Browns

Back To Reality: Redskins 38, Browns 21

By DARYL RUITER, 92.3 The Fan Browns Beat Reporter
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(Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

(Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

DarylRuiter_300 Daryl Ruiter
Cleveland Browns beat writer and member of the Pro Football Writers of...
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CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – So much for that.

It was fun while it lasted – the streak 3 weeks, playoff talk 1.

Win streak, gone. Playoffs, gone.

Pat Shurmur and Tom Heckert may not be far behind following Sunday’s 38-21 loss to Washington that saw Shurmur and his staff out coached in just about every phase of the game and their team beaten badly by a rookie quarterback making his first ever NFL start.

“We’re disappointed we lost,” Shurmur said. “We’re just pushing forward. We’re going to reload. Everybody’s going to go home. We’re going to get as much of a night’s sleep as we can. We’re going to get up in the morning, and get prepared to play the Denver Broncos.

“That’s where this leaves us.”

It likely will leave him without a job in 2 weeks.

The loss to Washington officially ended any playoff discussion and pretty much ensured that owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner will move forward with their original plans to overhaul the Browns’ football operations.

Although the Browns finished the season 4-4 at home – only the 3rd .500 or better mark at Cleveland Browns Stadium since 1999 – they clinched their 5th straight losing season and 12th in 14 years.

“It’s tough,” linebacker D’Qwell Jackson said. “You hate to lose. We had a streak going, but this is a resilient bunch. It’s one game. We go to Denver next week where I’m sure no one is going to give us a shot, but we’re going to come in ready to play and ready to win a game.”

What’s The Deal Coach: After the game running back Trent Richardson, who had just 2 carries in the second half, questioned the coaching staff and game plan.

“I think we’ve just got a game plan, and the game plan we had at the beginning of the game, I think we should’ve stuck with it,” Richardson said. “But we didn’t stick with the game plan and we tried to go do some other stuff, and the outcome came in a different way.”

He knows he’s a target of defenses but doesn’t feel that’s an excuse to stop giving him the ball.

“People are going to game-plan especially to stop me,” Richardson said. “Not to say anything as in a big-headed way, but they’re going to try to do anything to stop me because they look at me as I’m catching the ball, too. They’re going to try to do anything they can to stop us.

“I talked to a couple of players from different teams. They said, ‘Our game plan was, we feel like as long as we stop you, we feel like we can beat Cleveland.’ And I was just like, ‘OK.’ ”

Richardson totaled 24 yards and a touchdown on his first 4 carries but added just 4 yards and a score on his remaining 5.

“We let ourselves down and we let the whole city of Cleveland down,” Richardson said. “Everybody, especially season ticket holders, I feel bad for them and I want to say as a man, I just want to come to them and apologize. This was the last home game. We were supposed to go out with a blast. It was a big ball game for us and we didn’t do what we were supposed to do.”

Richardson Jim Brown’s record for touchdown runs by a rookie back with a pair of scores.

His 11 rushing touchdowns, 12 total touchdowns and 72 points this season are all Browns rookie records, while his 897 rushing yards are the second-most by a Browns rookie in team history.

“It means a lot, but we still lost at the end of the day so it doesn’t mean anything, for real,” Richardson said. “In the long run, I’m going to sit back and think about it, but right now I have a 24-hour rule. I’m not down about the game, but I’m very upset about this game. It didn’t really mean as much without the ‘W’.”

Weeden’s Awful Day: Shurmur isn’t the only Brown whose future is in doubt.

Quarterback Brandon Weeden did little to prove that he is a franchise quarterback – quite the opposite. Weeden looked like a late round draft pick instead of the first round can’t miss prospect that he’s supposed to be.

Facing the 31st ranked pass defense in the NFL this season, Weeden finished 21 of 35 for 244 yards, a touchdown, 2 interceptions and a quarterback rating of 66.8.

“Obviously I didn’t play well enough for us to win,” Weeden said. “I didn’t play well for the most part throughout. I’m not losing any confidence over it, because I felt like I’m still going in the right direction. I just didn’t play well enough to put this team in position to win. I put our defense in a tough spot, once for sure with the one on our side of the field. That one’s on me. You just can’t turn it over.”

The first pick came on the 2nd play of the 3rd quarter and was quickly turned into a touchdown. It also turned the tide in the game for good.

“I didn’t see him,” Weeden said. “Greg [Little] threw his hand up, he had his guy beat and they had a little fire zone. My offensive line was blocking right in front of me and I didn’t see him.”

Aside from the 2 interceptions, Weeden continues to inexplicably get passes batted down and he had at least 4 more swatted down Sunday. Weeden has no idea as to why or how to fix it either which is a problem.

“I’ve never had so many batted balls,” Weeden said. “If the defensive linemen aren’t getting to me, they just kind of stand there, watch my eyes and stick their arms up. I’m trying to throw over guys 3 yards down the field and that can be challenging.”

Even with Shurmur declined to say it was a set back for the rookie.

“I don’t think it was a setback,” Shurmur said. “I don’t think it was his best game, but I think that can be said for all of us. Why does he get passes batted down? We throw a lot of shallow crossing concepts. We throw the ball on the interior of the defense quite a bit. There are times when the rush gets stymied, if you might, and then they just stop and put their hands up. That happens though.”

Moment Of Silence: Along with the rest of the league, the Browns paused for a moment of silence and reflection in remembrance of the 26 killed – 20 6 and 7 year old’s at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn Friday prior to kickoff Sunday.

Shurmur closed his post game press conference with his own reflections on the tragedy.

“I would like to say, and I wanted to lead off with it though, the events this week in Connecticut, we obviously were affected by it like the rest of the world, not intimately like the people in Newtown. It’s very disturbing stuff. I know that our players have talked about it a bunch. We’ve talked about it together. We’d like to send out our thoughts and prayers to everyone that was directly involved. I think we all know that in some indirect way we’re all involved. If we can learn anything from it, let’s not leave anything unsaid. If you’ve got an opportunity to hug your child, let’s not let anything go because tomorrow and anything happening tomorrow is not guaranteed. Our thoughts and prayers go to everyone in Newtown that’s been affected by that. I wanted to lead off with that, I’m glad I remembered to say it. Sometimes we get wrapped up in our issues of the day. I think it’s very important that the folks there know that we’re thinking about them.”

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