Better Late Than Never

Browns fourth-quarter drive was a highlight among lowlights Sunday.

BEREA, Ohio — A day after the 6-3 win over the Seattle Seahawks, Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur still was happy with the end result.

Former Browns coach Sam Rutigliano spoke up before Shurmur's press conference began and said, "Tell them coach that there are no ugly wins."

Shurmur agreed.

"You said it way better than me, coach."

Despite not scoring a touchdown, the offense did come up big with a 14-play, 60-yard drive that took 6 minutes, 49 seconds off the clock during a key part of the fourth quarter. The Browns were clinging to a 6-3 lead when they received a punt from the Seahawks and took over on their own 34-yard line.

Colt McCoy hit Greg Little for five yards and Evan Moore for nine on two of the first three plays. On the drive, the Browns picked up four first downs and converted three of four third down conversions. They also overcame a false start on the drive.

On the drive, the Browns picked up 51 yards on the ground on 10 rushes. Montario Hardesty rushed seven times for 30 yards, including a long of 15 yards. Chris Ogbonnaya picked up nine yards on two attempts. McCoy scrambled for a first down with a 12-yard gain on third-and-11.

"If you can hold the football at the end of the game and chew clock it is very demoralizing for an opponent," Shurmur said. "There were things Colt did on the drive that were good by managing it (on that drive)."

The Browns rushed 44 times for 141 yards in the game for just a 3.2 average, but Shurmur said it was enough.

"It's a byproduct of a win," Shurmur said. "You want to do what you need to do to win the game. When you're ahead you want to run. When you have 40 plus runs it means you were able to run it successfully.

Shurmur said he wants the offense to be balanced, optimally.

"We want to do what it takes to win," he said. "You'd like to be able to run effectively late in the game."

What is impressive about the drive was that the Browns were missing four starters in Peyton Hillis, Ben Watson, Mohamed Massaquoi and Shawn Lauvao.

Shurmur said that the Browns inability to convert two field goal attempts and having an interception in field goal range made the game much closer.

"If you don't score when you have a chance to, those games become nail biters," he said. "It's important we score points. We held the ball for nearly 50 minutes. We ran the ball a lot and when you have scoring opportunities, you have to capitalize. That style of game to breathe easier you have to take advantage of scoring opportunities."

For the game, McCoy was 20-for-35 for 178 yards passing with an interception. He had a rating of just 59.0. On the season, McCoy is 141-for-252 for 1,377 yards (56 percent complete) with eight touchdowns and four interceptions. His overall rating is 75.4.

However, McCoy played pretty well on the drive, according to Shurmur.

"In the meat of the game he was doing it and he could feel it," Shurmur said. "We're constantly looking for things that he does well."

Shurmur said that he still feels he's coming along.

"I think Colt's improving," Shurmur said. "I thought he battled and scrambled and got yards. He did a lot of good things. My focus is because it's the focus of everyone in Northeast Ohio is the fast start.

"We're working on getting efficient," he said. "To be able to convert half of your first downs, is a good thing."

McCoy was sacked five times and hit eight other times. Shurmur said he doesn't think teams are coming after him.

"I don't feel they're coming after him more," he said. "There are quarterbacks getting hit quite a bit. We try schematically to eliminate him getting hit a lot."

As is so often in the NFL, the play of the quarterback predicates the success of the offense. Shurmur said he is still assessing where McCoy is in his development.

"This is a little uncharted playing a season without an offseason," he said. "It's important he improves each week. If we would've had all the OTAs and camps, it would be easier to evaluate."

Shurmur said the biggest thing the offense needs is pretty simple.

"We just need more completions."

Notebook

OC Next Year: Mike Holmgren said that he thinks the Browns will hire an offensive coordinator next year and Shurmur sounded as though he agreed. However, that doesn't mean he will give up play calling.

"We've talked about that in the past," he said. "The normal thing is to sit down at the end of the year. I think it's normal for the head coach to call the plays. I would think we would have a coordinator.

"I don't think it's abnormal. It doesn't happen that way all the time. I don't know the number but there are a couple of teams that have an offensive coordinator, but the head coach calls the plays."

The example he cited was in Green Bay with Mike McCarthy and New Orleans with Sean Payton.

Injury Update: Kicker Phil Dawson suffered a thigh contusion.

"He gutted it out," Shurmur said. "He probably won't kick early in the week."

Shurmur doesn't think the Browns will bring in another kicker.

Running back Peyton Hillis ran and is progressing well.

He listed Hillis, wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi (concussion), tight end Ben Watson (concussion), linebacker Scott Fujita (concussion), offensive lineman Artis Hicks (back), defensive back Ray Ventrone (hamstring) and offensive lineman Shawn Lauvao (knee) as all day-to-day.

Offensive lineman Shawn Lauvao suffered a contusion (bruised) knee and defensive back Ray Ventrone re-injured his hamstring.

Defensive Numbers: The defense is ranked fourth in the NFL in defense after Sunday's win over the Seahawks. They are 19th rushing and second against the pass.

"It's a fun thing to talk about the numbers," Shurmur said.

Linebacker Chris Gocong said he thinks the defense can be better.

"We have a lot of young guys out there and I think we'll only get better," Gocong said. "We still made some mistakes, but it's just small things here and there that we can really shore up and we'll be better."


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