Browns hoping to develop 'knockout shot' after another narrow defeat 

The Browns were on the cusp of victory more than a few times before ultimately stumbling down the stretch in Oakland.

Cleveland saw a 14-point lead in the second half evaporate and then an eight-point advantage get wiped away when the Raiders, who won 45-42 in overtime, tied the game with 30 seconds to play. 

On one hand, coach Hue Jackson liked the way his team regrouped and rallied in a back-and-forth affair. On the other, the Browns are still searching to for their knockout punch to put teams away in another game that came down to the wire. 

"This game, we're up by 14 at one point and we go down and then we go back up again," Jackson said.

"You look at that and you go, 'Wow, this team is talented, is gritty and is tough.' There's no quit in them. I like that characteristic about our team, but we have to learn how to finish. We have to learn how when we have a team on the ropes, you have to give them that knockout shot so that there is no doubt. There shouldn't be any doubt."

The Browns couldn't deliver that final blow and instead fell to 1-2-1 on the season. Though Jackson believes this year's team — which secured its first win since 2016 against the Jets two weeks ago — stands to improve, close isn't good enough. 

"I think our players know that we can play with anybody. Now we have to play well enough to win," he said. "That is what we have to do for 60 minutes, 70 minutes or whatever it's going to be. We have to go find a way to go finish these games. I know that's some of the same clichés that you heard a year ago, but that is football. That's the way that football is, especially in the National Football League."

The Browns' first four games have been decided by an average of 2.5 points, and every one of them has come down to a play made in the fourth quarter. For Cleveland to be the team it thinks it can be, it'll have to learn to put its "foot on their throat" going forward, center JC Tretter said. 

"You can't let teams in this league (stick around). Everybody is too good to let a team kind of stick around," he said 

"You have to be the one that kind of finishes them off, and they're not just going to – just as we were talking about – we're not going to go away. We're going to keep fighting and that's how every team is built. They're experienced football players who no deficit is too big to come back from so you have to be the one to finish them. You're not going to expect a team to roll over and just hand you the victory."

After Sunday's loss, Joel Bitonio described the Browns' start to the season as "close but no cigar." 

"We had an opportunity to be 3-1 here, you know, 4-0. We were in every game, and there's little things every week," the veteran left guard said. "This week it was turnovers probably for us, we had kicks one week. Just things like that. We have to get over that edge though, we have to learn how to win as a team.  

"We got one win, but we have to stack a few wins here."

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