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Browns' only recourse is to bounce back after another late-game disappointment

Mike Pettine saw the look in his players' eyes as he addressed them after the latest dip on what has been a roller coaster of emotions for the Browns over the past three weeks.

For the third consecutive week, Cleveland's game down to a game-winning field goal. For the second time during that stretch, the Browns watched the other team celebrate after the ball split through the uprights.

"To be on the brink of a heck of win and to not be able to finish it, it is a tough deal," Pettine said after the Browns' 26-23 overtime loss to the Broncos. "Looking at players' faces, you just see the disappointment. We said all week that playing a team like that, they minimize your margin for error. We just made too many mistakes to come away with a win."

Every game is unique and every play within it is its own entity. Perhaps no one is better at channeling that mindset than an NFL quarterback who must be able to bounce back and play at a high level no matter what happened five seconds earlier. It's a requirement for the job.

Still, the similarities of how Sunday's loss played out to what happened two weeks earlier in San Diego, when the Chargers broke a tie with a game-ending field goal, were too strong for Josh McCown to ignore.

The Browns quarterback wants that feeling of disappointment to have the same effect it did the last time it lingered throughout a game week, as Cleveland followed the loss to San Diego with a dramatic, overtime victory at Baltimore.

"We have to bounce back and respond," McCown said. "We felt this same way walking into the locker room out in San Diego. We felt like we had missed opportunity and we responded, and we have to do the same thing."

In his eight seasons with the Packers, Tramon Williams was on the winning end of games like Sunday's far more than what Cleveland experienced against the Broncos. The veteran cornerback tasted a potential season-changing victory, but it wasn't to be.

"It's just getting over that hump," Williams said. "I felt like we were there and we were about to get there. We played another really good team with experience winning. Those guys know how to win and that's where we're trying to get."

The Browns experienced a similar stretch of games to start last season, when it went 1-2 on three consecutive games that came down to the final play. Both of the losses were against AFC North rivals.

The Browns are 2-4 after this latest three-game stretch. It's admittedly not where the team wanted to be through six games, but there's no looking back now. Bouncing back the way it did against Baltimore next week in St. Louis is the quickest path back to the top of the roller coaster.

"We wish we were sitting at 3-3 and we had our chances," left tackle Joe Thomas said. "It is disappointing that we're not sitting at 3-3. Certainly, 2-4 is not out of it, though. We're going to get back to work on Monday and try to win the next game."

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