Loading…
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Current Weather
Loading Current Weather....
HomeSportsPro
Published: Tuesday, 11/20/2012

New week, same story for Browns

Close losses pile up for Cleveland

ASSOCIATED PRESS

BEREA, Ohio — Browns coach Pat Shur­mur sounds like a bro­ken record when he talks about his team's bro­ken record.

More times than he'd care to men­tion, Shur­mur has spent his Mon­day news con­fer­ences ex­plain­ing why his young team couldn't win a close game.

It's been a pain­ful, re­cur­ring theme this sea­son for the Browns, who blew a 13-point half­time lead on Sun­day in Dal­las and lost 23-20 in over­time to the Cow­boys, who ex­ploited Cleve­land's in­jury-rid­dled sec­ond­ary in the sec­ond half and cap­i­tal­ized on pen­al­ties — some of them ques­tion­able.

"We just have to find a way to fin­ish," Shur­mur said. "We have a whole locker room full of win­ners. This whole or­ga­ni­za­tion is full of win­ners. We just have to put it all to­gether and do it."

The Browns (2-8) are per­fect­ing the close loss. Ac­cord­ing to STATS LLC, Cleve­land has lost an NFL-lead­ing 18 games by seven points or less since 2010. This sea­son, the Browns have lost five such games and their in­abil­ity to fin­ish what they've started has in­ten­si­fied the pres­sure on Shur­mur, who dropped to 6-20 in two sea­sons and may need a flurry of wins to save his job.

On Sun­day, the Browns were 67 sec­onds away from snap­ping an 11-game road los­ing streak when it all un­rav­eled.

The Cow­boys, aided by two pen­al­ties for 50 yards against a Cleve­land de­fense miss­ing top cor­ner­back Joe Haden, drove for a game-ty­ing field goal with two sec­onds left be­fore win­ning in OT.

It was right there for the Browns. And once again, they came up short. The losses are grow­ing in num­ber along with the frus­tra­tion level for play­ers ac­cus­tomed to win­ning.

"It's real dif­fi­cult, be­cause it's a dif­fer­ence when you're los­ing by 20 points or 30 points," rookie cor­ner­back Tre­vin Wade said. "But just los­ing at the end by one score in well over mul­ti­ple games is re­ally hard and stress­ful. We're just right un­der the hump, and we just need to find a way to get over."

Shur­mur is sure that day will come. He was on a Phil­a­del­phia coach­ing staff that went through a sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ence with los­ing tight games. He learned there are no short­cuts and that the only way things will get bet­ter is by work­ing and win­ning.

"You just play. You just keep work­ing on the fun­da­men­tals and you de­velop some men­tal tough­ness and then you go and do it," he said. "That's what it is. There are no for­mu­las for it. That's what you do. You put to­gether a locker room of guys that are will­ing to fight and will­ing to work and then you do what you can to play the next op­po­nent and then you go do it."

The Browns didn't help them­selves with costly pen­al­ties. Dal­las picked up 10 first downs on pen­al­ties, seven of them called against Cleve­land's de­fen­sive backs.

A few of the in­frac­tions against the Browns were bor­der-line calls, in­clud­ing a pen­alty on a hard hit by safety T.J. Ward on the game-ty­ing drive, but Shur­mur re­fused to blame the of­fi­ci­at­ing for an­other gut-wrench­ing loss.

If and when the Browns start win­ning con­sis­tently, maybe they'll get the ben­e­fit of the doubt on calls. Un­til then, their only choice is to work on put­ting to­gether a com­plete, 60-minute game.

"Un­for­tu­nately, deal­ing with ad­ver­sity and de­vel­op­ing men­tal tough­ness is part of this thing as you're build­ing," Shur­mur said. "We know there are go­ing to be some tough days."

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) grabs a touchdown catch in front of Cleveland Browns' Sheldon Brown, rear, in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)
S3 s3browns 2col by full black and white
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) grabs a touchdown catch in front of Cleveland Browns' Sheldon Brown, rear, in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade) S3 s3browns 2col by full black and white
AP Enlarge



Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. If a comment violates these standards or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box to report abuse. To post comments, you must be a Facebook member. To find out more, please visit the FAQ.