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News » Browns hurting after second loss in 5 days


Browns hurting after second loss in 5 days


Browns hurting after second loss in 5 days
BEREA, Ohio (AP) - In the aftermath of Collapse Part II, running back Jamal Lewis stood at his locker in the Cleveland Browns' shellshocked locker room and vented.


For the second time in five days, the Browns had let a double-digit lead at home disappear and dissolve into another season-defining loss.

On Sunday, the Baltimore Ravens rallied for a 37-27 win over Cleveland. On Thursday night, the Denver Broncos scored 21 points in the fourth quarter and beat the Browns 34-30.

Incredible, but not exactly unbelievable for a seemingly snake-bitten franchise.

Lewis couldn't fathom what had happened, how it happened or why it happened.

But, it happened.

"This is as frustrated as I've been in as many years as I've been playing," the nine-year veteran said. "I've never seen anything like it in my life. I'm just not cut from this kind of cloth. I play physical football. I come out here and give it my all - all week. This is the NFL. You can't call it quits until the game is over. But it looks to me like some people call it quits before that. Denver was down, but they didn't call it quits. They kept their heads up and they finished.

"We didn't do that two weeks in a row - at home."

Then, without naming names, Lewis called out some teammates.

"Some people need to check their egos at the door and find some heart to come out here and play hard," he said. "This is a man's game. The way we went out there and played two weeks in a row, finishing the same kind of way, it's just not there. I think there's some men right here who need to check themselves."

The Browns (3-6) are a mess - again.

Their defense gave up 447 yards passing to Jay Cutler, who threw three TD passes in the fourth quarter despite not having any of his running backs on the field because of injuries. His total was the second most in Browns history and Cleveland's defense was shredded for 564 yards, the third-highest total in 773 regular-season games since 1950.

The two-game total of 993 (the Ravens had 429 on Sunday) yards is a club record.

The loss cast a pall over Cleveland's suburban headquarters and coach Romeo Crennel appropriately wore a black shirt to his news conference on Friday.

Instead of being in the thick of the AFC playoff race, the Browns could be headed toward their fifth losing season in six years.

And, they could be heading for another coaching change if things don't improve quickly.

Crennel understands his predicament.

"I told you in 2005 when I got here, this is a hot seat," Crennel said. "If you win it's not as hot, if you lose it gets warm."

It's heating up by the minute.

There was plenty of blame to go around for the latest calamity, which overshadowed quarterback Brady Quinn's impressive debut as an NFL starter. He completed 23 of 35 for 239 yards and threw two first-half TD passes to Kellen Winslow, who finished with 10 catches for 111 yards but let a fourth-down pass slip through his hands in the final minute.

Quinn, who replaced Derek Anderson as Cleveland's starter on Monday, didn't make any mistakes and was effective throwing short and to the middle of the field. He completed just one pass to wide receiver Braylon Edwards for 15 yards.

"I think he will use more of the field and more of the weapons that are available to him," Crennel said. "He is going to get better and he is going to improve. If we can get the defense to improve, I think we can be more competitive than we were last night."

Cleveland's defense may need a complete makeover. The Browns didn't pressure Cutler, their tackling was awful and there seemed to be confusion on coverages, particularly on Cutler's 93-yard TD pass to rookie Eddie Royal that cut Cleveland's lead to 23-20 early in the fourth quarter.

Cutler continually picked on cornerback Brandon McDonald, who was beaten for two TDs and dropped two possible interceptions.

McDonald apologized to Cleveland's fans and his teammates.

"I let myself down, I let my team down and I let my family down," he said. "I wish I could bring it back, but I can't."

The Browns, now 1-4 at home, have 10 days to get ready for a Monday night game at Buffalo.

Crennel gave his players the day off on Friday, some needed down time after a five-day grind they'd like to forget.

"It's been a heck of a week," Crennel said. "I think we can say we're going to go back to the drawing board."



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 7, 2008

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