BEREA - The thought of playing the silver and black used to be a scary proposition for the Cleveland Browns.
The Oakland Raiders, after all, gave Browns' fans Red Right 88 - the interception of a Brian Sipe pass for Ozzie Newsome by Mike Davis in January of 1981. They've also given the Browns 13 losses in 21 games dating back to 1970.
Times have definitely changed. When the 3-8 Raiders host the 3-8 Browns today, the mystique of intimidation created by late Raiders owner Al Davis won't be noticeable. It's been replaced by a bad football team that has lost four straight games.
It would seem to be the perfect setting for the Browns to end a 12-game road losing streak, which began in Oakland's Alameda County Coliseum on Oct. 16, 2011. A win would also give Browns coach Pat Shurmur his first two-game winning streak since back-to-back victories over the Colts and Dolphins in September of last year.
It's all about finding ways to finish games.
"As a team, I think collectively we found a way to finish against the Steelers," quarterback Brandon Weeden said. "We weren't able to do that against Dallas, and we weren't able to do that early against Baltimore. There were times we've been close and we weren't able to finish.
"When it comes to crunch time late in the game; it's (the) fourth quarter; just do like we did on Sunday and find a way to finish, whether it's pretty or ugly."
There's a good chance everything that happens today could be ugly. With a storm front creating flood conditions and high winds in the Bay Area, it might be a day for turnovers and unpredictability.
This would be a good time for running back Trent Richardson to carry the offense. Richardson has three 100-yard rushing games to his credit. Among all NFL rookies he's tied for second in points scored (42), second in receptions (41), second in yards from scrimmage (1,071) and third in rushing yards (755).
Richardson admittedly isn't 100 percent because of a rib injury and two minor knee surgeries this year. He doesn't think he'll be fully healthy until he gets an offseason of rest.
Still, Richardson ran with more decisiveness in a 20-14 win over the Steelers last Sunday. He was quick through the hole and sharp with a cut in making safety Ryan Clark miss on a 15-yard touchdown run.
"He's a decisive runner," Shurmur said. "His style sometimes makes it look like he's working his way into the hole. That can be deceiving at times. I thought he ran with a very physical style on Sunday. Each game he plays, each on-field situation, he'll get better and better."
Richardson is cautious to put too much emphasis on the win over the Steelers. He needs to see some victories stack up before he can feel completely good about the situation.
"I think it's a day coming when we're winning games," Richardson said. "That's how I define everything as being perfect. There are no perfect days in this world as far as being on the offensive side or just playing football. You never know, someone might be injured, something might happen. We might catch two passes and score three touchdowns, but we don't make one on the last drive that we need it.
"When it comes to stuff like that, you really can't predict the future. It's really not a perfect day unless you win the game."
Shurmur was asked what the Browns have learned during the 12-game road losing streak. His answer said it all.
"Don't lose on the road. That's what we need to do. That's the way you approach it. That's it."