Weeden engineers 94-yard drive

Posted Dec 3, 2012

OAKLAND -- Quarterback Brandon Weeden led a 94-yard scoring drive late in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win over the Oakland Raiders.

OAKLAND -- Cleveland defensive back Sheldon Brown intercepted Oakland quarterback Carson Palmer at the six-yard line with a three-point lead and 9:31 remaining in the fourth quarter of play from the Coliseum.

After the interception, quarterback Brandon Weeden then engineered a 14-play, 94-yard drive that Trent Richardson punctuated with a three-yard touchdown run with 3:27 remaining in regulation. The touchdown proved to be crucial, as the Raiders marched down the field on their last possession and scored a 17-yard touchdown when Palmer connected with tight end Brandon Myers with one second left on the clock.

“Up to this point, it was probably the biggest drive of the year,” Weeden said. “You look back at the way things were going. Our defense played great all day. They made a great catch for a touchdown and we felt like we got down there a couple times and weren’t able to capitalize. We felt we needed to do our part and rebound and drive down the field. We strung together some good plays and Trent was able to cap it off.”

Much like Weeden, Brown saw the Browns’ final scoring drive as a step forward for the offense.

“It’s probably the defining drive of the season,” Brown said. “I think we had an opportunity to see the character of that offense. Coach (Pat Shurmur) wanted to go for it on fourth down and those guys believed in one another and they executed. I think it was a defining moment in a lot of those young guys’ careers on that side of the ball. We’ll see throughout the rest of the season, but I think that was a big drive.”

Weeden went five for six on the drive and his completions totaled 70 yards.

Weeden started the possession with a seven-yard pass to tight end Jordan Cameron and two plays later, found wide receiver Josh Gordon for a gain of 11 yards. After running back Montario Hardesty was stopped for no gain on first-and-10 from the Browns’ 24-yard line, Weeden found Watson for a gain of 22 yards.

Watson caught a seven-yard pass later on the drive, but the big play came when Weeden delivered a 23-yarder to Cameron on first-and-10 from Oakland’s 42-yard line.

The Browns then ran Richardson four straight times, the last of which went for the touchdown.

“We strung together a lot of really good plays and that shows the potential we have as an offense and that’s encouraging,” Weeden said. “We have a lot of guys making plays. Ben made a big play. Jordan made a big play. Trent made a big play. We had several guys who were stepping up and making plays. That’s encouraging.”

Richardson added, “Coach put a game plan together and that drive right there shows that he’s a good coach. Brandon, he stayed composed the whole time and our receivers did their thing downfield. They were catching the ball and it was pitch-and-catch. We ran the ball. The offensive line was moving everybody.”

The Browns also converted on a fourth-and-one when Weeden lowered his shoulder and got three yards.

“I had every intention to go for it in that situation when it’s inches,” Browns coach Pat Shurmur said. “I thought we had made it, but it’s one of those that you could challenge it. I had been there before, so I used the timeout, discussed it, changed the formation and snuck it again. I was going for it.”

Including the final drive, Weeden completed 25 of 36 attempts for a Browns rookie record of 364 yards and one touchdown against two interceptions. He tied for the ninth-most passing yards ever by a Browns quarterback in a single game and equaled Bernie Kosar’s record with four victories as a rookie Cleveland signal-caller.

He now holds four of the top five single-game passing totals by a Browns rookie quarterback.

“He goes out there and he’s good for us,” Gordon said. “All of the guys have got a lot of trust in him. This offense is his and we look toward him as a leader and he plays that way.”

Richardson added, “Brandon, he’s a warrior. No matter what you say, you can’t take him off the field. You’re not going to get in his head. If he makes a bad play, he knows another good play is coming. He’s not worried about that. Brandon knows we’re behind him 100 percent. Brandon’s very confident in his game and whenever he’s out there doing his thing, we’re with him.”

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