Cleveland Browns 2012: Keys to Week 7 Win over Indianapolis Colts
Indy only has two wins and will look to bounce back from an ugly defeat to the Jets in Week 6, while Cleveland is trying to win back- to-back games for the first time since Weeks 2 and 3 of the 2011 campaign.
Here’s why the Browns will come out on top:
When the 2010 first-round pick is starting, there seems to be a different energy for Cleveland on the defensive side of the ball.
The Browns looked lost in the secondary while Haden served a four-game suspension for using Aderall.
In Haden’s two games this season, the Browns forced eight turnovers with six coming by way of interception. The former Florida Gator picked off a pass in each of those games.
Haden will play a huge role in neutralizing Andrew Luck’s only dangerous target—Reggie Wayne.
If Haden can take Wayne out of the game, the Browns and defensive coordinator Dick Jauron could make it very long day for the No. 1 overall pick, much like they did against Michael Vick and the Eagles in Week 1.
The Running Game
Trent Richardson removed himself from the Browns' win over Cincinnati Bengals with a rib injury. In his absence, back-up Montario Hardesty rushed for 56 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries.
Fumblitis plagued Hardesty throughout the preseason, but the former Tennessee Vol looked like a new man with his newfound opportunity.
The Browns desperately want Richardson to play, but it bodes well for Pat Shurmur and company that the team fields a capable back up.
Indy’s run defense is so bad, the Browns could probably get 4.0 yards per carry from 76-year-old Jim Brown.
The Colts are allowing opponents to rush for 159 yards per game and let a struggling Shonn Greene rumble for a career-high 161 yards last week.
Richardson has some cartilage issues in his rips and will probably be a game-time decision, but even if he can’t play, the Browns should have a good day on the ground.
The Weeden & Gordon Connection
Browns fans are watching the future of the franchise when these guys hook up downfield.
Injuries to Mohammed Massaquoi and Travis Benjamin have forced Gordon into the starting lineup and he’s leaving a lasting impression.
He’s got three touchdowns in last two games, and he hauled in a 71-yard bomb during the Browns win over the Bengals lat Sunday.
The supplemental draft pick has caught 12 balls for an average of 22.8 yards per catch, which is No. 1 among NFL receivers with at least 10 catches.
Weeden, on the other hand, has come miles after a forgettable debut.
After a nightmarish first week that witnessed a 5.1 passer rating, Weeden’s showed he possesses big-play potential.
The 29-year-old gunslinger’s thrown for seven touchdowns against six interceptions while averaging 280.2 yards per game.
With an inexperienced offense, a short field makes a huge difference for offenses—and Cribbs delivers just that for the Browns.
The two-time Pro Bowler is averaging 31.3 yards per kickoff return, which is first in the league. He’s also averaging 15.4 yards per punt return with a long of 60.
It could be a long day for the Colts’ special teams, as the unit is allowing 27.4 yards per kickoff return.
Cribbs, who was thought by many to be washed up entering the season, is game changer in every sense of the word, and he has potential to have a memorable Sunday afternoon.
Indy Can't Run
The Browns don’t feature a run defense that will give offensive coordinator sleepless nights. The Brownies are 25th in the league, allowing about 131 yards per game on the ground..
Fortunately for Cleveland, the Colts couldn’t run the ball onto the field from the locker room.
Indy is 26th in the league with 86.2 yards per game.
Donald Brown was the team’s leading rusher before undergoing knee surgery. But in the four games he played, Brown couldn’t crack 100 yards.
The Colts turned to Vick Ballard in their loss to the Jets and got virtually no production. Ballard managed just 25 yards on only eight carries.