Berea Report: Short Yardage Woes
This story originally published on theOBR.com

OBR Senior Reporter/FoxSportsOhio.c
Posted Nov 5, 2012


Head coach Pat Shurmur demands better execution in short yardage.

BEREA— The Browns continued their problems in short yardage situations. Twice, the Browns didn’t convert on third-and-one early in the game. On the first series, after Richardson ran for nine yards to set up third-and-one, Shurmur called a pass that fell incomplete to FB Alex Smith.

Why not run Richardson after his nine-yard run?

“You ought to be able to run it in short yardage,” Shurmur said. “All I would say is they had it covered.

“All we need to do is execute,” he said. “The next time you get a third-and-one, you can run it because the defense might be looser.”

After the Ravens scored a touchdown, the Browns second series had a nine-yard pass to Richardson on first down, but then Richardson fumbled on second down for no gain.

Again, on third-and-one, they tried to hit Chris Ogbonnaya down the sideline which fell incomplete. Josh Gordon was called for pass interference on the play, but Ogbonnaya was wide open and Weeden overthrew it.

Notebook

Not Discouraged: Mercilessly, the Browns hit the bye week limping in with a 2-7 record. After taking next Sunday off, the Browns will travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys before returning Nov. 25 to host the Steelers.

After losing another game they had within their grasp, the Browns stumbled down the stretch and dropped their third AFC North game this season.

Pat Shurmur said he refuses to let himself, the coaches or the team to get down.

“I’m disappointed, but not discouraged.”

Shurmur said he thinks the Browns young team just has to learn to close games out.

“It becomes an issue of being able to finish,” he said. “We just have to finish better.”

Reason for Going on Fourth-and-2: Shurmur explained why he decided to go for it on fourth-and-2 from the Browns’ 28 with 3:53 to play and trailing 22-15.

The play was a quick slant intended for WR Greg Little which Weeden sailed way over Little’s head.

“What I would like for us to do is to execute better,” he said. “Be it we did get the ball back I would consider doing something different. I have to give them a better play.”

The Browns had two timeouts and the two-minute warning, trailing by just one possession. By failing, the Ravens were immediately in field goal range and they kicked the field goal to take a 10-point lead.

Shurmur said he might do that over if given a second chance.

“Because we didn’t get it, I think about it,” he said. “You try to make your decisions based on what’s best.

Shurmur said the fact the defense just allowed the Ravens to drive the field for a go ahead score had nothing to do with his decision to go for it on fourth-and-2 at the Browns’ 28.

Time Management: Shurmur tried to explain why the Browns were caught several times having trouble getting plays off on time forcing the Browns to call three timeouts.

“I am absolutely responsible for that and we’ll get that straightened out,” he said. “What can we do better as we move forward.”

Shurmur said he and offensive coordinator Brad Childress talk about each upcoming play.

“Brad and I call the game and I send it into the huddle,” he said. “We talk about what the play will be. We have them written down. We just don’t make them up as we go along.”

Shurmur said it boils down to communication.

“I mentioned the communication (after the game),” Shurmur said. “I take full responsibility for that. I think we can stream line some things.”

Play Calling: After QB Brandon Weeden threw an apparent go ahead touchdown pass to WR Josh Gordon, an illegal formation penalty on RB Chris Ogbonnaya was called making it third-and-11. Rather than throw for the first down, Shurmur elected to run a draw play with RB Trent Richardson for no gain. K Phil Dawson then hit his fifth field goal of the game to give the Browns their first lead of the game at 15-14.

“The reason I called a draw is that a field goal puts us ahead and I didn’t want a sack or a holding call,” he said. “If the situation is different, maybe we do something different.”

Shurmur said the penalty on Ogbonnaya was needless.

“That’s why I look like I do,” he said. “You don’t want that to happen. There are not a lot of great answers. You have to fix it and overcome that.”

Shurmur was asked if he understands why the fans are upset with some of the play calls.

“I understand it.

Richardson Leads: Rookie RB Trent Richardson leads the Browns in both rushing and receiving. He has 575 rushing yards and five touchdowns, while also leading the team in receiving with 31 catches for 240 yards and a touchdown. Richardson has clearly been the focal point of the offense, despite missing all of the preseason after arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. Richardson is second on the team in scoring with 36 points to kicker Phil Dawson’s 67.

He had limited production in the season opener against the Eagles and then played sparingly against the Bengals and Colts after suffering bruised ribs early in the Bengals game.

Richardson had his third 100-yard game against the Ravens to join Bobby Mitchell (1958) and Earnest Byner (1984) as the only rookie running backs in Browns history to rush for back-to-back 100-yard games. Richardson had 25 carries for 105 yards and caught six passes for 31 yards.


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