The Browns' loss to the Colts kept Jabrill Peppers wide awake at night.
"I couldn't sleep for about two days. I just feel like if I make a few of the plays that I missed, it's a different outcome in that game," the rookie safety said Wednesday. "At the end of the day, you have to take it on the chin, don't run from anything and just keep getting better."
Peppers, of course, was referencing Sunday's game, when Cleveland's defense gave up 28 first-half points to an Indianapolis team that had previously totaled 22 in two games. While the Browns buckled down at halftime — allowing just three points and 75 yards in the final two quarters — Peppers was critical of himself as the young team searches for its first win of the season. In particular, he took ownership of a missed tackle on a play that saw T.Y. Hilton score on a 61-yard touchdown.
"That's my job to get that guy down. Even if they kick a field goal, that's still a pretty different game rather than having that big play," he said. "That's on me. It is what it is. We can't go back in time and change it."
Peppers, the former Michigan star and 25th overall pick this spring, described it all as a learning experience he'll hopefully grow from. He also said it's not the first time he's been in this type of situation, pointing to his formative years in Ann Arbor.
"It's definitely humbling, but my first year at Michigan, I faced some adversity as well. I wasn't playing the way I like to and I got hurt," he said. "So, I've never run from adversity, never run from criticism. I just rise to the occasion. I'm three games in of real football and you just have to keep preparing the same way you have been preparing, but take it up a notch."
To be certain, the versatile Peppers has impressed his teammates and the coaching staff since coming to Cleveland. In addition to starting at safety, he's the Browns' primary kick/punt returner and is versatile enough to help on offense, if need be, after playing almost a dozen positions with the Wolverines.
Peppers believes his inexperience got the better of him this past weekend, but "I'm not going to be down on myself or lose confidence or anything like that.
"It's part of the game," he said. "You just have to come back and execute, get better and make the plays when you're supposed to make the plays. It is as simple as that."
And as the Browns prepare to host back-to-back games at FirstEnergy Stadium against the Bengals and Jets, Peppers stressed the need for consistency on defense.
He pointed to himself first.
"I know I have to play better. I don't need anyone to tell me that, but at the end of the day, we all have to play better," Peppers said.
"We continuously come out and shoot ourselves in the foot and try to gnaw our way back into the game. You are not going to win many ballgames like that. We have to coming out from opening kickoff to closing whistle ready to go and ready to execute. It shouldn't be when we get behind or things like that."