CINCINNATI — Earlier this week, head coach Hue Jackson described the Browns as a young team still figuring out what it takes to win.
Cleveland continued that frustrating search Sunday after a 30-16 loss to the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.
Despite a fast start, the Browns (0-11) fell behind in the first half and trailed by as many as 16 points in a game in which they failed to capitalize on promising moments in the red zone and struggled with other self-inflicted wounds.
They cut the deficit to a touchdown late in the game when rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer scored on a 3-yard keeper with 6:57 to play. But for a team Jackson said has "melted" in pivotal moments, it was too little, too late. [
The Bengals, who entered Sunday with the league's worst-rushing attack (68 yards per game), finished with 155 yards. They were led by rookie running back Joe Mixon, who had 115 yards on 22 carries and an 11-yard touchdown that sealed the game with under three minutes.
Mixon's performance marked the second-straight week Cleveland's typically-stout run defense has allowed a 100-yard rusher. Jaguars rookie Leonard Fournette became the first eclipse that mark last weekend.
After finishing with a season-low 184 yards last weekend against Jacksonville, the Browns finished with 405 yards, including 215 in the first half. They also saw Kizer, Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson combine for 169 rushing yards on 31 carries.
Cleveland, however, struggled to convert that production into points in part thanks to self-inflicted wounds, including a 15-yard taunting penalty on a promising second series that ended when rookie kicker Zane Gonzalez missed a 43-yard field goal.
Cincinnati, meanwhile, scored 16 unanswered points in the first half behind quarterback Andy Dalton, who found Tyler Boyd for an 8-yard touchdown in the first quarter, and kicker Randy Bullock's three field goals. Dalton finished with 214 yards passing and two touchdowns.
Kizer, who struggled last week against the Jaguars, passed for 268 yards on 18-of-31 throws. He also ran six times for 35 yards.
The Browns travel to Los Angeles next weekend before back-to-back home games against Green Bay and Baltimore.
The Browns play the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 12.