CLEVELAND —** Disappointing. Frustrating. Painful.
A 31-7 loss to the Bengals on Sunday afternoon at FirstEnergy Stadium checked all of those boxes in what was the Browns' most lopsided loss of the season and fourth in as many tries.
"We got beat pretty soundly in every phase and that's obvious," head coach Hue Jackson said, "but like I told our team, that's the first quarter of the season. That's not how we want to play or how we're going to continue to play. We understand we have some work to do. Nobody is going to drop their head or get mad. The only people that can fix this are the people in that room."
The Browns fell behind early in a game where they were undone by missed opportunities and self-inflicted wounds. Cleveland totaled just 215 yards and surrendered points on five-straight possessions — including a 21-0 run in the second quarter — in a game where it struggled on both sides of the ball.
While the young Browns showed promise in their season opener against the Steelers and, at times, in losses to Baltimore and Indianapolis, Jackson agreed Sunday's performance felt like a step backward.
"I can see you saying that about today," he said, "but we're going to work. I'm not going to let this tram go backward. We did today. There's no question about that. We have some work to do. I think to a man in there, we'll go back to work. We will put our heads down and get better."
Jackson stressed that dynamic as the Browns search for their first win, a development neither he nor his players expected a month into the season.
"I don't like to be 0-4. Nobody does," he said. "I am not going to say I'm shocked. Anything can happen in this league. Sometimes these things happen."
Browns players echoed Jackson's sentiment, expressing a mixture of disappointment and resolve.
"I've been in this position plenty of times. Just have to keep going and keep fighting," linebacker Christian Kirksey said.
"Being a captain of the team, being one of the older guys on defense that has been here, in situations like this, you have to stay together and not divide. Defensively, we have a lot of guys in there playing around and playing hard and doing everything that you ask them to do. We just have to come together collectively and play better football."
"We talk a lot about not being the same team as last year and we feel it, but we're not getting the results that we need right now," cornerback Jamar Taylor said, referencing a 1-15 campaign in 2016.
"Dudes just have to come ready with their hard hats and their lunch pails every week. We have to get better. We can't keep talking about it. We just have to put it on tape. You have to say less and just keep working."
Jackson, asked about the winless start, said the Browns have "earned the record" and reiterated "we need to get better faster."
"The disappointing part is that was as bad as we have played all year, caught us at a bad time and we couldn't come out of it," Jackson said, pointing to injured/inactive starters linebacker Jamie Collins, defensive lineman Danny Shelton and first-overall NFL Draft pick Myles Garrett.
"Not going to get discouraged by it. I'm disappointed in our performance, but we have to get back and go back to work as fast as we can. We have to put this one behind us, learn from it and move on. That is what you have to do."