CINCINNATI -- With work still to be done, there is no time to dwell on the mistakes of the past.
That was the message Cleveland Browns coach Rob Chudzinski talked about with his team after a 31-point second quarter by the Cincinnati Bengals spoiled an early spark for the Browns in their 41-20 loss to their in-state rivals at Paul Brown Stadium Sunday.
“It was one game,” Chudzinski told the media after the setback. “We have a lot left in this season, a lot of games left, and we’re going to play hard the rest of the way. I challenged our guys to dig deep, and we’ll dig deep this week. It’s Steelers week and we’ll get ready to play the Steelers.
“We’re working to get there, and we’re going to continue to work to get there. It’s one game. We have to accept the outcome of this game. We will and we’ll get better from it and we’ll be ready to play next week.”
“It was really us,” Ogbonnaya said. “We made some critical mistakes. I myself had a bad play that set our team back. We just have to be accountable as a group. We’ll come out of this. It’s one game. Unfortunately, we lost and we want to win every game, but we’ll look at this, look at ourselves in the mirror, see what we did wrong and come back and prepare next week for Pittsburgh.
“It’s just a matter of execution. We have to be better in every phase, offense, defense and special teams. I think we all know that. I think the leaders on the team really need to take hold of the team, and that’s what losing will do to you. You don’t want to get too uptight, but we want to remember what we did to prepare ourselves in previous weeks because it works. You can’t win every game, but unfortunately, this was one we wanted to get.”
Although “disappointed with the setback in a game that could have put the Browns within a half-game of first place in the AFC North Division, punter
“It’s just not good enough,” Lanning said. “We need to get after it on Monday. It’s going to make us stronger and we’re going to try to get after it. We’ll be reviewing film tomorrow and we’ll take the right strides to get it cleaned up and I believe we will get it cleaned up.”
STEMMING THE TIDE
Despite a 13-point deficit, the Bengals used a barrage of big plays to take a 31-13 lead into halftime.
Following a 25-yard pass from wide receiver Mohamed Sanu to running back Giovani Bernard, Sanu caught a six-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Andy Dalton. Then, seven minutes later, Dye returned the blocked punt for a touchdown.
On the Browns’ next possession, Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict returned a fumble 13 yards for a touchdown.
Kicker Mike Nugent added a 41-yard field goal with one second remaining in the first half.
“It was just plays, plays that were a disaster,” Chudzinski said. “Anytime you turn the ball over and the other team’s able to score on that or get into field position where they can score, anytime you have punts blocked, that’s four plays that were huge plays in the game, and that’s really the bottom line.
“We weren’t able to overcome a second quarter. The game got away from us at that point. I felt good about how we came out in the first quarter and played well. I wish we could’ve gotten the ball in the end zone in the red zone the two times we were down there.
“Give Cincinnati credit. They stayed with it, continued to play and were able to turn the game around. I thought we did come back in the third quarter, came back and scored and were able to make it a game there, but we just couldn’t come up with the plays we needed. Cincinnati did. They made the plays that they needed to make.”
NEED FOR PLAYS
Browns defensive back
“We felt like our defense, when we came in, was doing a really good job,” Haden said. “They weren’t passing the ball on us; they weren’t passing the ball on us. Then, we were down big. We just have to go out there and be able to figure out anything we can do. We need to get more turnovers. We need to create more fumbles, whatever we can do.”