The third time was the charm for a Browns team with an apparent flair for the dramatic.
Coach Hue Jackson said as much following Sunday's overtime win over the Baltimore Ravens, a dramatic back-and-forth affair that marked the team's third game decided in the extra period.
"I think we like it dramatic, that's for sure," Jackson said with a smile postgame. "Three overtime games in five games. I haven't been through that one before."
Few have. Cleveland became the third team since the regular-season overtime rule was instituted in 1974 to have three of their first five games decided in the extra period. The Browns tied the Pittsburgh Steelers in the season opener and lost to the Raiders last week in Oakland.
After that setback, the Browns spoke of a need to find a knockout punch in close games. They found it on a foggy afternoon at FirstEnergy Stadium, overcoming a stingy Ravens defense, self-inflicted wounds and a three-year drought since their last divisional win.
After rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield engineered a 65-yard drive late in overtime, kicker Greg Joseph knocked down a 37-yard field goal with 2 seconds to play. It took 69 minutes and 58 seconds, but Cleveland found a way.
"That shows that we are starting to change the culture around here. That guys early on thinking in the past that when something bad happens, then you kind of get in the tank a little bit, put their head down, but we have a team right now that is starting to believe in themselves and rightfully so," Mayfield said.
"I take a lot of pride in the culture change and being positive, always moving forward and doing your job no matter what the situation is. That was big for us."
"It's tiring, but it's worth it," defensive end Myles Garrett added. "There's no feeling better than coming down to the wire, against a team like the Ravens and being able to get a win."
Wide receiver Jarvis Landry described the game as "another roller coaster" full of "ups and downs." After seizing a 9-3 lead in the second half, Ravens kicker Justin Tucker tied the game with a 32-yarder with 52 seconds to go in regulation.
Later on, at the 2-minute warning in overtime, it looked as if the Browns might end up with their second tie of the season. "As the clock is ticking down – I am having all of these talks with myself – I'm hoping it's not another tie," Landry said, laughing.
"I saw the clock get under 2 minutes, but we found a way to make more plays and we needed it today in all phases, the kicking game, defense and offense and when you usually do that, you have a good opportunity to win it."
In the process, the Browns — who forced two turnovers, blocked a crucial kick before halftime and made big plays down the stretch — came through when it mattered most.
"We've been through it. We've weathered that storm. The guys, they knew that this time we have to find a way to do it — don't be denied," Jackson said.
"That's all that we kept talking about on the sidelines is let's finish this. Let's find a way to finish this game. We were able to do it."