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Browns continue to compete

Posted Nov 18, 2012

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Despite losing a lead late in the fourth quarter, the Cleveland Browns fought to take back the advantage in Sunday’s 23-20 overtime loss to the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium.

ARLINGTON, Texas -- “There is no quit in this locker room.”

Those were the words of veteran Cleveland Browns tight end Benjamin Watson, who caught two touchdowns in Sunday’s 23-20 loss to the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium. And his team lived that when they responded with a touchdown drive late in the game that forced the Cowboys to kick a field goal in order tie the game and send it to overtime.

“It’s tough; it’s very tough,” Watson said of the loss. “There’s a lot of disappointment in this locker room. There’s no quit in this locker room, but there’s definitely a lot of disappointment when you go through a week of preparation and you don’t get the ‘W’. Tomorrow, we’ll come in and break down the film. The Cowboys did a great job of hanging in there, like we did. They just made more plays in the end. That’s why they won.”

After leading for much of the game, the Browns trailed the Cowboys by a 17-14 count when quarterback Tony Romo completed a 28-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Dez Bryant with 6:46 left in the fourth quarter of play. On the ensuing possession, quarterback Brandon Weeden was sacked and lost the football.

The Cowboys had a first-and-10 at the Browns’ 18-yard line, but two plays later, Cleveland defensive end Frostee Rucker forced a fumble, which linebacker Craig Robertson recovered. The Browns marched all the way to Dallas’ one-yard line, but an incomplete pass on fourth down turned the ball over.

Three Cowboys running plays and three Browns timeouts later, Cleveland forced a punt. Joshua Cribbs’ 21-yard punt return and the subsequent 15-yard penalty on Dallas’ John Phillips for a horse collar tackle set up the Browns at the Dallas 17-yard line.

One play after the punt, Watson put the team back in front of the Cowboys, at 20-17, with a 17-yard touchdown reception from Weeden with 1:07 remaining in regulation.

“We put ourselves exactly where we wanted to be,” Weeden said. “We bounced back and we made up for the mistakes early on. At the end of the day, it just didn’t work out. The guys in this locker room continue to battle and I don’t know why we’re not getting it done late. That’s the frustrating part.

“Looking back on all of our games, we’ve lost our share, but we’ve been in every game. We’ve battled. You can’t look at this team and say they don’t play hard or don’t fight. We just haven’t been able to finish. We fight for four quarters. We’re on our way. I’m very optimistic about this football team. I’m very optimistic and very excited to be a part of it.”

While they were disappointed in the outcome, the Browns will get right back to work, review tape of Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys and then, begin the preparations for next week’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

“At the end of the day, we just didn’t make enough plays to win,” Browns coach Pat Shurmur said. “I thought our guys battled for the most part. I told the players, ‘Sometimes, this happens in life and you just get back to work and put all your energy and focus on beating the Pittsburgh Steelers.’”

DEVELOPING A RAPPORT

Watson caught four of the eight passes Weeden targeted him with on Sunday. He accounted for 47 yards and the team’s two touchdowns in the game. His 11.8 yards-per-reception average was second-best on the team, behind only wide receiver Greg Little’s 17.7-yard average over three catches.

“It was great to connect with him,” Watson said. “He threw some great balls in there. The first touchdown he threw was on the money. He allowed me to catch the ball and go down for the touchdown. He made some great reads as well, so it was great to kind of get that going.”

DOING MORE

In Sunday’s game, Weeden completed 20 of 35 attempts (57.1 percent) for 210 yards with the two touchdowns to Watson and no interceptions. He carried a 93.8 quarterback rating, which was higher than his counterpart’s in Romo’s 93.2 mark.

However, despite the success, Weeden said he felt he could have done more for the team.

“I had to play well to give our team a chance and I did a couple nice things, but it’s hard to look at those things, get excited when you lose,” Weeden said. “Nothing can replace winning. I’m so critical and so focused and bought into this team that I’ve got to find a way. There’s definitely things I did to make this team better. There’s definitely things that I missed and could do better. We’ve all got to do one more thing. That definitely includes (me).”

INJURY UPDATE

Following the loss, Shurmur gave the media updates of several injured players.

Josh Cooper has a knee contusion; that’s our early report,” Shurmur said. “We’ll have it further evaluated. Buster Skrine left the game with a concussion. Joe Haden, we tried to get him in the game early this morning and it wasn’t going to work.”

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