CLEVELAND— The late-evening winds off of the Baltimore Harbor swirled around M&T Bank Stadium, as Browns head coach Mike Pettine puffed upon a victory cigar— a cigar that made his daughter none-too happy.
“My one daughter was there,” Pettine said, after the Browns’ win in Baltimore on Sunday. “She was mad at me because the wind kept changing and she was getting cigar smoke in her hair.”
Despite his daughter’s disdain for the scent of the cigar, Pettine puffed away, cherishing the tough win with each exhaled breath.
“The fact is we went down there, a tough place to play and went through the adversity,” Pettine said. “We went through down 14-3, down 21-9 and we had the resolve to come back from both of those situations and find a way to win it. I was just so happy for the guys and happy for the staff because of how much has been put in and how the first quarter of the season went.”
Just as are the charred remains of Pettine’s victory cigar, the Browns win remains back in Baltimore and a new opponent becomes the focus of the team’s preparation in a new week.
With that said, there are certain things from Sunday that Pettine hopes will linger in Berea this week and beyond.
“This win is, like I said, a team-building win and some real positive momentum for us,” Pettine said. “We have to be able to build on it.”
Positive momentum may be able to find a way to impact the Browns throughout this week, but Pettine’s nearly certain that their successful offensive game plan against the Ravens— built on the arm of Josh McCown— will not travel into this week.
“You’re hitting the reset button each week,” Pettine said. “Each week is going to call for a different plan.”
What Pettine has said about his offense and what he’s done on offense haven’t quite mirrored each other to this point.
At the beginning of the season, Pettine said that the Browns offense would be based on the run, but after McCown’s historic Sunday, the coach seemed to divulge more of his true thoughts on the Browns offensive identity.
When asked if his “run-first” philosophy has changed, Pettine wasn’t nearly as steadfast in his allegiance to the ground game.
“I don’t think you can ever talk in extremes as far as, ‘we are going to run,’” Pettine said. “I think the successful offenses in this league almost have that chameleon-type ability that they’re going to change with their circumstances.”
Pettine did admit, however, that he would enjoy it if the Browns could find success on the ground and not have to rely as heavily on the passing attack to win football games.
“Ideally, we want to be able to run the football,” Pettine said. “We want to run, we want to go play-action off of it, let the run set up the pass.”
The Browns offense hasn’t been exactly what Pettine imagined it would be, but it has been successful to this point.
The defense, on the other hand, has been a bit of a nightmare for Pettine, leaving him grasping for answers.
“That's puzzling to us and it's a source of frustration,” Pettine said. “Still just way too many mistakes.”
Big plays continue to bludgeon the Browns and that trend doesn't seem to have an end in sight, but Pettine did point out some positives on the defensive side of the ball.
“We came up with some key stops, particularly to hold them to a field goal late in the game to get it to overtime and then the three and out in overtime when it counted, but us in position to win the game,” Pettine said. “There was certainly evidence yesterday and we found a way.”
As Pettine points out the offensive flaws and the defensive high points, he does so in an effort to keep his team from getting too upset or too satisfied.
The former has been successful and the latter has struggled, but Pettine knows as well as anyone that a Browns win is a Browns win and as long as the team can avoid the loss column, he’ll have a smile.
“The NFL is a ‘find-a-way’ league,” Pettine said. “I'd much rather be sitting here pointing out the negatives from a win than trying to pull some positives out of a loss.”
Outside of the Browns record, there’s one other way to gauge the performance of Pettine’s team on a week to week basis.
“It’s funny you check your phone . . . and after the San Diego game I had four text messages,” Pettine said of the Browns last-second loss to San Diego. “After this one, it was 54 after I turned my phone on. You know how the game went based on how much your phone gets blown up.”
Come next Sunday afternoon, Pettine would be thrilled to spend his evening answering the many messages that make their way onto his mobile device.
If he’s on his phone, it means the Browns will have beaten the Broncos and made their way back to 3-3 on the season.
For all of your Browns news, updates and analysis from Berea, follow Hayden Grove on Twitter: @H_Grove.