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Austin Davis says he 'wasn't good enough' because Browns didn't win

Austin Davis wasn't in the mood to look for positives in the wake of Sunday's 37-3 loss to the Bengals.

Davis was one of the first players Browns coach Mike Pettine praised after a disappointing day at FirstEnergy Stadium. Asked to assess how he performed in his first start with the Browns, Davis, meanwhile, focused on what didn't happen against the Bengals.

"We are judged on wins and losses, so you saw how the game went," Davis said. "It is disheartening to put so much into a week of prep and then you go out and have a game like that. Whatever my performance was, it wasn't good enough."

Davis, who completed 25-of-38 passes for 230 yards and an interception, drove the Browns into Cincinnati territory on five of the Browns' first six possessions. All that came from it, though, was a 46-yard field goal to slice the Bengals' then 20-point advantage to 17 entering halftime.

The Browns never entered the red zone against the Bengals, who boast the NFL's No. 1 scoring defense.

Twice, Davis and the Browns saw promising drives come to an end on a failed fourth down. He was sacked on a fourth-and-11 from Cincinnati's 36-yard line and threw incomplete on fourth-and-1 from the Bengals' 40-yard line.

The Bengals responded to both of those possessions with scoring drives of their own to further deepen the hole Davis and the Browns faced through most of Sunday's game.

"I do appreciate Coach Pett's confidence in me and the offense any time he goes for fourth down," Davis said. "A lot of times he'll ask us how we feel, what we're thinking and things like that. He puts a lot of confidence in us and that as a player is what you want and that's what you appreciate. It doesn't matter if it's fourth-and-20; if they call a play we've got to go execute and get the first down."

That challenge only grew as the players around Davis were steadily decimated by injuries.

Offensive lineman Joel Bitonio (ankle) and fullback Malcolm Johnson (groin) were lost for the game after the first series. Cleveland's leading receiver Travis Benjamin (shoulder) didn't play much after the first quarter. Marlon Moore injured his ribs and Brian Hartline, who led the Browns with eight catches for 81 yards, played through a thigh bruise.

Cleveland entered Sunday's game without wide receivers Taylor Gabriel and Andrew Hawkins because of their respective concussions. One of Davis' top targets, rookie Darius Jennings, was added to the active roster Saturday and made his NFL debut Sunday.

Davis declined to correlate those extenuating circumstances with his overall performance.

"It certainly wasn't part of the plan, but it is NFL football and guys get hurt and the next man up has to be ready," Davis said. "I think that is the encouraging thing. All the guys that had to step into roles that weren't familiar with or didn't necessarily get the reps all week did a really good job, in my opinion. Obviously, the outcome of the game is not anywhere close to what we want and I think we are better than what we showed.

"At the end of the day, you are only as good as the final score."

Pettine declined to say whether Davis or Johnny Manziel would start next Sunday at San Francisco. Davis has maintained his week-to-week approach hasn't changed since he arrived in September as the third-string quarterback, and it won't now.

"The situation that we're in and me specifically is keep preparing and keep playing," Davis said. "That's what I tried to do this week and that's why it's so tough is you put so much into the game and then to go out and have a performance like that where the game just gets away from us and toward the end you feel like you didn't have a chance.

"It's really hard but we have to play next week and the team that's coming in here is not going to feel bad for us."

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