The Browns came together Wednesday for the first time since they departed Baltimore winners of one of the wildest games of the NFL season.
There was no block of this morning's schedule dedicated to reflection and reminiscing. It was all Denver, all the time because, well, there's a lot to digest when it comes to the undefeated Broncos.
"As much as we feel good about what we did this past Sunday … I made it very clear in the meeting that once we reached a certain point that Baltimore was behind us. We're looking forward as always," Browns coach Mike Pettine said. "We have to put this one, as significant as it was, as much meaning it had, it needs to be behind us because Sunday will come up quick."
No matter if it's the offense, defense or special teams, it's impossible to ignore what Denver's accomplished through the first five games, and that's what makes Sunday's showdown at FirstEnergy Stadium "a challenge in all three phases."
To notch their second consecutive victory, something that's eluded the Browns since early November of last season, they'll need to be better on defense against a Broncos offense led by future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning. They'll also need to maintain and build off all the good that's happened on offense against a Broncos defense that Pettine said was nothing like the team has seen so far this season.
That's why there's minimal concern about the team riding too high after a much-needed pick-me-up last week at Baltimore. The desire to relive that feeling against the Broncos is too great.
"We want to take the momentum from the game and understand how good it felt to win, knowing that we did a lot of little things right that contributed to the win," Pettine said. "We're not in the position to take anybody lightly. It'll be emphasized all week, like I said. Hopefully, we'll have another great week of prep like we did last week and we'll get the result we want on Sunday."
Re-living all of the best plays of last week's game â plus highlights in the community.
Pettine called Manning "the equivalent of having an offensive coordinator who can play against you," and downplayed the veteran's early-season struggles. Through five games, Manning has 1,234 yards, six touchdowns and seven interceptions as the Broncos offense has displayed a new look under first-year coach Gary Kubiak. In his last two games, Manning has one touchdown and four interceptions.
"Anytime you install a new offense, right in the beginning, there are going to be some hiccups, even with someone of his caliber," Pettine said. "You can see it when you look at the amount of gun snaps and when they are throwing the ball that is when I see him, especially the third-down stuff, the two-minute when they have gone no-huddle is when you see the vintage Peyton."
Anytime Manning's struggled, his defense has been there to pick him up. The unit has intercepted seven passes (two pick-6s), made 22 sacks and is in the top-five in most defensive categories.
They'll be up against a Browns offense that has been prolific through the air in its last three games and enters Sunday ranked No. 8 in total offense. That's the best of any of Denver's previous five opponents.
"Anytime you can rush the passer the way they do, you have to be able to establish some type of run. So that will be important to us," Pettine said. "Part of it, too, is to get ahead of the sticks, to not be in those situations."