Browns focusing on eliminating self-inflicted mistakes after loss to Patriots

It's a natural process in football in the first 24-48 hours after a game.

Watch the film, correct the mistakes and apply it moving forward.

But some mistakes don't need film to understand, especially those that draw yellow flags. The Browns committed 13 such mistakes Sunday, and when compounded with a three-turnover first quarter that produced 10 points for the opponent, it resulted in a 27-13 loss. 

Those are what coaches consider to be self-inflicted mistakes. They've also been a recurring issue with this team in 2019, starting with an 18-penalty season-opening loss to Tennessee. 

Head coach Freddie Kitchens acknowledged Monday the responsibility for such mental mistakes falls on him. He also pointed to one of his players as an example of what he wants more of his players to do in the final nine games of the regular season.

"Most pre-snap and post-snap penalties is focus and concentration on the task at hand, at a timely manner," Kitchens said. "Myles Garrett has had six penalties this year. Five of them came in the first two games. So he did something to correct his mistakes. We need more guys doing that."

Check out the best photos from the Cleveland Browns game against the New England Patriots yesterday by team photographer Matt Starkey

The sense of urgency, or at least the tone of Kitchens' replies was more urgent and firm Monday than in past weeks. At 2-5, it's time to start rattling off some wins. The margin for error is thin, but there is good news: the Browns have made it through a gauntlet of a seven-game stretch.

Consider this: Of the Browns' first seven opponents, only one owns a losing record after eight weeks (New York Jets at 1-6). Cleveland's combined opponents have won 36 of 53 games for a winning percentage of 0.679. Two of those opponents are the NFL's two remaining undefeated franchises, and the Browns had to face both of them on the road. 

This has been one heck of a test. But there's a reason for the urgency that is also blended with optimism: In terms of record, things are supposed to start looking better.

After going through that incredible stretch of opponents, the Browns now face Denver (2-6), Buffalo (5-2), Pittsburgh (2-4) and Miami (0-6), with the final three coming at FirstEnergy Stadium. Their combined record: 9-18.

But that's why the focus on self-inflicted mistakes is so important. In the NFL, those types of errors will get you beaten by any team, not just the ones atop their divisions. Unless the Browns start playing with a sharper mental edge, opponents won't matter.

"We went up there to win a game and we certainly did not do that," Kitchens said Monday. "We did not do anything to help ourselves win the game. We actually beat ourselves with turnovers and penalties. We expect to clean up a bunch of that this week."

And again, with nine games left, the Browns will need to win a good chunk of them -- including the majority of their five remaining meetings with AFC North opponents -- in order to keep their playoff hopes alive. The road is in front of them, yes, but it's time to hit the gas.

"Just us as players, we've got to execute. We made the mistakes," receiver said Sunday. "Like I said, I don't think anyone comes and tries to make the mistakes. But we made them today and it cost us the game. If we're going to continue to do this, it's going to continue to give the same results and none of us are going to be happy or pleased with the results. We've got to correct those mistakes. Enough is enough. It's just time. There's no more time to lose any games."

Check out photos of the Browns against the Patriots