By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor
Here are some final thoughts on the Browns’ 7-6 victory against the Chargers at Cleveland Browns Stadium:
>>As ugly as this game might have been, there is something downright beautiful about watching a strong defensive performance. The Browns’ defense did some bending, but managed to keep the Chargers out of the end zone. Dick Jauron put together an excellent plan to befuddle Philip Rivers and minimize the damage from San Diego’s running game.
>>The Browns’ offense might not have turned in a sterling performance, but it does merit plenty of praise for how effectively it ran against the NFL’s top-ranked defense. Trent Richardson had the best day of his rookie season with 122 yards on 24 carries, and an impressive 5.1-yards-per-carry average. Despite recovering from a rib injury, he ran with tremendous power and authority. And the offensive line did its part to help provide holes.
>>The Browns are steadily demonstrating their understanding of the importance of closing out a game. And for the second time in two weeks, a defensive back was involved in the decisive finishing moment. Cornerback Buster Skrine broke up a fourth-and-10 pass by Rivers from the Browns’ 44 with 1:20 left on the clock. The Browns had worked on covering the play during practice, and were ready for it with the right coverage. Kudos to Jauron and the entire defensive staff for having the group well prepared.
>>With two victories in three games, the Browns have a chance to gain a little bit of traction. Their confidence has received a huge boost. And it’s especially important that they have back-to-back home wins and a reason to believe that playing at Cleveland Browns Stadium is truly an advantage. That could come in fairly handy with the Ravens coming to town Sunday.
>>Brandon Weeden’s numbers don’t tell a story of a whole lot of production in the passing game. But there is one key stat to note: Zero turnovers. This was a game where it was ultra-critical for Weeden to take care of the ball, and he did. The Browns didn’t have a single turnover, although there were a couple of close calls with Montario Hardesty and Josh Cribbs fumbling but the Browns not losing possession (thanks to Hardesty recovering his own fumble and Travis Benjamin recovering a fumble by Josh Cribbs on an end around). Meanwhile, the Chargers lost a fumble.
>>It was nice to see Jim Brown in attendance on a day when Richardson had his best performance as a rookie. And it was even better that the two had a chance to talk in the locker room after the game, with the 77-year-old Pro Football Hall of Famer offering words of encouragement to Richardson. Brown’s description of Richardson as being “ordinary” after the Browns made him the third overall pick of the draft has clearly served as a form of motivation for the rookie, who seems to have enjoyed the chance to spend a little time with a legend. The same was true for several other Browns players shaking Brown’s hand and posing for photos with him.
>>So impressed with the stout-hearted fans who braved the cold, wet, windy conditions to watch the game. So glad they could take home a win.
>>Carucci’s Corner is presented by Panera Bread.
>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford” on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com.
>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at Twitter.com/viccarucci or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 855-363-2459.
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