Countdown to The Draft
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By Tony Grossi
Extra Points …
T-Rich's long day in Big D: When the going got tough in the fourth quarter in Dallas for the Browns, it sure looked like Trent Richardson ran out of gas.
Richardson had 93 total yards in the first half, 62 rushing on 16 attempts and 31 on three receptions. In the second half, those numbers were reduced to 33 rushing on 12 attempts and 18 on three catches.
He fumbled inside the Browns’ 20 in the fourth quarter, but recovered it. And there was that ill-fated vault from the 1-yard line, on which he met a brick wall linebacker named Dan Connor and was moved back for a 1-yard loss.
The 34 total touches were the most in Richardson’s rookie season. He played 62 of the offense’s 70 snaps – also a season high for him.
Agitated by the question, coach Pat Shurmur said on Monday, “We’re going full circle now. You want to give him the ball every play, now I give it to him a few times and he’s too tired?
“I thought he did a lot of good things in the second half. I don’t think he got tired. That was a tough … there were a lot of full-grown men going at it. That was a team pretty good against the run and our guys stood toe to toe and found a way to have some success.”
Richardson ultimately led the team with 95 yards rushing and added 49 on six catches. For the record, he was despondent about his game.
“I don’t think I did enough out there,” he said in the locker room after the 23-20 loss. “It happens. I’m not taking anything away (from the Cowboys). They made plays, too. I fumbled the ball. That’s something that rarely happens. I left a lot of yards out there.”
In the future, you would like to see Richardson take control of a game in the second half with a 13-0 lead. That’s the way his boyhood idol, Emmitt Smith, did it with the Cowboys in the 1990s.
About that haste to run a play before the two-minute warning: Shurmur is now in the mode where anything he does is questioned by fans, media, etc. If he calls a timeout. If he doesn’t call one. Until he wins, he can’t win.
Late in regulation time, the Browns had first-and-goal at the Cowboys 6. The two-minute warning was approaching and the Browns had all their timeouts left. The Browns ran a play with 2:05 to go. Many have wondered why Shurmur didn’t just wait for the two-minute warning.
His reasoning: “When you get to that point, you’re trying to do whatever you can to score. We wanted to get another one in there. You never know exactly when you’ll score. You never know how many plays it will take. It may take 5-6 plays.
“I’m kind of glad we did. Because had a chance then to stop them and get the ball back.”
The Browns were stopped on at the 2 when on fourth down Brandon Weeden’s fade for Jordan Cameron, released too late, drew the tight end out of bounds. There was 1:42 left and by using their three timeouts and forcing the Cowboys to punt with 1:23 on the clock, the Btrowns were able to score the touchdown they couldn’t get on the end zone doorstep.
Overtime pay: The Browns had 90 snaps on defense. Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson and safety T.J. Ward played on every one of them. Jackson also played for seven snaps on special teams, giving him an overall play count of 97 – most of any player from either team.
Good starts, bad finishes: The Browns have played three of the four teams from the NFC East on their season schedule.
They led the Eagles, 16-10 … and lost, 17-16.
They led the Giants, 14-0 … and lost, 41-27.
They led the Cowboys, 13-0 … and lost, 23-20.
They finish their NFC schedule against Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins in the final home game on Dec. 16.
Reinforcements coming: Shurmur said he is hopeful to get back cornerback Joe Haden (oblique) for Pittsburgh on Sunday. Also, cornerback Dimitri Patterson, who has missed five games with a high ankle sprain and torn ankle ligament, said he hopes to return to practice this week.
Cornerback Buster Skrine, who suffered a concussion on the scary sandwich collision involving he and Ward with Dallas receiver Kevin Ogletree, will be day to day.
|Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com. |
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 44 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to email@example.com
Follow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
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