- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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After talking about potentially having success on the edges against the Giants, the Browns' rookie running back finished with 81 yards and a touchdown Sunday afternoon -- a fine effort, for sure.
To Giants linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka, though, that didn't matter much in the end.
"We won the game," Kiwanuka said. "End of story."
Richardson finished with 128 total yards against the Giants, and averaged a healthy 4.8 yards per carry. But the Giants contained him enough to come away with a comfortable win.
Richardson's comments leading up the game inspired Umenyiora to tell the rookie to try and get his "candy" on the edge, while Kiwanuka told the Newark Star-Leger he would shake the rookie's hand and give him a pat on the butt if he proved it Sunday.
That handshake never came. "He's got to beat us to get that," Kiwanuka said.
Richardson started the talk by saying on a conference call that if the Browns covered the edges and ran hard, he believed they could have success in the running game. The Giants, to Richardson's credit, had been allowing 118.3 yards per game entering the contest.
His comments led to Umenyiora's and Kiwanuka's responses, which gave some bite to Sunday's game. The rookie threw the first punch Sunday by scoring on Cleveland's second offensive play of the game, as he rushed for 15 yards up the middle to give the Browns a 7-0 lead.
Richardson finished with 13 carries for 67 yards in the first half, but his second half didn't nearly match the first 30 minutes. With the Giants opening up a two-score lead, Cleveland had to turn to the passing game. Richardson rushed the ball just four times for 14 yards in the second half.
Instead, the running back became more of a threat out of the backfield during the second half, as he finished up with five catches for 47 yards. Kiwanuka said the team made minor adjustments to correct the problems that had plagued the run defense early on.
While Richardson didn't get the win, Kiwanuka complimented him, saying he played well. Umenyiora was not available after the game because his son had an asthma attack.
"He's a solid player," Kiwanuka said. "No doubt about that. As long as he stays healthy he'll have a long, prosperous career. There's a lot of things that go into being a player in this league and knowing when to say something and when not to is part of it."
Kiwanuka said he did not talk to Richardson after the game, and called the whole thing a "side story." While he had no problems with what the running back said, he gave a reminder that the final outcome of the game is ultimately what means the most.
"You can say whatever you want coming in," Kiwanuka said. "Just make sure you come out with a win if you do."