The odd thing about being productive in any meaningful manner on the football field as an offensive player is that generally you need to have the football in your hands. Sure, you can do other things like block, and run decoy routes and such, but if you’re a marquee offensive player — or, say, the best offensive player on your team — having possession of a ball is much more favorable.

This was a problem for Trent Richardson yesterday during the Browns’ loss to Washington in a 38-21 game that didn’t really start to get out of hand until midway through the third quarter. Prior to yesterday Richardson was receiving 19 carries per game, which is actually a little low for a running back of his caliber, and especially a rare running back who was a top five overall pick last spring.

So what did he end up with yesterday then? 11 carries. Only 11, and if that doesn’t sound awful enough, I’ll then refer you to the second half, when Richardson was given only two carries. This is the part where I remind you again about Richardson’s normal high volume of touches, a workload that resulted in five straight games with 20 carries or more between weeks 8 and 13.

The move away from the Browns’ usual offensive tendencies went beyond Richardson, which was an odd trend for a young and developing team that had won three straight games, and is looking to build momentum to close out the season. Sometimes it’s nice to feel good about yourself during the long offseason, you know. In total, the Browns attempted 15 runs, and 35 passes.

It all made Richardson feel pretty icky after the game, and he didn’t really have a good explanation for the deviation. All he could do was apologize to the good people of Cleveland. Don’t worry, T-Rich, they were probably too busy beating up the opposition’s family to notice.

From the Cleveland Plain-Dealer:

“We [were] ready for the game,” Richardson said. “I think we’ve just got a game plan, and the game plan we had at the beginning of the game, I think we should’ve stuck with it. But we didn’t stick with the game plan and we tried to go do some other stuff, and the outcome came in a different way.”

The Browns ran the ball just 15 times as opposed to 35 passes on a day in which they didn’t fall behind by two scores until midway through the third quarter. Richardson was asked for his reaction to just a pair of second-half carries.

“It’s shocking,” he said. “But like I said, the game’s much bigger than me. I’ve got to let coach do what he does.”

Browns fans are well versed in the fine arts of ineptitude by now, and around here we only really care about fantasy production anyway. I noted this yesterday, but it’s worth repeating again due to the sheer absurdity of the fantasy output Richardson has put together over the past two weeks despite extremely minimal yardage.

Over his last two games Richarson has 70 rushing yards. Even when we toss in his 13 receiving yards over that stretch, his 83 total yards is still pretty horrific. When your RB2 has only eight points through his yardage over two games, that usual means it’s time to pack it in for a long winter. I’ll bring the brandy.

But then there’s this: despite only 2.4 yards per carry over his last two games, Richardson has still scored four times. Twice this week and twice last week, very much salvaging his fantasy performances during the most important time of the year.

This is what a fantasy savior looks like, folks. Richardson is the anti-Matthew Stafford, and the anti-Eli Manning, and the anti-Doug Martin all wrapped in one. He is my friend.

And now the links part of the links post…

  • Find your fantasy football zen. Serenity now, insanity later. [Go Pro Fantasy Sports]
  • This whole fantasy football writing thing is hard, you guys. You have to make predictions, and when they’re wrong, everyone hates you. So it’s refreshing to see someone embrace the hate. [Fantasy Trade 411]
  • Michael Vick will get in his first full week of practice, meaning Andy Reid will be saying very little about Michael Vick. [Tim McManus]
  • An early look at the Week 16 waiver wire. [Sports Jerks]
  • Dez Bryant’s finger will require a bone graft after the season. Sounds pleasant. []
  • It’s far too early in the morning (or at least it is in my world) to explain the playoff scenarios, so I’ll let someone else do it. [Sports on Earth]