Browns' late rally falls short in loss to Titans



]( — It was too little too late.

The Browns rallied past a double digit deficit late in the fourth quarter, but it wasn't enough to overcome an otherwise uneven performance against the Titans Sunday afternoon at Nissan Stadium.

Instead, Cleveland fell to Tennessee, 28-26, and remains in pursuit of its first win of the season.

While the Browns had success in their mission to slow down running back DeMarco Murray and a bruising Titans run game they didn't have an answer for quarterback Marcus Mariota, who took advantage with both his arm and legs.

Mariota passed for 284 yards and three touchdowns, including a 15-yard strike to tight end Anthony Fasano in the fourth quarter that gave the Titans their biggest lead of the afternoon.

The Browns, though, mounted a late comeback that ultimately fell short against a defense that shut down their run game and sacked rookie quarterback Cody Kessler six times.

To be sure, Kessler showed pluck and poise here, completing 26-of-41 passes for 336 yards and two touchdowns. The rookie's fourth consecutive start was arguably his best to date despite leaving last week's loss to the Patriots with a ribs injury.

But the Titans defense — including pass rushers in Brian Orakpo and Jurrell Casey — thwarted the Browns' offensive efforts throughout the second half.

Coming into Sunday's game, the Browns made clear they would have to have an "all hands on deck" effort to slow Murray and Co.  They did just that, holding Murray — who finished with 65 yards on 21 carries — and Tennessee's second-ranked rushing attack in check.

But Cleveland's defense struggled when it came to big plays. Without star cornerback Joe Haden, who missed his second game this season because of a groin strain, the Browns surrendered a pair of deep balls and a long Mariota run that gave way to Titans touchdowns.

Trailing by 15 with six minutes to play, Kessler helped engineer a pair of gutsy drives that nearly watched the Browns pull off another comeback in Nashville.

The Browns play the second half against the Titans in Week 6.

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