Shurmur: 'We've got to learn to finish'

Posted Dec 24, 2012

Browns coach Pat Shurmur said the team has to continue learning how to finish opponents.

The Cleveland Browns trailed the Denver Broncos by eight points heading into the second half of Sunday’s game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. However, the Broncos outscored the Browns by 14 points in the second half and improved to 12-3 overall with the 34-12 win.

It was Denver’s 10th straight win overall and their 10th in a row against the Browns, dating back to a 17-7 decision on Dec. 8, 1991 in Cleveland.

“That was a disappointing loss; I’m not discouraged, but it was disappointing,” Browns coach Pat Shurmur said Monday. “It was 14-3 at halftime and we knew we had to score touchdowns to keep up with them because they’ve got a ball-control offense and they score lots of points. We came out and on the first drive of the second half, made it 14-6. However we got to that point, it was down to one score. After that, it got stretched out on us.

“We’ve got to learn how to finish. We played an outstanding football team. I think that’s pretty obvious watching them play and they played extremely well. They threw one interception and then, they exposed themselves to a couple turnovers on muffed punts. Other than that, they took care of the football pretty well and got points. We turned it over on the muffed punt ourselves and they got points. We got beaten by a good football team.”

The Browns have one more chance to finish an opponent this season. They will travel to Heinz Field for the second of two annual meetings with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who were eliminated from playoff contention with their 13-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday.

Earlier this year, the Browns earned a 20-14 victory over the Steelers on Nov. 25, at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

“We all know the fun in this business is winning,” Shurmur said. “That’s the emotion in this business when you win. Unfortunately, we have meetings like this when you don’t win. I think the biggest thing is that you keep moving, put the pieces back together here and get a team ready to go play Pittsburgh. That’s what we’ve got left.”

Since Shurmur took over as head coach of the Browns, the defense has not allowed the Steelers to score more than 14 points in a game. Pittsburgh defeated the Browns at home, 14-3, on Dec. 8, 2011, and in Cleveland, 13-9, on Jan. 1, 2012.

In that second meeting of the 2011 season, Browns quarterback Seneca Wallace lofted a last-second pass to the end zone where the Steelers batted it away from the Cleveland receivers.

“It would be a big deal,” Shurmur said of ending the year with a win over Pittsburgh. “Last year, we were throwing a Hail Mary on the last play of the game for the win and we actually had guys in position to make the play. Unfortunately, we didn’t. That would’ve been fun for that day heading into the offseason because we were one of the 20 that wasn’t in the playoffs.”

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