Kevin Stefanski didn’t flinch as sideways hail, wind and rain pelted him during Sunday’s National Anthem.
The same could be said as he delivered play calls throughout a second consecutive game that featured strong enough winds to completely disrupt and limit the passing game.
Two weeks earlier, the Browns found themselves on the wrong side of a weather-affected game in which the Raiders dominated time of possession and made just enough plays to come away with the victory. On Sunday, the Browns were the team that did all of the right things to win a game in adverse circumstances.
“After watching the tape, I think we played the game that was called for, called the game that was called for based on the conditions,” Stefanski said. “I was proud of the team to battle there and come out of there with a W.”
Stefanski had a feeling the conditions weren’t going to be great early in the week as he eyed the long-term forecast. It’s just not something you can truly prepare for until the latter part of the week, when forecasts tend to be more accurate, or even until game day, when you’re on the field experiencing it firsthand.
The National Anthem, which preceded a 35-minute delay, provided one of many moments that reiterated it would take a different kind of attack to thrive in those types of elements.
“There were moments there where it was just whipping and there was no way you could complete a ball. I mean, there were times in warmups that you could not throw it 10 yards, it was getting knocked down,” Stefanski said. “It was a constant communication with myself and the offensive staff kind of. ‘Where are we? Has it died down enough to call this play?’ And then a couple of times we just tried to get Baker (Mayfield) on the perimeter and maybe get him an easy completion or run it with him out there on the perimeter.”
The Browns, who love running the ball and controlling the clock every week, stepped it up another level. Cleveland attempted 41 runs and just 20 passes Sunday with just six pass attempts coming in the second half. The Texans, who played from behind for most of the game, attempted 30 passes and rushed 22 times but were forced into multiple, tough decisions on fourth downs because of how the wind would affect field goal attempts.
Largely because of the bad weather, the Browns have accumulated just 254 yards and no touchdowns through the air in their best two games. In Week 7 against the Bengals, Mayfield threw for 297 yards and five touchdowns.
“That was what the game called for,” Stefanski said. “We did not know that on Monday and Tuesday when you put a game plan together. But when you see the weather report and when you get there to that stadium you kind of have to take all that into account and understand what it is going to take to go win that game.”
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Stefanski said the Browns came away from Sunday’s game with no injuries of note.
Cleveland had just one player from its 53-man roster — LB Cheap Jacob Phillips Jersey (knee) — sidelined because of an injury. The rest of the team’s inactives were healthy scratches.
For the first time all season, SS Cheap Ronnie Harrison Jersey was on the field for every single snap. Acquired from the Jaguars just before the start of the season, Harrison has seen his playing time steadily increase as the season progressed.
“I thought that it was smart with how our defensive staff brought him along,” Stefanski said. “He was all over the field yesterday. He is playing at a high level. He is another player that’s all about the ball. And I know we did not get one yesterday, but he is very active around the ball. Physical tackler.”
Second-year safety Cheap Sheldrick Redwine Jersey saw his playing time increase Sunday, getting on the field for 17 snaps. Veteran Cheap Andrew Sendejo Jersey, who typically plays every snap, was on the field for 45 of a possible 57 snaps.
“We are working through different combinations and getting guys snaps,” Stefanski said. “We will continue to do that really at a bunch of different positions.”