BEREA, Ohio — Browns second-year wide receiver Josh Gordon has been the talk of the NFL the past two weeks for all for the right reasons, but he doesn’t want to talk about it.
Gordon has put up eye-popping numbers: his 498 yards receiving in the two games include 261 yards on 10 receptions (26.1 avg.) with two touchdowns in the loss to the Jaguars Sunday. He had 237 yards on 14 receptions the previous week against the Steelers to set the franchise record for receiving yards and tie the single-game reception total. According to Elias Sports Bureau, he is the only player in NFL history to top 200 receiving yards in back-to-back games. He is the only player in Browns history to ever top 200-plus receiving yards and he has done so in back-to-back games.
The previous record was held by Ozzie Newsome, who caught 14 passes for 191 yards on Oct. 14, 1984.
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He’s not only eclipsing Browns franchise records but NFL records, as well. The two-game totals passed Lions superstar Calvin Johnson’s record of 484 yards, which Johnson set earlier this season on Oct. 20-27. Gordon also has eclipsed the best three-game numbers dating back to his 125-yard performance against the Bengals on Nov. 17. He has 623 yards in the past three games, surpassing Houston’s Charley Hennigan’s three-game mark of 612 yards from Oct. 13-29, 1961.
However, Gordon doesn’t want to talk about his performance because both games resulted in losses.
“I really can’t (appreciate the records),” Gordon said after the game Sunday. “For us, it’s all about winning (the game). It’s what we came here to do. We expect to (win) every Sunday, but as a group collectively, we couldn’t get it done and that’s what matters most to me.
“Individually, it’s great, but if it was one of those individual sports, then I could accept that. As a team, we have to do a lot better, we have to get over that hump.”
Head coach Rob Chudzinski said he saw signs months ago that Gordon was developing into a standout performer.
“I think you’re seeing the product of his hard work and his commitment to what he’s doing,” he said. “It’s not a surprise to me. I saw in Josh a number of months ago and you’re seeing the results and the end results the last few games.”
Having played in just 26 NFL games, Chudzinski said Gordon has room to continue to get better. He has 805 yards receiving as a rookie.
“He still has room to grow,” he said. “He’s receptive and been in the forefront of wanting to be good. You’re seeing his confidence grow (in himself), as well.”
Gordon has 1,249 yard receiving yards, which is the second-most by a Browns player in franchise history. He passed Webster Slaughter and is just 40 yards behind the franchise record of 1,289 yards held by Braylon Edwards in 2007 with four games to play. If that’s not enough, Gordon’s 2,054 receiving yards are the most by any player in their first 26 games as a Brown. He leads the team with 64 receptions (19.5 avg.) and seven touchdowns.
Gordon has gone over the 100-yard mark three weeks in a row, joining Gary Collins (1965) and Slaughter (1989) as the only other Browns player to achieve that feat. He will try to break that record this week against the Patriots. Gordon’s six 100-yard games this season are a club record. Eleven of Gordon’s 12 career touchdowns have come from 20-plus yards.
Gordon is obviously drawing much attention from opponents but he has consistently been able to get open and gain big yards after the catch, illustrated by his 95-yard score against the Jaguars, where he caught the ball 25-30 yards down field and ran away from the defenders for the score.
“He can run and he has big strides,” Chudzinski said. “He’s deceptive in how fast he is when he’s running. He’s so smooth out there and the next thing you see is him running by someone. He’s improved as a route runner. He’s made some huge catches going over the middle. You see some of the toughness and there’s still room for a lot of growth. We’re going to coach him hard.”
— Chudzinski confirmed that QB Brandon Weeden suffered a concussion during the Jaguars game. He said he does not know when it occurred as Weeden played the entire game. He complained after the game and it was confirmed that he had a concussion.
“(Weeden) has a concussion, so he’s in the NFL protocol,” he said. “We sent him home today.”
QB Jason Campbell suffered a concussion a week earlier against the Steelers and missed the Jaguars game. Chudzinski said that Campbell is improving.
“Jason’s been cleared for activity, but not practice,” he said. “We’ll see how he progresses in the next couple of days. It goes on a day-to-day basis.”
Wednesday is when the Browns will begin practicing for the Patriots, and Chudzinski is hopeful at least one of the quarterbacks will be able to practice.
“These next 24 to 48 hours will be key,” he said. “We have a number of contingency plans, we’ll see as this all plays out.”
One of the contingency plans would be to get QB Alex Tanney ready to play against the Patriots. Tanney has not appeared in an NFL regular season game. He signed with the Browns last Tuesday from the Cowboys’ practice squad. However, Chudzinski wasn’t ready to speculate on Tanney starting.
“Let’s let these next couple days work themselves out and then we’ll see.”
If neither Campbell or Weeden is cleared by Wednesday, the Browns would more than likely have to add another quarterback, possibly one with NFL experience that could step in Sunday, if needed.
“We have a few days to let it sort out and if Alex is the guy, we’ll have him ready,” he said. “We’ll have all the possibilities and when they can practice and it might be different for each guy.
Chudzinski was asked about Weeden’s overall play. He threw for a career best 370 yards but turned the ball over three times.
“(The interceptions) weren’t good decisions,” he said. “The coverage was tight. I thought he did play very well at times. He made some good decisions and good throws.”
Weeden was 24-of-40 for 370 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. He was sacked three times and fumbled once and finished with a rating of 94.8. For the season, Weeden is 141-of-267 for 1731 yards (52.8 pct.) with nine touchdowns and nine interceptions. His overall rating is 70.3.
— Chudzinski re-affirmed his commitment to turning the Browns fortunes around in his opening address to the media Monday after the Browns 32-28 loss to Jacksonville. The Browns have lost six of their last seven.
“Losing is not acceptable,” he said. “There is no mystery, not a curse. Not bad luck. There are tangible reasons why we lost that game that we can control I see good signs in the progress this team is making in a lot of ways. Those things get over shadowed by the end results, especially in the last few weeks. But, this is what I came here for. We have a plan and I believe in that plan and I will navigate us through this to the better days that lay ahead for us. I am fully committed and undaunted in doing it.”
— Chudzinski talked about CB Joe Haden being so hard on himself after giving up the game-winning touchdown to WR Cecil Shorts III.
“As far as Joe goes, I’ve talked about it before,” he said. “He cares a lot. It’s important to him and I want guys who react like that. He’s a great player. he made a mistake and it happens to all players. it’s important how he responds to it. I have all the confidence in the world in him.”
Chudzinski was asked if he thinks the team is frustrated, overall.
“The frustration is natural. I have it, but we need to use it as fuel to get better and to step forward the next time we have an opportunity,” he said. “These guys are competitors and I look them in the eye and they went to win and they’ll do whatever they have to do to win. There are some tangible things that when we do those things, we’ll win.”
— Chudzinski talked about the defense giving up an 80-yard game winning scoring drive.
“They got a few big plays on that final drive that were key there,” he said. “It’s the point of the game that you want to shut them down. It was a seesaw type of game. It was back and forth and I think the guys showed resiliency and I give Jacksonville credit for making those plays on the final drive.”