For the second time this season, Cleveland's rushing attack was led by a quarterback and for a second time this season, the Browns finished with just 39 yards on the ground.
Even though the Browns have skewed more toward the pass in their first eight games, that's not anywhere close to what the team wants to net, and Browns coach Mike Pettine cited the run game's struggles as one of the main reasons why Cleveland saw its 13-point lead turn into a 14-point deficit by the end of Sunday's second half against the Cardinals.
"I think our lack of ability to run the football caught up to us where we just got to the point where we were too predictable throwing it," Pettine said. "I think they sensed we were in a throw-it-only mode. They were winning up front and could afford to commit more guys to coverage. I thought that got us behind the sticks early in the second half."
The Browns rushed for 28 yards on their three scoring drives, one of which started at Arizona's 9-yard line. They had just 11 on the other nine possessions.
Cleveland attempted six runs in the second half, three of which were quarterback scrambles.
"It starts with the run game," running back Robert Turbin said. "We didn't do a very good job with that today and I take full responsibility."
Turbin finished with three carries for 3 yards, all of which coming on a direct snap near the goal line before Cleveland's third and final touchdown. It was the second of three plays in which the ball was directly snapped to the running back while quarterback Josh McCown lined up as a wide receiver. Isaiah Crowell took the other two, gaining 8 on the first and none on his second.
"It was kind of difficult to get things going," said Crowell, who led the Browns running backs with 10 carries for 14 yards. "We just have to keep pushing and moving forward."
The Browns have run for more than 100 yards four times this season. They won once and lost on the final possession in two others.
Only one team has had fewer rushing plays attempted against them than undefeated Cincinnati, which is surrendering 5 yards per carry but ranks 15th in the league in rush defense. Turbin already had his eyes on Thursday's primetime showdown as he walked out of the locker room Sunday, and he expects the same kind of mindset from those who have a hand in bouncing back from Sunday's frustrating performance.
"How do you bounce back on a short week? You get up in the morning and you get ready to go to work tomorrow. That's how you bounce back," Turbin said. "You learn from your mistakes today. You keep your head up and you keep marching forward. You keep chopping away at the wood. I can not wait to get back on the field tomorrow and I can not wait to get back on the field Thursday night. It's going to be one heck of a game."