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Shurmur: 'We found a way to win'

Posted Dec 3, 2012

Browns coach Pat Shurmur said the team found a way to win on its trip to Oakland.

By defeating the Oakland Raiders, 20-17, Sunday at the O.co Coliseum, the Cleveland Browns earned their second straight victory over an AFC team and their first road win since a 27-19 decision over the Indianapolis Colts on Sept. 18, 2011.

After watching the film from Sunday’s game and going over the corrections with his coaches, coach Pat Shurmur talked about how the team came together to win.

“For the second week in a row, we found a way to win a game that was hard-fought,” Shurmur said. “Each game, you find a way to either win the game or lose the game and I’m happy for our guys.

“I’m happy that our guys found a way to win. I’m proud of our coaches and players for understanding the opportunity to go out there and win a second game in a row, do it on the road against a tough opponent in my opinion. You’ve got to quit looking at records when you talk about who’s good and who’s bad. Anybody can win each weekend in the NFL.”

Defensively, the Browns held the Raiders to 85 yards rushing on 17 carries. It marked the third straight game in which the Browns held their opponents to less than 100 yards rushing. Combined between games against the Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers and Raiders, the Browns have surrendered only 203 yards rushing.

In addition to the run defense, the Browns registered an interception against Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer when Sheldon Brown caught a throw intended for wide receiver Juron Criner in the fourth quarter.

“I thought we were opportunistic on defense,” Shurmur said. “For the most part, we controlled the running game, which was important. They went into a no-huddle phase where they kind of picked away at us a little bit.

“At the end of the game, Sheldon Brown had an interception and I think that helped spark us to finish the game. Sheldon, for the most part, played extremely well. On defense, when you limit scoring like we did, forget yardage, forget all that stuff, when you limit scoring in the meat of the game, I think that’s the most important thing.”

Brown’s interception served as a catalyst for the entire team. The interception allowed the Browns to go on a 14-play, 94-yard drive that running back Trent Richardson finished off with a three-yard touchdown.

Quarterback Brandon Weeden completed five of six attempts for 70 yards on the drive. On the day, Weeden completed 25 of 36 attempts for a Browns rookie record of 364 yards and one touchdown.

As a whole, the offense finished the game with 475 yards combined between the 122 rushing and 353 net passing.

“In terms of the offense, I think we had the most yards we’ve had in a long time,’ Shurmur said. “We got good production from eight receivers, which was good; no drops to speak of, which was good. Trent Richardson had a steady game as a runner and we saw the little spark that (Montario) Hardesty gave us by bringing him in the football game. We had guys doing things that were good and a lot of conversation about the 94-yard drive, which was great.

“At the end of the game, by putting the ball in the end zone, it creates a two-score game, which absolutely changes it for the opponent. I think that was important. Had we kicked a field goal, (the lead) would’ve been six.”

REPEATING THE PROCESS

Before the team left the O.co Coliseum Sunday, Shurmur and his players talked about the importance of building on the victory. On Monday, the head coach stated the challenge now lies in getting ready to host the Kansas City Chiefs this weekend.

“Anytime you do something once, then, you become confident that you can do it again,” Shurmur said. “If you’re not getting that part done, of course, you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop or ‘we’re going to screw something up.’ You get beyond it by doing it and I think that’s where the confidence comes in. Hopefully, we can repeat it as we move forward.”

GETTING BETTER

Weeden, Richardson and Josh Gordon made plays in the win over Oakland on Sunday, and defensively, safety Tashaun Gipson led the team with a career-high eight tackles in relief of Usama Young, who was out of the lineup with a concussion.

Shurmur drew positives from watching the rookies perform against the Raiders.

“We’ve got a lot of young players that are getting better,” Shurmur said. “When you’re working with young players, and only time will tell how good they can be, you see guys improve. I think that’s a good thing.

“When you see young players doing things in this league because you expect them to and you know that they’re not anywhere near how good they can be, then, that’s good. I look forward to seeing these guys have good careers, very productive careers, hopefully, all of them in Cleveland.”

BROWN MAKES PLAYS

In addition to his fourth-quarter interception, Brown broke up four passes and collected five solo tackles in the win. He has recorded an interception in back-to-back games after catching one against Charlie Batch of the Steelers two weeks ago. On the year, Brown’s three interceptions are tied with Joe Haden for the team lead.

“He’s made impact plays for us and he gets opportunities,” Shurmur said. “He’s had three interceptions. All of his interceptions ended with points for us. Against Pittsburgh, he picked off the out route in front of our bench, in front of Plaxico (Burress) and we got points. This week, and earlier in the season, he did the same thing. He’s kind of a steady guy. What you tend to get from guys that are veteran players, they kind of know what their strengths and limitations are and they play within the scheme. Behind all that, Sheldon’s a pro, a true pro and I appreciate that, too.”

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