There were plenty of bright spots and building blocks for the Browns defense to take from Week 1's loss to the Steelers.
It was a different atmosphere in the visiting locker room after Sunday's loss to the Ravens.
"We didn't play well today. Point blank. Period. Offense, defense, special teams. We weren't the best team out there," linebacker Christian Kirksey said. "We knew they were going to pound the run using a lot of pull schemes and downhill running, which happened through the game. So, there are no excuses. We've got to clean up our play and get better."
The Browns were tough on third down (4-of-11), forced two turnovers and limited the Ravens to three points in the second half, but it was ultimately overshadowed by a step back against the run and an untimely sequence of events at the end of the first half.
One week after limiting Pittsburgh's dynamic running attack to 35 yards, Cleveland surrendered 136 to a Ravens offense led by Javorius Allen (66 yards), Alex Collins (42) and Terrance West (22). Thirty-seven came on arguably the biggest turning point of the game, when Allen broke free and set up the Ravens for a crushing touchdown.
"It wasn't good enough. We've got to do better," defensive back Jamar Taylor said. "We have to stop the explosive plays. We've got to get back the ball for our offense. We know we have work to do, so we look forward to getting back in tomorrow and getting to work. We know we didn't play our best today."
The Browns play the Baltimore Ravens in Week 2 of the 2017 season.
Trailing 14-7, the Browns defense was summoned back to the field with 19 seconds left in the first half after a Kevin Hogan interception. It was the kind of "sudden change" situation that brought the best out of Cleveland's defense throughout the preseason and again Week 1 against the Steelers.
After limiting the Ravens to a 1-yard pass on first down, the Browns saw Allen dart left through the heart of his offensive line and cut back to the right on his way to a 37-yard gain down to the 2-yard line. Baltimore scored on the next play with a 2-yard pass to Jeremy Maclin.
"I take that one on the chin," rookie safety Jabrill Peppers said. "I took a bad angle. I saw one of my guys closing in on him on my left. I thought I was going to be able to come from outside in. I guess we both took bad angles. My feet got stuck in the mud. I couldn't get my feet under me, and it was just awkward. It was just all bad. That's a play that I have to make."
There were a handful of others, too, as Baltimore got just five receptions by wide receivers but picked up valuable first downs with passes to tight ends -- Benjamin Watson led all receivers with eight receptions for 91 yards -- and running backs -- Allen had five catches for 35 yards.
There were a handful of highlights -- Jason McCourty accounted for two turnovers, Emmanuel Ogbah batted down another pass at the line of scrimmage and James Burgess Jr. recorded his first NFL sack -- but those weren't on the minds of Cleveland's players after another tough loss.
"We didn't win. It wasn't good enough," McCourty said. "We didn't do a good job of adjusting to quick changes on possession and we left too many plays out there. We expect more of ourselves. We came in here knowing the Ravens have a very good defense, and our job was to give the offense a short field; we didn't do that.
"We can't look at this as stepping forward or stepping back; it's just not good enough, we need to do better."