It's hard to find anyone on the Cleveland Browns' roster who has risen to the challenge more than Travis Benjamin through the first three weeks.
And when it was time to take accountability for a play that didn't go as planned, Benjamin stepped right up and did it in the wake of Sunday's 27-20 loss.
Just a few minutes removed from his career-high fourth touchdown of the season, Benjamin stood at the Browns' 30 yard-line and awaited a punt from Oakland's Marquette King. Down by a touchdown with a little more than 4 minutes to play, Benjamin had an opportunity to secure prime field position for a potential game-tying drive against a reeling Raiders defense.
But for the first time in what has been a highlight-reel season for him, Benjamin dropped the ball. He signaled for a fair catch and gathered the ball, but it popped out just as three Raiders converged to him. Oakland's Neiron Ball recovered it.
"It was one of those things I feel like I let my team down, and that is one thing I don't want to do," Benjamin said. "We have to take advantage of every opportunity. Every time we get the ball, we have to punch it in. The good enough thing was that the defense got us the ball back, and we had another opportunity to score."
The defense forced into a three-and-out, but two minutes and a timeout when Cleveland challenged the spot of the subsequent punt were lost in the process. Instead of taking over near midfield with 4 minutes, the Browns had the ball at their own 2-yard line with 2:26 to score. Cleveland drove down to Oakland's 35-yard line with 43 seconds to play, but quarterback Josh McCown was intercepted by veteran safety Charles Woodson on a throw intended for Benjamin, who was sprinting down the right sidelines.
"It took some momentum away," Browns coach Mike Pettine said.
And no one took it to heart more than Benjamin, who snapped his streak of games with touchdowns from 50 yards but still found a way into the end zone for the fifth time this season. His 4-yard touchdown catch with 6:28 to play required him to drag a tackler as he stretched across the line.
Benjamin finished with four receptions for 45 yards on a season-high 10 targets. He continues to lead the Browns with 10 receptions for 249 yards and four receiving touchdowns and is fourth in the NFL in punt return average (17.3).
"Everybody did one or two things that they wish they'd have back," quarterback Josh McCown said. "I know Trav hates that that happened."