The Cleveland Browns put up their third straight win on Sunday, blowing out the Kansas City Chiefs, 30-7, marking the first time they've had a win streak that long since the end of the 2009 season. It's also their fifth win in their last eight games, making them 5-8 after their 0-5 start to the year.
With a turnaround like that, the Browns can only be described as a team that has made real, tangible progress this year; a team that has learned from past mistakes and corrected them. This progress might just make all the difference for those in the coaching staff and front office who found their job security under question when Jimmy Haslam took over ownership of the team and installed Joe Banner as CEO.
Aside from an 80-yard Jamaal Charles touchdown run to open the game, the Browns gave up zero additional points to the Chiefs while putting up 30 unanswered of their own. The Browns didn't turn the ball over once, dominated in time of possession and both ran and passed the ball well, defeating a two-win Chiefs team without much struggle.
On offense for the Chiefs, Charles added only 85 additional rushing yards beyond that 80-yard score, while fellow back Peyton Hillis, making his return to Cleveland where he once played, netted just 11 yards on his five carries.
Kansas City's passing game produced little results, with quarterback Brady Quinn completing only 10 of his 21 passes for 159 yards and an interception, and none of his receiving targets had more than two catches. Quinn was also sacked five times, for a loss of 29 yards.
All told, a win such as this—dominant, over a team that should have been dominated—should do a lot to save the jobs of Browns general manager Tom Heckert, head coach Pat Shurmur, offensive coordinator Brad Childress and defensive coordinator Dick Jauron.
Shurmur isn't without his flaws—he's made strange play calls all season long and seemed to want to fit square-peg Weeden into the round hole of his West Coast offense—but he's slowly learned the strengths of his young team just as the players have begun to discover them, themselves.
Errors are on the decrease while wins are on the increase, and there's nothing like an improved win-loss record from one season to the next to warrant a coach getting another year on the job.
What Shurmur and the rest of his staff needed to save their jobs were wins, and now the Browns have three in a row and five in their last eight contests.
As long as the Browns don't regress over their final three games, there's a body of evidence complete enough to warrant another season with Shurmur at the helm of the team and Heckert making the draft-day calls.
It took time—an uncomfortably long amount of time, for some—but the proof is in the record. The Browns have a legitimate chance to end their season with seven or eight wins, and if they do, Shurmur, Heckert and the rest of the old guard shouldn't be going anywhere.