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Browns earn 'team win'

Posted Dec 9, 2012

The Cleveland Browns earned what coach Pat Shurmur said was a “team win” over the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday.

In the words of coach Pat Shurmur, the Cleveland Browns “spotted” the Kansas City Chiefs a seven-point lead when running back Jamaal Charles rushed for an 80-yard touchdown on the game’s first scrimmage down. However, that was all the Browns would allow on the way to a 30-7 win at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

“It was a team win,” Shurmur said. “When you have all three phases of the game kind of compete, you find a way to make enough plays. That’s just the way it works. I’m just happy for our guys that they have a chance, once again, to enjoy victory.

“I’m just happy for our guys and our coaches. I knew there was going to be some tough days. I knew two years ago, when I got here, there were going to be some tough days. Fortunately, in the last few weeks, we found a way to have some good stuff happen.”

With the victory, the Browns are now winners of three straight games, their longest winning streak since a four-game stretch at the end of the 2009 regular season.

“It’s exciting to see things coming together,” said kicker Phil Dawson, who converted three field goal attempts in the win. “Each week, even in some of those losses, there were things, like the final drive in Dallas. We were able to come from behind and score and even though that didn’t work out, you start to see things along the way and now, it’s kind of coming together. There’s still three more. We can still make a little noise, so we’ll just see what happens.”

Down by seven points before the offense got onto the field, quarterback Brandon Weeden completed 17 of 30 attempts for 217 yards and was sacked only three times. He spread the ball out to five different receivers, including Josh Gordon, who caught a game-high eight passes for 86 yards.

“That’s a testament to this football team, to these guys in that locker room that have continued to buy in,” Weeden said of the win streak. “Early in the year, we faced a lot of adversity and we weren’t winning many games, but I think we’ve stayed true to what we do. We prepare well every week. Guys are still enthusiastic. It’s paid off. We’ve found a way to win these last three weeks.”

After that opening 80-yard run, the Browns limited Charles to 85 yards on 17 carries. The defense also held the Chiefs’ short-yardage specialist, Peyton Hillis, to 11 yards on five rushing attempts after he gained four yards on his first carry of the game.

“You can’t give him too much space because he can take it from anywhere on the field,” linebacker D’Qwell Jackson said of Charles. “We did it and we bounced back from it. Guys didn’t lose their heads. We stayed up and stayed the course. We figured they would attack. They would have certain formations they would try to attack us with. We honed in on the tackles and we just were able to contain the run after the first series.”

Defensive back Joe Haden added, “After that (touchdown), we just rallied. I just like how our defense just kept going. As soon as they got that first play, we just shut them down the rest of the game.”

DIFFERENT FEELING

When the Browns won four straight games at the end of the 2009 season, they were one of the older teams in the NFL, in terms of the average age of the players on the roster. Now, they have one of the younger rosters in the league and the veterans are starting to take notice of the difference.

“It’s a lot of leadership, a lot of guys that are finding themselves,” wide receiver Joshua Cribbs said. “That’s good on a good football team. You can see us starting to turn the corner and starting to finish. All that’s left for us to do is finish. All phases showed up and that’s what happens.”

Browns running back Trent Richardson agreed with Cribbs’ assessment of the team.

“We are all young,” Richardson said. (Tashaun) Gipson got his first pick today and he’s a rookie. Josh (Gordon) is doing his thing and you have Greg (Little), who has only been in the league going on two years. We are a young team and all of us are out there participating, doing the right things. Even with the older guys, they are leading us the right way.”

CHANGING THE APPROACH

Having won three straight contests and four of the last five played at Cleveland Browns Stadium, the players are developing a new mindset heading into games.

“You know you have the ability to beat the team,” Haden said. “It’s just the thing about going out and doing it and now, we are doing it. It just comes to the point where you know, at the end of the day that you have somebody next to you that is going to make a play for us to win. That’s all there is to it.”