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Chudzinski: 'We have to keep working'

Posted Sep 15, 2013

BALTIMORE -- After Sunday’s 14-6 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns coach Rob Chudzinski knows the team must improve ahead of next week’s game at the Minnesota Vikings.

BALTIMORE -- For 60 minutes, the Cleveland Browns fought toe-to-toe with the reigning Super Bowl-champion Baltimore Ravens.

But the Ravens landed two hard shots in the second half, in the form of a five-yard touchdown run from running back Bernard Pierce and a five-yard scoring pass from Joe Flacco to wide receiver Marlon Brown, that sparked a 14-6 victory.

The loss dropped the Browns to 0-2 heading into next week’s road game against the Minnesota Vikings, while the Ravens improved to 1-1.

“It was a tough game and a tough loss for us against a very good football team,” Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said. “I’d like to give them a lot of credit. The Ravens did what they needed to do to win the football game. I felt like we had a good week of preparation. We fought hard, but it wasn’t good enough, and that’s the bottom line.

“We just have to keep grinding. We have to keep working at it. The plays are there. The things are there. We’re just off a little bit here. We’re there on some things. The guys are working at it. I feel like there’s improvement being made, but it’s not good enough. It needs to be better, and that’s what we’ll do.”

One of the things Browns outside linebacker Paul Kruger, himself a former Raven, will work toward is getting the defense to play consistently through all four quarters.

The Browns shut out the Ravens, and held them to one-of-seven on third down and 122 yards of total offense in the first half. However, when the Ravens took the lead on Pierce’s rushing touchdown with 5:13 to play in the third quarter, Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco had success on third down.

Flacco went three-for-three for 40 yards on the drive, and all three of his passes were on third-down plays.

“We held them to zero points in the first half, and we’ve got to channel that energy we had and keep consistent through the game,” Kruger said. “I felt like they got some momentum going their first drive, and that’s going to happen from time to time, but we’ve got to come back and be ready to fight again and again.

“I felt like we had them right where we wanted them. We just let the momentum get out of our hands. We’re going to give it everything we’ve got every week. It’s the same thing for me. We came up short. It’s a loss. We’ve got to figure it out and get ready to play another week.”

FOCUSING ON THE BALL

Third-year Browns receiver Greg Little was targeted with 12 passes, but hauled in only four for 33 yards in the loss to the Ravens. Moving forward, Little plans on simplifying things for himself, and Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden.

“Every ball thrown my way is a ball that I’ve got to make a play on,” Little said. “Whether it’s going up over a man, going through the man to get it, it’s just a play that you have to make.

“I’ve just got to concentrate. I’ve got to make the plays that come to me. It’s (about) focusing when the ball’s in the air, not worry about getting a first down or making a guy miss, just catching the ball.”

EXECUTING EARLY

On the Browns’ first play of the game, Weeden was forced out of the pocket, and instead of running up the field, the second-year signal-caller turned and fired a strike to tight end Jordan Cameron down the field. Cameron turned upfield and got the Browns down to Baltimore’s seven-yard line with his 53-yard reception.

Three plays later, Browns kicker Billy Cundiff converted a 21-yard field goal.

“We take a lot of pride in executing our offense, and then, when we get in the red zone, doing a nice job of finishing our drives,” Browns running back Chris Ogbonnaya said. “We were able to get points, obviously, but we wanted a touchdown.

“We have to go back, look at the tape, what we could’ve done better on that particular drive, know what we could’ve executed better, and then, we’ll learn from that. It’s definitely tough. As an offensive unit, we have to continue to execute, continue to get better. We’ll learn a lot from this tape and move forward.”

PROTECTING THE QUARTERBACK

The Ravens were able to get after Weeden throughout the game. They registered three sacks in the first half, two more in the second, and collected 12 total hits on Weeden and Jason Campbell, who engineered the Browns’ offense late in the fourth quarter when Weeden exited the game with a sprained thumb.

“It’s us putting ourselves in those situations,” right tackle Mitchell Schwartz said. “We’ve got to be more efficient on the first couple downs, keep them out of those pressure situations, third-and-five plusses. They’re trying to knock you out of field-goal range, get you into longer downs.”

INJURY UPDATE

In addition to Weeden suffering the sprained thumb in the fourth quarter, Browns linebacker and special-teams captain Quentin Groves suffered a sprained ankle on the opening kickoff in the second half.

Chudzinski said X-rays were negative on Weeden’s thumb and Groves’ ankle.

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