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An early-to-midseason problem, the decisions on short-yardage third- or fourth-down situations were quite often baffling.
There was the 4th-and-1 punt late against Indianapolis that allowed the Colts to hold on for a hard-fought 17-13 victory.
From ultra conservative to unnecessarily aggressive was the story in the Week 9 Ravens game.
With 3:53 remaining and the Browns trailing 22-15, Shurmur had a pair of timeouts plus the two-minute warning.
On 4th-and-2, he gambled instead of punting, giving the defense a chance for a quick stop. Brandon Weeden's throw to Greg Little was off-target and went incomplete.
This led to a turnover on downs and a Baltimore field goal that sealed a win for the visitors.
According to Nate Ulrich, the head coach commented to the Akron Beacon Journal, “What I would like us to do is execute, give them a better play and make it. I would consider doing something different if I can guarantee I’m gonna get the ball back.”
One more odd occurrence during that Ravens matchup was electing to run on 3rd-and-11.
Cleveland was already in field-goal range, so why not utilize your quarterback's strong arm and try to move the chains?
The effort was stuffed for no gain, and Phil Dawson successfully kicked the three points.
Many of the passing plays called on 3rd-and-1 throughout the first nine or 10 contests were also confusing—especially when their is a No. 3 overall pick named Trent Richardson ready to steam roll for at least a single yard.
According to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal Shurmur was asked about that in a media scrum before the team's bye, "We’ll look at third-and-ones, what we can do better, the people we use, the plays we run as we move forward to make that absolutely better.”
The predictable choices in those short third-down scenarios became almost laughable. Everyone and their cousin knew that Weeden would toss a screen to the right side.
Despite opponents consistently swarming the receiver, Coach Pat stuck with it through a large chunk of 2012.
Improvements were seen from Week 11 onward, but correcting these errors took far too long.