CLEVELAND —The Browns defense gave the team a chance in Sunday's loss to the Jaguars.
On a blustery and snowy afternoon, the young but promising group turned in another impressive performance that kept Cleveland in a game that was ultimately decided in the final minutes.
"That's what they do. Our defense is tough," coach Hue Jackson said in his postgame news conference. "They play, but this is a team sport. That's what I expect from our defense. I expect more from our offense. I expect more from our special teams. That's what it is."
While those units struggled, the Browns' defense allowed 13 points (a touchdown and two field goals), 284 total yards and delivered big plays in several key moments down the stretch. Sunday also marked the fourth time Cleveland has surrendered less than 300 yards this season
Still, members of the Browns' defense lamented a display where they say they could've done more. In addition to giving up 111 yards to rookie running back Leonard Fournette (who became the first player to eclipse the 100-yard mark against them this season), they spoke of a lack of takeaways and other tide-changing moments. They pointed no fingers.
"There have been times that the offense was playing well and we didn't hold up our end. Today, we just didn't play well in all three phases to be able to get a win. On defense, we were able to stop them, but I don't think we had any turnovers today," defensive back Jason McCourty said. "We created a short field for the offense. We didn't score on defense. We knew they had a really good defense and we had to play up to the point to the standing that they had. We just didn't do a good enough job as a team."
"They had more points than we did. Their defense had turnovers," defensive back Jamar Taylor added. "We need to do a better job getting turnovers for our offense."
To be certain, the unit remains a bright spot in a winless season. But Jackson made clear it'll take a comprehensive effort to lift the Browns to their first victory.
"That's pro football. That is the way it works," Jackson said. "Sometimes this unit is not playing well, and this unit has to continue to keep playing good. That is just the way it works."