The Cleveland Browns are officially on a roll. After a week of trash talk and anticipation for the return of a number of former players, the Browns easily defeated the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, cruising to a 30-7 victory at home.
This was one of those complete effort games – a game in which both the offense, defense and special teams excelled. This has eluded the Browns all season, and it has burned them in the past. But it’s also no surprise that a game like this came when the team was as healthy as it has been all year and was already on a roll.
A few observations from Sunday’s win:
- Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles busted off an 80-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage but, despite finishing the game with 165 yards rushing, was rendered ineffective after that. Part of it might be because of a rib injury he sustained early in the game, but much of the credit must go to the Browns’ defense.
- Though he still makes some puzzling decisions, quarterback Brandon Weeden throws as nice a ball as anyone when he is on his game. Receivers like Josh Gordon (eight catches for 86 yards) and Greg Little (four catches for 69 yards) are benefiting quite a bit from Weeden’s consistency. It’s easy to dump on him for his subpar completion percentage, but he was only two drops away from being at 60% for the day.
- Running back Trent Richardson added 42 rushing yards and two touchdowns to his season totals on Sunday, which makes 1,000 yards rushing and 400 yards receiving a distinct possibility. Not a bad rookie season, considering the expectations.
- The Browns got especially creative with Travis Benjamin on Sunday and it paid off: he took a punt return 93 yards (a new team record) for a touchdown, which came after the formation swapped Benjamin and Josh Cribbs right before the snap.
- Running back Montario Hardesty continues to perform well as Trent Richardson’s backup. He had ten carries for 52 yards on Sunday, and is solidifying his place as the speed complement to Richardson’s more punishing running style.
- The call to retain Pat Shurmur as head coach grows larger each day, as a three-game winning streak is hard to ignore. While he still has his faults, it’s hard not to notice the creativity and solid all-around play the team has produced since the Browns’ return from the bye week.
The Washington Redskins come to town on Sunday and there are playoff implications on the line for both teams. In Week 15 of the NFL season, what Browns fan could ask for more?