BALTIMORE (92.3 The Fan) – When the Browns cut Rashard Higgins on Sept. 2 he took it personally despite agreeing to sign back on to the practice squad.
Sunday afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium, he showed why.
“When I got cut I used it as motivation,” Higgins said after the game. “I told myself I didn’t want to get cut anymore. I just worked my ass off to get back on the 53-man roster and I prayed upon to and it came.”
Higgins was arguably one of very few bright spots in what was a miserable afternoon for Hue Jackson’s offense in a 24-10 loss to the Ravens. The Browns turned it over 5 times Sunday and rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer, who missed 4 offensive series because of a migraine, was responsible for 4 of them thanks to 3 interceptions and a strip-sack.
“Everything I said we couldn’t do, we did,” Jackson lamented after the game. “You can’t turn the ball over to this team; that’s how they won their first game. We can’t give them that type of field position or take points off the board when you have a chance to make plays. We didn’t play well. Obviously, at the quarterback position, you can’t give the ball to the other team.”
A day after being signed back to the active 53-man roster, Higgins caught a team-high 7 of 10 targets for 95 yards, including a 35-yard reception from rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer with 3:01 left in the first quarter to convert a third-and-17.
“People upstairs still believed in me,” Higgins said about remaining in Cleveland after being cut. “I appreciate everybody for that. When I was on the P-squad I worked every day like I was on the 53. I just kept my head down and kept moving forward.”
Early in the fourth quarter Higgins got open over the middle in the back of the end zone but Kizer was unable to make a quality throw in his direction and the ball was intercepted by a sliding Ladarius Webb. It was just 1 of 3 balls to land in the hands of Ravens that were thrown Higgins’ way Sunday.
“Rashard [Higgins] was open,” Jackson said. “[Kizer] will be the first to tell you he threw a bad ball.”
Higgins replaced Kasen Williams on the active list Sunday and the move by Jackson paid big dividends. Williams, claimed off waivers from Seattle on Sept. 3, did not catch a pass on 2 targets in the Week 1 loss to the Steelers at home.
“He made some plays,” head coach Hue Jackson said. “That’s why we elevated him. I needed him. He had a great week and allowed Duke [Johnson, Jr.] to go back and do some things in the back field for us. I think that combination was good – a right thing to do. Rashard showed his worth. He played some good football.”
A thin receiving corps in Week 1 forced Jackson to line Johnson up at receiver last week but Sunday he was able to carry 4 times for 21 yards while adding 3 catches on 6 targets for 59 yards. The Browns finished the day with 93 yards on 21 attempts the ground after mustering just 57 yards on 25 attempts against Pittsburgh.
“I think it was good at times, but we had to get away from it,” Jackson said. “Obviously, the score dictated otherwise. I think it’s still going to grow. We’ve played two games, and I know our record is 0-2. But our running game is going to be what I need it to be. There’s a couple of good runs we ripped off. We need to rip off some bigger ones, and I think we will.”