By: Will Burge
So much can change in just eight short weeks. After starting 0-5 the Browns have rallied and won 5 of their last 8 games. Here are 10 things that jumped out at me from the Browns 30-7 win over the Kansas City Chiefs.
1. Travis Benjamin set a new Browns record for longest punt return for a touchdown today. After shifting out of the gunner position and back to returner, he took a punt 93 yards to pay dirt. Pat Shurmur said this was the biggest play of the game. It helped the team bounce back from the first play 80 yard touchdown run they gave up and it gave the coaches and fans a glimpse of the man who will probably be returning kicks after this season. Tent Richardson said Benjamin is the fastest person he has ever seen in person.
2. Trent Richardson tied Jim Brown’s record for touchdowns in a rookie season today scoring his eighth and ninth. After the game, Richardson said that it is an honor and gave the credit to his offensive line. He finished with only 42 yards but when the team needed scores, he delivered. Montario Hardesty also finished with 52 yards and gave the offense a boost in the second half. Richardson said at half time that Brad Childress came into the locker room and challenged the offense. He said they are too good to have done nothing. They responded.
3. After getting gashed for the first 5 minutes of the game, the defense locked down the Chiefs and did not allow another point. They were aided by injuries to Dwayne Bowe and Jamaal Charles but the Browns have a tendency to knock players out of games. The Chiefs were trying to be more physical and get inside the Browns’ heads early on but it obviously did not work. TJ Ward said, “actions speak louder than words and when those pads get to poppin’ you find out who is really tough.” I guess we found out.
4. Apparently Pat Shurmur has a twin brother and he showed up today. I’ll call him crazy Pat. The Browns not only ran that nifty little shift pre-snap that led to a punt return for a touchdown, but they also ran the wildcat with Josh Cribbs and almost scored by shifting Greg Little to running back and pitching the ball to him.
5. The Browns have now won three straight games and are 5-3 in their last eight. The vibe in and around the locker room is one of confidence and excitement. Trent Richardson said after the game, “we're putting something together here and it’s going to be beautiful.” He also added that they have not arrived. For fans, however, when was the last time they could legitimately talk about playoff scenarios and not be considered completely insane?
6. Not only are the Browns streaking but they have started to develop a bit of a home field advantage. They are now 4-3 in the friendly confines of Cleveland Browns Stadium and you can tell a difference in the way they play in front of their fans. Brandon Weeden talked after the game about how great the fans are and how much they enjoy playing here. Pat Shurmur always preaches that home field advantage is important and it looks like they have it.
7. Brandon Weeden was not great today but didn’t do anything to cost the Browns the game. He had two interceptions dropped and finished 17-30 for 217 yards. He admitted after the game they were both bad decisions and added that he owes Ben Watson for breaking up one of them.
8. Every week it seems that we talk about the development of Josh Gordon. He was a beast again today catching 8 passes for 86 yards. Brandon Weeden said after the game that we are seeing him grow up right before our eyes. You can see the development in his route running from week to week and fans should be excited because they just might have an elite receiver on their hands soon.
9. The offensive line has quickly become one of the best units in the NFL. The only aspect of their game they needed to improve was their short yardage push. Over the last few weeks that has improved immensely. Pat Shurmur said it was not a matter of toughness, that’s been there all along, but more an issue of execution.
10. How about old man Ben? Ben Watson is the ageless wonder this year. At 31 years old Watson has been very effective and finished with 3 catches for 43 yards today. He seems to always sneak open whenever Brandon Weeden needs a safety valve. That is important for a young quarterback.
|Will Burge covers the Browns for ESPNCleveland.com and hosts 3 Deep, Monday - Friday from 7pm-9pm.|
Follow Will on Twitter @WillBurge
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