Brown makes big defensive plays

Posted Dec 3, 2012

OAKLAND -- Sheldon Brown registered his third interception of the season and helped set up a fourth-quarter scoring drive in the win over the Oakland Raiders.

OAKLAND -- Down by three points with 9:31 left to play in regulation, Oakland Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer took a snap in the shotgun formation from center Stefen Wisniewski and threw a deep pass down the sideline for wide receiver Juron Criner.

A catch would have given the Raiders a first-and-goal inside the Browns’ 10-yard line, but cornerback Sheldon Brown had other ideas. Brown high-pointed the ball and intercepted the pass at the Browns’ six-yard line. Brown’s forced turnover ignited a 14-play, 94-yard touchdown drive for the Browns in their 20-17 win over the Raiders at the Coliseum.

“Carson threw a few deep balls at me today,” Brown said after finishing the game with four pass breakups. “I’ll have to talk to him and see what he saw on the tape last week when he was preparing.

“On that particular play, I had the opportunity to cover the short field. I lined up in press like I was going to stay down tight. Criner released outside. I bailed out of there and at that point, I saw Carson throwing the ball. I became the receiver and caught it.”

Those on the Browns’ sideline during the play felt Brown’s interception was a turning point in the game.

“I thought Sheldon challenged and that interception, that was huge,” Browns coach Pat Shurmur said. “It’s not easy to play corner in this league and Sheldon battled. I think he had a good day.”

Quarterback Brandon Weeden added, “They were driving. They made some good plays, some key throws, Carson did and then, Sheldon, the vet he is, comes up and makes a big-time play for this team, gave us a chance and we were able to capitalize.”

Brown felt Palmer was not running a no-huddle in the traditional sense, although there were strategic reasons for using elements of that type of offense during the game.

“He was still snapping the ball with like 10 seconds on the clock,” Brown said. “What he was trying to do was figure out what we were doing on defense. We were disguising things early, so he’d get up to the line of scrimmage and let us give it away.”

On Sunday, Brown led a secondary with Joe Haden at the other cornerback, as well as T.J. Ward and Tashaun Gipson, who was replacing the injured Usama Young, at the strong and free safety spots, respectively. Brown has more playing experience, 11 years, than Haden, Ward and Gipson combined. Haden and Ward are each in their third seasons and Gipson was an undrafted rookie free agent of the Browns this season.

“We have young guys on the back end, so I try to teach them to be steady and just say, ‘You’re not going to be a hero every day,’” Brown said. “If it’s one thing they learn from me, it’s that you bring the same attitude to work each and every day. On game day, you just show up and be as consistent as you can be. That’s just my motto.”

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