BEREA - Pat Shurmur found out that it's easier to enjoy some down time with the family on a Sunday night after a win.
The previous week he had the quick-snap play by the Cincinnati Bengals racing through his mind, knowing he would be asked about it the next day at his press conference. Last Sunday the Browns coach was able to enjoy the 24-hour rule that allows for time to celebrate a win before moving on to the next opponent.
It might have been a little more enjoyable for Shurmur, who was presented a game ball by quarterback Colt McCoy for winning his first game as a head coach Sunday in Indianapolis.
"I was probably better in the conversation than I was last week," Shurmur said. "You tend to go sit alone with your thoughts. I think my family recognizes it a little more than anyone. You're more likely to converse after a win."
Shurmur showed some emotion when he talked about receiving the game ball after the 27-19 win over the Colts. He's put the ball in an appropriate place as a treasured reminder of a big moment in his coaching career.
"It's meaningful," Shurmur said. "I don't carry it around with me. I will cherish it for sure."
There were some important decisions made in the win that could have long-term impacts. Offensively, Shurmur made Joshua Cribbs and rookie Greg Little bigger parts of the passing attack, while giving less reps to Brian Robiskie.
Cribbs showed his value in the short passing game, where he can use his physical, reckless-abandon style to make something happen after the catch. Cribbs was effective running bubble screens and then turning up field.
Little is a physical force at 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds. He uses that size effectively on slant routes, positioning himself between the ball and smaller defensive backs.
Cribbs and Little join Mohamed Massaquoi to form what Shurmur hopes will be a solid trio.
"Greg has grown a lot in my eyes," Shurmur said of the 2011 second-round draft choice. "He's one of those guys that love Sunday. His eyes get real wide when the lights are on. He had his chances (against the Colts), and I think he did some good things. We'll try to build on that."
Another big decision was to switch rookie defensive end Jabaal Sheard from the right to the left side, the spot he played last season when he was the Big East Defensive Player of the Year at the University of Pittsburgh. Sheard's performance against the Colts was like night and day when compared to how he played in the opener against the Bengals.
Sheard finished with five tackles, including one sack of quarterback Kerry Collins. The sack produced a fumble that he recovered and returned to the Colts' 14 to set up a Phil Dawson field goal.
"You can't do anything offensively and defensively unless your lines hold the point and dominate," Shurmur said. "I think those guys (on the defensive line) are getting to the point where they're playing well as a unit and then you're seeing them be able to make some plays on their own."
There was nothing knew about the way the offense went about business. Running back Peyton Hillis was the focal point of the attack with 94 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries and four receptions for 23 yards.
Shurmur wishes he would have given playing time to running back Montario Hardesty earlier in the game (he didn't play until the third quarter). Hardesty had just 1 yard on three carries and fumbled inside the Colts' 5. Tackle Joe Thomas made the recovery.
"I feel like he's made huge progress through training camp," Shurmur said of Hardesty. "For us to win over a consistent time frame, we're going to need him, so I need to play him sooner."