Trent Richardson, welcome to the National Football League. Despite the Cleveland Browns falling to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, by a score of 34-27, Richardson made his presence known. It was a completely different game for the Browns on Sunday, compared to the previous week. An offense that struggled in week one, shined in week two. A defense that made play after play in week one, was burned play after play in week two. However, there’s a lot of positives that can be taken away from this game.
Richardson, the number three pick in this year’s draft, struggled against the Eagles last Sunday after sitting out all of the preseason games, following knee surgery. However, he made Cleveland Browns history against the Bengals on Sunday. Richardson ran the ball 19 times for 109 yards, including a touchdown. He also had four carries for 36 yards, including a 21 yard run, where he broke four tackles and found the end zone. He’s the first rookie in Browns history to have over 100 rushing yards, a rushing touchdown, and a receiving touchdown in a single game. Against Philadelphia, Richardson carried the ball 19 times for 39 yards. I’d say that was a pretty incredible, one week turnaround.
After last week’s game against Philadelphia, head coach Pat Shurmur and quarterback Brandon Weeden said he would improve in week two. I was skeptical about how he would do, but knew things couldn’t get much worse than his first game that ended with a quarterback rating of 5.1. Well, Weeden looked like a completely different player against Cincinnati, and I was pleasantly surprised. Weeden, who set an NFL record for his low quarterback rating in week one, set a Cleveland record for yards thrown by a rookie quarterback against the Bengals. Weeden completed 26-of-37 passes for 322 yards, and threw two touchdowns. The touchdowns were the first of his NFL career. He still has areas to improve, such as his pocket presence and his accuracy, but he looked like a much different player. He still overthrew a few players, but he didn’t have a single interception, a big improvement from the four he threw in week one.
While there were significant improvements offensively, the defense took a huge step backwards. The Browns were missing cornerback Joe Haden, who will also miss the next three games following his suspension. It was misreported last week that Haden won an appeal. Buster Skrine replaced Haden, and Skrine was beat on numerous plays. Cornerback Dimitri Patterson also struggled, lining up offsides on two different occasions, and also getting beat numerous times. Throughout the game, numerous players missed tackles, leading to multiple touchdowns for Cincinnati.
Ultimately, the Browns hurt themselves with penalties. They were penalized 10 times, costing them 103 yards. Take away a few of those penalties, and Cleveland may have returned home victorious in this one. The team is going to have to focus on correcting these mistakes if they want to win ballgames.
Despite the loss, Browns fans have to be pleased with the fact that Cleveland has had a chance to win both of the first two games. Even though the Eagles and Bengals aren’t as tough as teams like the Steelers and Ravens, the team looks to be heading in the right direction. We have to remember that the Browns are the second youngest team in the NFL, and there are 15 rookies on the team. Get these guys some more playing time and things will continue to look up for the Browns.