4th and 1 quarterback sneak by Weeden at the 28 to keep it alive and give Cleveland an early 7-0 lead.
His run marked the first time since 2005 that the Browns scored a TD on their opening drive in back to back games.
Unfortunately, the Browns offense sputtered from there punting on their next 9 possessions, 3 of which began inside their own 10 and 5 inside their 20, but had opportunities to add to the lead.
On the 10th and final possession, Weeden was able to line up in victory formation and take 2 knees to run out the clock.
“Let’s not kid anybody here, our defense won us that football game,” Weeden said. “If I had a game ball I’d give it to those guys.”
Late in the first quarter Browns linebacker James-Michael Johnson popped the football loose from Chargers running back Ryan Matthews after a 4-yard gain. Rookie defensive tackle Billy Winn covered up the loose ball at the 46 before sliding out of bounds.
The Browns blew the golden opportunity to cash in when a reverse on 2nd and 4 went awry. Travis Benjamin fumbled a hand off from Josh Cribbs’ and eventually recovered but it was a loss of 20 yards.
On the next defensive series, Winn recorded his first career NFL sack.
The Chargers avoided the first half shutout with a 10-play, 55-yard drive that ended with a 43 yard field goal at the gun by Nick Novak. He added a 31 yard kick to cut the Browns’ lead to 1 at 7-6 with 2:33 to play in the third quarter but that was as close as the Chargers got.
Chargers defensive end Corey Liuget sacked Brandon Weeden on a 3rd and 10 from San Diego’s 34 to end the 3rd quarter to thwart a scoring opportunity and force another punt.
It didn’t matter.
Despite their second win in 3 weeks, there will be no victory Monday for players in Berea.
Not this week.
They told coach Pat Shurmur after the game they will give up an easy day off to hit the film room and begin preparations for next week because, “They have work to do.”