CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – The Cleveland Browns are on a winning streak.
Despite a slow start, the Browns did what was expected of them – beat the 2-win Kansas City Chiefs – and they did it in sound fashion.
Trent Richardson tied Jim Brown’s franchise record for touchdown runs by a rookie with a pair of TD runs, Travis Benjamin returned a punt 93-yards for a score and the Browns beat the Chiefs 30-7 Sunday afternoon at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
“I sit here before the game and I’m always confident that we’re going to go out and win,” coach Pat Shurmur said. “That’s just the way I am. I’m happy for our guys that we’re finding a way to do it now.
“I knew 2 years ago when I got here that there were going to be some tough days. Fortunately, in the last few weeks we’ve found a way to have some good stuff happen.”
Richardson finished the afternoon with 42 yards on 18 carries and the 2 scores as the Browns won their third straight – the longest win streak since ending the 2009 season by winning their last 4.
Although the final score resulted in the Browns’ biggest blowout since a 44-6 victory over Arizona on Nov. 6, 2003, the game did not start well for Cleveland.
On the first play from scrimmage, Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles blew through the line between the tackles, skipped through a would be T.J. Ward tackle for an 80-yard touchdown run.
On their next possession, Brady Quinn found Dwayne Bowe for 47 yards to set the Chiefs up 1st and goal but went 0-for-2 from the 3-yard line. A false start and missed 27-yard field goal off the left upright with 7:53 to play in 1st kept the Chiefs’ lead 7-0.
“The resiliency of our team showed up again,” Shurmur said.
The Browns moved down the field on their second possession with an 11-play, 74 yard drive highlighted by a 34 yard completion to Greg Little and 17 yard pass to Josh Gordon to set up a first and goal opportunity at the 3.
The possession ended with Phil Dawson’s 300th field goal – a 23 yarder – which trimmed the Chiefs lead to 7-3 with 3:58 to play in the opening quarter.
“I worked a long time to have a chance to get there and to be right there on the doorstep sometimes is worse than being 50 away,” Dawson said. “I’m extremely grateful for all the teammates I’ve had that have helped me get to that.”
Richardson lost 3 yards running off the right side, Weeden was harassed on a roll out and was unable to get the ball to tight end Ben Watson, who was waiting for it at the front pylon, and Chiefs corner Brandon Flowers broke up a fade to Gordon on 3rd down.
Travis Benjamin’s 93-yard punt return for a touchdown early in the 2nd quarter gave the Browns a 10-7 lead and was the longest in franchise history. The previous record was 92 yards by Eric Metcalf in 1994 at Cincinnati.
“Biggest play of the game,” Weeden said. “They were yelling something crazy on the sideline. I didn’t know what they were doing, and all of a sudden they pulled something out their hat and Travis breaks one. That got us the lead and we were able to keep it.”
Benjamin is the first Browns rookie to return a punt for a TD since Ben Davis in 1967.
“Once I got past the first few defenders, and then I saw a number of Browns jerseys and I knew I had it,” Benjamin said. “They led me to a touchdown.”
Bowe and Charles left with injuries in the first half but Charles returned midway through the second quarter to finish with 165 yards on 18 carries.
Peyton Hillis carried the ball 5 times for 11 yards in his Cleveland return for Kansas City.
The Browns opened the second half with a 7-play 60 yard drive capped by Trent Richardson’s 1-yard touchdown run to extend to a 17-7 lead. The drive was kept alive when Chiefs safety Eric Berry had a would-be interception broken up by Watson.
Quinn had a pass to receiver Jon Baldwin was tipped by Sheldon Brown and picked off by Tashaun Gipson – the first career INT for Gipson to set the Browns up at the KC 29.
Quinn finished the afternoon 11 of 22 for 122 yards and an interception.
Dawson hit a 24 yard field goal to extend to a 20-7 lead after a pair of touchdown throws from Weeden were wiped off the board due to penalty.
An illegal shift on Watson and Gordon erased a TD to Watson. Richardson was called for what appeared to be a phantom offensive pass interference penalty on his catch to force the field goal.
Richardson tied Jim Brown’s rookie record for TDs with his 2nd 1-yard run for a score on the afternoon to extend to a 20 point lead at 27-7.
A 38 yard punt return by Josh Cribbs set the Browns up at the Chiefs 35. Dawson’s third field goal – a 34 yarder to provide the final margin.