CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – There is no such thing as an ugly win.
Not in Cleveland.
Sunday’s 7-6 slosh-fest in the pouring rain and driving wind was hardly a thing of beauty but it was a win – and the first for new owner Jimmy Haslam.
After the game Haslam was presented a game ball by coach Pat Shurmur.
“It was a great win,” Haslam said as he left the locker room holding tight his newest possession. “We played hard, made a great play at the end, the defense played tough. It was a good effort.”
Several players have felt how Haslam’s energy has started to trickle into the locker room.
Even Hall of Famer Jim Brown, who was estranged from the organization the last few years, has noticed.
“The team and the organization seem to be heading in the right direction,” Brown said. “Jimmy Haslam brought a spirit here that we haven’t seen in a long time. And the team is responding to that, and they’re looking better. And of course, this victory today was a great one. So, if you look at the Cleveland Browns right now, the future holds nothing but better things, in my opinion.”
Even with the win, the Browns are still 2-6 overall. That is a game worse than they were a year ago, and of course the future of Pat Shurmur is in doubt.
Last week Haslam was caught on TV unhappy with a decision by Shurmur bot to go for it on a 4th and 1. So what did he think of Shurmur and his staff this week?
“They did a good job. A win is a win and they hung tough and did a good job. Tough, tough conditions out there.”
4th And Get None: The Browns defense was money all day keeping the Chargers at bay but the story for the unit was a pair of key fourth down stops.
The first came on the Chargers’ opening drive. They moved with ease the the Browns’ 30 but the weather forced coach Norv Turner to go for it instead of kick a 47 yard field goal.
Safety T.J. Ward made sure the Chargers didn’t get that yard when he denied Jackie Battle at the 30.
He needed the 29.
On San Diego’s final series, the Chargers again drove into Cleveland territory with less than 2 minutes to play and appeared to be marching toward a game winning field goal attempt.
Buster Skrine deflected Philip Rivers’ pass on 4th and 10 from the Browns’ 44 to give the Browns their second win in 3 weeks.
“I’m up for any match up,” Skrine said. “Coach trusted that I could do it. So, I think I did pretty well.
“You just grow as a player game by game. You can’t simulate a game in practice and I’m getting more experience, getting good reviews from my coaches and I feel like I’m doing a good job.”
Breaks Finally Blowing Their Way: Could Sunday’s win be a sign of the tide finally turning in Cleveland?
The Browns got a big hand from mother nature as the Chargers looked like team that wanted to be anywhere but Browns Stadium.
“It was really nasty out there,” returner Josh Cribbs said. “It was the closest to the Buffalo game a couple of years ago; it might as well have been snowing out there cause the ball is slick, footing is terrible.”
The they got a huge break courtesy of Chargers receiver Robert Meachem.
With 9:00 left in the 3rd quarter, Meachem was wide open in the middle of the field, 20 yards from the end zone and he dropped a would-be 51-yard touchdown.
The Browns won their second straight home game for the first time since 2009 when they won 3 straight at Browns Stadium as part of a 4-game win streak to end the season.
“Every win is like a Super Bowl,” Cribbs said. “Joe Haden said it. That’s the one thing about Cleveland, we don’t take wins for granted. We love this feeling; we’re going to keep trying to get it. You know, it’s different for the young guys, to just know how it feels to win, to keep feeling that. So we can just playing harder and harder and we’ll be that team that takes advantage of our opportunities. That good team that when it’s on the line, we pull through and win.”
Thoughts And Prayers: While there is happiness over the Browns win Sunday, there is also a tremendous amount of concern for members of the organization off of the field.
Executive vice president of business Bryan Wiedmeier was rushed to the Cleveland Clinic on Thursday and underwent surgery on Friday to have a brain tumor removed.
Wiedmeier has been released and is resting at home.
Shurmur said after the game that he’s got a game ball for him as well.
New CEO Joe Banner was not at the stadium Sunday. He remained in Boston with family following the death of his father Ralph.
Last Wednesday left guard Jason Pinkston was released a week after being hospitalized with blood clots in his lungs. Pinkston visited practice last week and was on the sidelines to watch Sunday’s victory.