BEREA — Last year, Josh Cribbs battled injuries throughout the season and really didn’t have the impact he has in the past.
In the first two games, Cribbs has been a catalyst in getting the offensive started in the return game and on offense.
“He does just that,” Pat Shurmur said. “Emotionally, he can make big plays. That’s a part of his nature.”
Against the Bengals, Cribbs had a 53-yard kick return that got the offense going for their first touchdown. Sunday against the Colts, Cribbs had a 52-yard return to the Browns’ 45 that provided the spark for the Browns first touchdown to Evan Moore.
In the second quarter, on the first play after the two-minute warning, Cribbs caught a swing pass for 25 yards to the Colts’ 36 on third-and-8.
“On the third down play, he said, ‘Just throw it to me.’”
Four plays later, Peyton Hillis scored the Browns second touchdown of the game.
Cribbs set up the Browns third and final touchdown with a 43 yard punt return with 4:50 to play in the game to give the Browns the ball on the Colts’ 28.
Cribbs accounted for 173 all-purpose yards, including 52 yards on punt returns, 80 yards on kickoff returns and three receptions for 41 yards.
“We had returns in the game,” Shurmur said. “That was so key.”
After Cribbs’ return, Hillis broke loose for a 24-yard touchdown to give the Browns a 24-12 lead with just under four minutes left.
Receivers Grow: Shurmur said that WR Greg Little has grown much since the start of training camp.
“Greg’s grown a lot in my eyes,” Shurmur said. “He’s one of those guys who loves Sundays. His eyes get wide when the lights come on. “
Despite not catching any passes in his first two games, Shurmur said he is not down on WR Brian Robiskie.
“We saw a little less of Brian but he took about 25 snaps,” he said. “I like Josh and Greg, but am not down on Brian. He competed well.”
Montario Use: Shurmur said he has to do a better job of getting RB Montario Hardesty involved.
“We wanted to get him in the game,” he said. “You get rolling and I need to do a better job. I wish we could’ve got him in the game sooner.”
Hardesty was in on one play and then carried the ball three times for one yard when the Browns were inside the Colts’ ten.
“Peyton is a bruising type of runner and he needs a breather.”
Monday Morning Feeling: Shurmur said it was much more enjoyable coming to work after the win over the Colts.
“When you win it’s a great feeling,” he said. “Everything is better when you win. That’s what we all want to do.
“It’s a good victory, but we need to move on,” he said. “The Dolphins are 0-2 and they’re trying to get a victory.”
Shurmur was confident the Browns would bounce back after the tough loss to the Bengals.
“This team responds when you ask them to correct something,” he said. “You put the good feeling of winning behind you and get ready for the next game. “
End Switch: Shurmur said the switching of DE Jayme Mitchell and DE Jabaal Sheard will be permanent. Sheard started at left end after playing on the right side in the preseason and the first game. Mitchell played on the right side.
“We’re getting better and finding the best ways to use them,” Shurmur said. “We’re going to continue to flip the ends.”
Sheard sacked QB Kerry Collins in the fourth quarter and picked up a fumble on the play. He looked as though he tried to lateral the ball, but a challenge ruled he was down, saving the Browns 15 yards of field position.
“(Defensive players) tend to be more cavalier with the ball,” Shurmur said. “They need to secure it.”
All Clear: Shurmur didn’t mention any injuries from the Colts game, either after the game or at Monday’s briefing. OL Tony Pashos (ankle), LB Titus Brown (ankle) and DB Eric Hagg (knee) were on the sideline at the game.
By the Numbers: QB Colt McCoy is 41-of-72 for 424 yards (56.9) with three touchdowns and one interception. His rating is 82.2…RB Peyton Hillis has 151 yards (3.4 avg.) with two touchdowns. Hillis leads the team in receptions with 10 for 53 yards…The Browns rank sixth overall in the NFL in defense (2nd in pass and 24th rushing). Offensively, they are26th overall (20th rushing and tied for 24th in passing).