Shurmur: 'Bye week about Browns'

Posted Nov 5, 2012

Browns coach Pat Shurmur said the bye week is a time for evaluation and development as the team prepares for its final seven games of the regular season.

The Cleveland Browns finished the first half of the 2012 regular-season schedule with their 25-15 loss to the AFC North Division-leading Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns Stadium Sunday.

The team has a bye week on Sunday and will next be in action on Sunday, Nov. 18, when they travel to Texas for a showdown with Dallas at Cowboys Stadium.

“What’s nice about the bye week is, it’s about the Browns,” Shurmur said. “It’s about whoever your team is. You focus on, ‘What can we do better as we move forward?’ We just happen to have the latest bye of the season.

“We’re just getting ourselves ready to go as we move forward. We have a bye week wedged in to the preparation of getting ready to play the Cowboys. That’s where we’re at.”

The Browns fell behind the Ravens, 14-0, after the first quarter of play on Sunday. However, after Baltimore possessed the football for 12:17 in the first period, the Browns limited the Ravens to six three-and-outs over their next seven drives. The non-three-and-out came when Baltimore held the ball at the end of the first half.

While the defense found a way to stop the Ravens, the offense moved the ball and set up kicker Phil Dawson’s five field goals. Dawson’s fifth attempt of the day came from 41 yards away and gave the Browns a 15-14 lead with 8:48 remaining in regulation. The Ravens then mounted a comeback when they scored the final 10 points of the game, first on Torrey Smith’s 19-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Joe Flacco and then, Justin Tucker’s 43-yard field goal.

“It becomes an issue of being able to finish, and I think that’s what I talk to the players about,” Shurmur said. “There are games where you’re going to be ahead and you’re going to stay ahead the whole way. There will be games where you’re behind and you fight your way back in. Then, there are games where you’re ahead and they come back and get the lead. We’ve just got to finish better.

“I am not discouraged. I remember a year ago, we played the Baltimore Ravens here and the score was close, but they beat the brakes off of us. They ran the ball; we found a way to get it kind of close. There were special teams issues that popped up. They’re a very good football team. We had a chance to beat them and we didn’t. That’s what’s most disappointing, but I’m not discouraged.”

Although the team fell short of the Ravens, Shurmur was pleased with the special teams units.

In addition to Dawson’s five field goals, Reggie Hodges averaged 40.8 yards per punt over four kicks and the coverage units limited Jacoby Jones to an average of 3.5 yards per punt return.

“They’ve made huge improvements there, huge improvements,” Shurmur said. “That was kind of a heavyweight fight when you watch the special teams compete. They’ve got a lot of very fine athletes; they’ve got a lot of very dangerous people on their special teams units and I think our guys went out there and battled. I think they’ve done so, for the most part, all year. That was the best game out of our punter. Phil made five field goals, but we didn’t win the game. We will build on that.”

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