With Sunday’s 38-31 loss to the Chicago Bears at FirstEnergy Stadium, the Cleveland Browns dropped to 4-10 on the season.
But despite being mathematically eliminated from the postseason, the players did not express sorrow over their fifth straight loss. Instead, they showed focus and resolve when talking about playing for pride at the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers over the final two weeks of the regular season.
“We’re very confident,” Browns safety T.J. Ward said. “This loss definitely hurts, but I don’t think it’s going to take anything away from how we approach the game, how we approach every week. We’re going to come in, we’re going to work hard all week and in that game, we’re going to grind it out, play hard, tough football. That’s what you can expect from us every week, win or lose. We’re not going to fold, at all.
“We have the pieces in place. I think we just have to figure out how to make them all work together. We have a lot of great players on this team, and I think this is the best team I’ve been on since I’ve been here. Whatever it is, we have to get over that hump and start winning games because I know we have the players and staff to do it. We just have to do it.”
Second-year wide receiver
“Guys want to finish strong,” Gordon said. “That’s definitely all the motivation I think that you need. Nobody wants to lose. You definitely don’t want to have that feeling going into the offseason. I know I definitely plan to practice my hardest these last two weeks and get as much production out of them as I can.”
Browns linebacker, and defensive captain, D’Qwell Jackson said he will break down the film of Sunday’s loss to the Bears, and then, quickly move on to prepare for a Jets team that dropped to 6-8 with a 30-20 loss at the Carolina Panthers Sunday.
“I’m focused on the now,” Jackson said. “I’m focused on my next task. We go to New York next weekend. Yeah, it’s been rough, but I don’t look back in the past. I enjoy the guys that are in this locker room. It’s a great bunch of guys. We’ve just got to find a way to finish games. We’ve proven we can create leads. We can dominate when we want to. We’ve just got to learn to finish games, and my confidence hasn’t swayed away from that.
“It’s like anything else. Once you create a habit, when you get a habit of winning, you find a way to win. We’ve been finding a way of letting leads slip away. That’s been our Achilles heel. I think it’s all in habit. We don’t change anything. We prepare like we normally do. We push each other. On Sundays, we’ve got to be able to put a better brand out here. We’ve got to be able to finish these games.”
And much like his players, Browns coach Rob Chudzinski showed a similar resolve when he addressed the media following the loss to Chicago.
“The challenge with our guys is for these types of experiences to try to grow and get stronger,” Chudzinski said. “I talked to them a lot about what you hear, ‘If it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger.’ That’s what we have to do, and that’s the approach we have to take, and we want everybody to be part of the solution.
“When the guys are competing, they want to win so badly. They’re putting forth the effort to do that, both in preparation and in game time. It’s a matter of us doing a better job in the key points of the game and everybody doing a better job of being able to close it out and come up with a win.”