Focus is the key to finishing

Posted Oct 13, 2013

The Cleveland Browns learned firsthand in their 31-17 loss to the Detroit Lions the importance of finishing an opponent when the opportunity presents itself.

The Cleveland Browns entered the second half of Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions with a 10-point lead. But what transpired over the game’s final 30 minutes spoiled what could have been a four-game winning streak as the visiting Lions left FirstEnergy Stadium with a 31-17 win over the Browns.

In the first half, the Lions netted 109 total yards, but in the third quarter, Detroit’s offense came alive.

On 18 offensive plays, the Lions registered 125 yards, 59 on the ground and 66 through the air. It was in the third quarter where Detroit drew to within three points of the Browns, 17-14. Then, in the fourth, the Lions continued to find the end zone as quarterback Matthew Stafford twice found tight end Joseph Fauria for touchdowns.

“We weren’t able to close the game out in the second half,” coach Rob Chudzinski said. “That’s something we need to learn and do, and be able to do, take the game when we have the opportunities and be more consistent in that way. I expect it will improve and get better and do the things that we need to do better in the game to take control and finish in the second half.”

Running back Chris Ogbonnaya added, “We just have to execute and understand that it’s a 60-minute game and come back with that mindset. We’ll learn a lot from this game. We’ll learn that we started very slow. Then, we picked things up in the second quarter and were a little bit slow in the third and fourth quarters. We’ll get back to doing what we do best and learn from the tape when we watch it.”

For Chudzinski, the message remains consistent. He wants the team continue to “learn and grow.”

“That’s what we’ve been able to do this season,” Chudzinski said. “I think that we’re getting better and we’ll have to look at the tape. I’m confident the guys will come in and take it as a learning opportunity to get better.

“Obviously, it’s disappointing. You hate to lose, especially when you have a lead. It’s something that we can’t let happen.”

It was in the third quarter that the Browns gave up the Lions’ longest play of the game.

On the Lions’ first possession of the second half, Bush took a handoff from Stafford on second-and-10, and ran behind right guard Larry Warford for a gain of 39 yards. Later in the drive, Bush turned a screen pass into an 18-yard touchdown for the Lions.

“We just know that we have to hold our weight up on defense,” Browns defensive lineman Ahtyba Rubin said. “If they can’t convert or get points on the board, the pressure is on us to stop them. We put it all on our backs and we’re going to come out this week and make some adjustments to get ready for Green Bay.”

Outside linebacker Paul Kruger added, “As a team, we’re determined to win each game. There’s going to be bumps in the road. There’s going to be challenges. It’s just how we react to those. It’s going to be behind us after tonight. We’ve got to come in tomorrow ready to work to put this game behind us and focus on what we need to get done.”

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