PITTSBURGH -- The Cleveland Browns walked into Heinz Field at 4-11 and long since eliminated from the playoff race, but that did not stop them from playing hard for 60 minutes in Sunday’s 20-7 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Browns had their second-lowest penalty output of the season, three for 30 yards and were nearly even with the Steelers in time of possession but could not find the end zone prior to running back
“I thought the guys wanted this game badly,” Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said. “We all did. They played extremely hard all the way to the very end, which they’ve done all season long, and I’m proud of them for that. Every experience makes us better, and I believe that in this case as well. We will be better for this, and in the long run.
“I just go back to being proud of our guys and how they’ve been able to handle it. My goal was to make sure I kept the ship steady through those times, and again, I feel our future is bright and I look forward to it.”
“Football’s a very prideful game and you have a lot of prideful guys in here that are going to fight, tool and nail, till the last drop,” Mack said. “We were close a couple times. It’s frustrating, but we’re building good things here.”
Jackson added, “It was good to show that guys kept fighting. We had something to play for. We were trying to play for the first time in Browns history that we beat every division opponent in one season. Just the pride that each one of us carries, the competitors inside of us wanted to win this game.”
Although the Browns finished the 2013 regular season with a 4-12 record, and double-digit losses for the sixth straight year, with five players reaching the Pro Bowl, a sixth being named an alternate, and multiple individual records being broken, Mack said he believes good things are on the horizon for the team.
“I feel really good about it,” Mack said of the future. “I think we have some really good offensive weapons. The ability to score late in games, do quick drives and put drives together, good things are going on. Injuries kind of hurt us a little bit, but we have a good, core group of guys.”
The team will spend the offseason evaluating video from the 2013 season to see where improvements can be made moving forward.
“We’ll take a hard look at it from a coaching standpoint, from a playing standpoint,” Chudzinski said. “There’s no easy answer. It’s not one thing in particular. You have to look, game-by-game, at what the factors were in different games.
“You can look at the fact that we had some leads in some games and weren’t able to finish those games, there’s a number of things that we’ll get into and address. At the end of the day, every experience, every opportunity that guys have to play is part of the growing process and we’ll get better from it.”
“Buster Skrine will get an MRI,” Chudzinski said. “Josh Gordon had a stomach flu prior to the game. He had some IVs before the game, but he’s okay now.”