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Browns embrace win, work ahead

Posted Oct 14, 2012

Several Browns players expressed happiness with the win over the Cincinnati Bengals and embrace the challenge ahead in preparing for next Sunday’s game at the Indianapolis Colts.

The Cleveland Browns generated four turnovers and scored twice on the ensuing possessions in their 34-24 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The Browns improved to 1-5 with the win, while the Bengals dropped to 3-3 after the setback.

“I told the team game days never get old because, at the end of the day, you have a chance to win and be greedy with that feeling you have from winning,” Browns coach Pat Shurmur said following the win. “Noticeably and obviously, we have a locker room full of excited, happy guys. It was a team victory.

“When you lose, it’s a team thing, and when you win, it’s a team thing. I’m very proud of those guys. That’s why you play the game, to have this feeling. Now, we’ll enjoy it here for a few hours and then, get back early and get ready to play the Colts.”

Quarterback Brandon Weeden had his sixth pass of the game intercepted at the line of scrimmage when Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins tipped it into the hands of Cincinnati’s right defensive end, Michael Johnson. Three plays later, the Bengals took a 7-0 lead when Jermaine Gresham hauled in a 55-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Andy Dalton.

Despite the turnover, Weeden finished the day 17 of 29 for 231 yards and two touchdowns.

He completed a 71-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Josh Gordon that tied the game at 7-7 just nine seconds into the second quarter and later, extended the Browns’ lead with a three-yard scoring pass to tight end Benjamin Watson.

“It feels good,” Weeden said of the win. “We’ve been so close so many times and to actually get over the hump and close out a game, play the way we did in the second half, it feels really good. It’s a lot more fun coming out of that locker room with everybody excited. Going to work tomorrow is going to be a lot more fun than it has been in the last five weeks and that’s why we play the game. We want to have fun, win games and we finally got that notch on our belt.”

Running back Montario Hardesty saw his most action since the preseason because starting ball-carrier Trent Richardson suffered an injured flank early in the game. Hardesty ran for 56 yards and one touchdown on his 15 carries and felt happy to be on the field for a victory.

“It was great being out there after a win,” Hardesty said. “I felt like we got our stadium back. The crowd was going crazy and it was great. We need to build on that feeling. We’ve got a young team and I feel we’ve been growing up through the beginning of the season, so it was great. There were a lot of happy guys instead of being silent after a loss.”

The players embraced the victory, but also recognized the need to keep focused on the upcoming task of Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.

“Anytime you win, it’s a great feeling, but sometimes, when you win, you have to really critique your game,” veteran defensive back Sheldon Brown said. “When you lose, obviously, you critique yourself and you understand what you did wrong. I think it’s more important to do that when you win. Each and every play is different. You could be a hero one week, a zero the next week. You have be consistent and steady and handle it like so.

“This game is over, the next one counts, so, what will you do next Sunday? That’s what’s important.”

DIVISION WIN

With Sunday’s victory over the Bengals, the Browns registered their first win over an AFC North Division opponent since they defeated Cincinnati, 23-20, on Oct. 3, 2010 at Cleveland Browns Stadium. The win snapped an 11-game losing streak, as well as a 12-game slide against AFC North competition.

“Winning the division, you’ve got to win the games,” Shurmur said. “It’s important that we try to establish a winning tradition here at home. We need to do that and it all runs parallel and of course, winning the division games is the best way to start winning the division. As you’re developing a team that can win consistently, these are all steps in the process.”

STRONG FINISH

The Browns scored just seven points in the first half, but rallied with four straight scoring possessions in the second half. They scored 21 fourth-quarter points, the most since the Browns scored 21 against the Baltimore Ravens on Oct. 6, 2002.

“We were just battling through it,” Shurmur said. “There were a lot of three-and-outs to start the third quarter. The teams went in, made adjustments and they were battling back and forth. I think some of the turnovers that we got helped generate a little spark and of course, we found a way to move the ball.”

THIRD-AND-ONE

One week after Weeden was intercepted while attempting a third-and-one pass from the 25-yard line against the New York Giants, the Browns found themselves in a similar situation Sunday.

On third-and-one from Cincinnati’s 26-yard line, Weeden took the snap and threw for tight end Jordan Cameron on the left side of the field. Cameron caught the pass for a 23-yard gain and set up the Browns with a first-and-goal from Cincinnati’s three-yard line. Weeden then completed a touchdown pass to Watson.

“We were in a running formation,” Shurmur said. “It was obviously a heavy play-action throw and it’s a deep-cross concept where the quarterback makes a decision. If it’s open down the field, take it, but otherwise, we want to end the play with a first down. There were checkdowns spaced out. Jordan actually, from what I heard, fell down, then got back up and made that play. It was a good job.”