Pat Shurmur Doesn’t Deserve Blame for Latest Browns Loss

The Cleveland Browns were ripped to shreds by the New York Giants on Sunday, and most people will point to one specific play in the first half that shifted the momentum of the game in the Giants’ favor.

With a little over four minutes remaining in the second quarter and the Browns driving into Giants territory already up 17-10, the prospect of Cleveland going into halftime with the lead seemed entirely likely.

Then came a third-and-one play on the Giants’ 25-yard line. Rather than hand the ball off to running back Trent Richardson, who had been having an excellent day to that point, the Browns chose to pass without Richardson even on the field. Quarterback Brandon Weeden rolled out and ended up throwing an interception that would be returned 46 yards, back to the Browns’ 40-yard line.

It would set off three consecutive scoring drives for the Giants, putting them up 27-17 at the half and essentially placing the game out of the Browns’ reach.

Head coach Pat Shurmur has been put through the ringer for his decision to throw on that play, which is certainly the easy way to look at this game. Sure, the interception was demoralizing, but the blame falls more on Weeden’s poor throw than the decision itself.

Being afraid of a turnover makes an offense stale, and Shurmur obviously wasn’t accounting for that kind of meltdown. More than likely, he saw how the defense was playing and realized the Browns needed to score touchdowns, not field goals, in order to beat the Giants. It was certainly unfortunate to see how things unfolded after that play, but there is no reason to second-guess the decision so much.

It would be more productive to look at the defense and how utterly and completely destroyed it was by quarterback Eli Manning and running back Ahmad Bradshaw. The aggressive play calling by Shurmur was inspired in a game like this, but there was nothing he could do about the disappointing defense.

Shurmur doesn’t deserve the blame for the Browns’ loss to the Giants, but such is life for the head coach of an 0-5 team (and in Cleveland, no less).

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Tags: Cleveland Browns Pat Shurmur

  • Jarrod877

    Shurmur has to go. You add talent but start out 0-5. That just doesn’t cut it. You say give him a pass because he’s working with a young roster, injuries, etc. But what if they start next season 0-3 or 0-4?

    That seems to be the biggest problem in Cleveland these days, the slow starts. To the games, and the seasons. They’ll never make the playoffs if they continually start out below .500. Time to bring in a proven commodity who will lead them to a winning season.

    I also agree they need to bring in a strong veteran FA presence who can teach these youngsters. And not someone like Scott Fujita who (with all due respect, cause I do admire the passion he brings to the team) has been in the league so long he can’t seem to stay off the injured reserve list.

  • Ben Ghazi

    Weeden is getting better each time out … the team is starting to gel. Encourage the players and coaches and knock off the fire this guy fire that guy mentality. Consistency and perseverance will win out in the long term. It seems people who leave Cleveland succeed elsewhere and one need not go past Bill Belichick for a prime example.

  • JimH

    Shurmur deserves all the blame for the interception on 3rd and one. Anybody who has scouted the Browns knew exactly what was going to happen when the ball was snapped. Pass in the flat. He always calls that play and it never works in that situation. Case in point last year, last game, last minute drive against the Ravens. Even had Weeden hit the number one (Norwood) he (Norwood) would have been stuffed where he would have caught it which btw was at the line of scrimmage The other option was to throw it away. Still no first down and you’d have to settle for the field goal and turn the ball over to Eli with 4 minutes remaining. Play action would have been a gutsy call with high risk but even higher potential reward. But to throw it into the flat for a potential one yard gain was reckless at best. In the end though the offense did not lose this game. The defense did.

  • Seth

    So what you’re saying is: don’t blame Shurmur for QB mistakes, instead you should blame the defense… which, at last check, was also under Shurmur’s overall direction. Right? Got it.

  • teddydawg

    I don’t have a problem with the play that was called, but don’t you think it would have been better disguised with your starting RB on the field? Then the Giants would have had to account for the run with T-Rich on the field increasing the probability of that play being a success. Face it the Giants knew what was coming. Face it Weeden threw the interception trying to make something happen. Furthermore this was not the only play that cost the Browns this game. Coaches are responsible for a teams success or lack there of, nobody has Shurmurs hands tied! Not the case here!

  • Natespop

    Agreed, that one play isn’t the focal point (all-be-it a
    good point of reference) of the issue(s) with his coaching. He fails to lead or inspire this team with
    the conviction that it “can” win, he both looks and sounds defeated
    in every public forum he appears. He
    fails to manage the team’s personnel, the flow of the game, and his strategic
    play calling with any level of confidence or conviction, generally looking
    dismayed from the start of the game through the final whistle. The outright disdain shows toward the media
    and his lack of accountability / indifference to the fans for the overall poor
    coaching performance (their preparation) and the execution of the personnel he chooses
    to put on the field each week is inexcusable.

    JH will have tired of this very visible lack of accountability
    once ownership changes hands and the team will be quickly turned over to one of
    the former head coaches to finish out the year before the following Sunday. In part to save some aspect of the season and
    in part because he will feel a strong sense of responsibility to the players to
    give them some hope of salvaging their pride.
    While I may feel sorry for Shurmur at that moment (very briefly), he
    will have brought this on to himself and can only look to himself to be fully responsible
    for why and when it happened.