The Cleveland Browns dropped another game this season, falling at home to the Washington Redskins, who were forced to start Kirk Cousins due to the leg injury suffered by Robert Griffin III last Sunday. It turned out that Cousins was more than an adequate replacement, as he helped lead the Redskins to a blowout victory over the Browns that kept them right in the thick of things in the NFC Playoff picture.
Of course, this game was close at the half, with Cleveland playing well and limiting the time of possession for Washington. That all changed a bit as the game progressed, including abandoning the run and shifting more to the passing game, something that running back Trent Richardson deemed as simply “shocking.”
The rookie first round draft pick began the game with four carries for 24 yards and a touchdown. But, like I wrote earlier in the weekend, the Browns were looking to cut down on Richardson’s carries, even considering benching him over the final game or two.
Keep in mind that this is a player for whom the Browns traded up to select with the No. 3 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Richardson has still had a solid season, especially for a rookie. But, as the season has progressed, Richardson’s numbers have been a bit inconsistent, although that is to be expected with rookie running backs in their first year in the NFL. It is a big transition from 11 or 12 games in college to 16 at the next level.
Still, even after breaking the single season touchdown record for a Browns’ rookie, Richardson was less than happy with the play calling and shift in game plan during Cleveland’s loss.
“We [were] ready for the game,” Richardson said, according to Cleveland.com. “I think we’ve just got a game plan, and the game plan we had at the beginning of the game, I think we should’ve stuck with it. But we didn’t stick with the game plan and we tried to go do some other stuff, and the outcome came in a different way.”
Richardson started the game with four early carries for 24 yards and the score, but finished with just a total of 11 carries for 28 yards. He had just two carries in the second half altogether. And in a game that was close until the fourth quarter, there was no reason to throw the ball that many more times than to run. The Browns put the ball in the air 35 times, opting to run it just 15 times.
“It’s shocking,” he said. “But like I said, the game’s much bigger than me. I’ve got to let coach do what he does.”
And the coach continues to lose, in what may be his final couple of games leading the Browns in Cleveland. With new ownership, Pat Shurmur may soon be shown the door.
The next coach may want to hand the ball off more to Richardson, as the Browns have invested mightily in their top draft pick from 2012.
After all, their other first round pick from 2012 may also be playing for a job, although Brandon Weeden has not had a horrible season, all things considered.