The Browns are back in Northeast Ohio after their cross-country trip that didn’t produce a win, but did provide the team with some learning experiences.
Those experiences are what they’ll take with them as they begin a short week of preparation before hosting the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
Cleveland is still recovering from the 31-3 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, yes, but head coach Freddie Kitchens emphasized Tuesday afternoon that it isn’t about the final score of one game as it is about building consistency in the team’s play. Monday night surely wasn’t a positive example of that.
“Obviously, last night was not what we were looking for. We’ll learn from this. We didn’t do enough things to have success. We didn’t coach well enough, we didn’t play well enough, we didn’t execute. We don’t want to be an up-and-down, rollercoaster football team if we want to get to where we want to get to.
“We just need to find consistency in how we prepare, how we approach the games, how we approach the play. Your hat’s got to go off to the 49ers. They executed better than we executed. They coached better than we coached. They did everything last night better than we did.”
Kitchens’ key points of focus in the first 24 hours after the loss centered on two important areas for any football team: stopping the run and protecting the passer. Starting with an 83-yard touchdown run by Matt Breida, the Browns surrendered 275 total yards on the ground. Breida and Tevin Coleman combined for 211 of those yards on just 27 carries. Each found the end zone.
Meanwhile, the Browns gave up four sacks for a loss of 42 yards and a total of eight quarterback hits.
“When you have those things, it’s a recipe for disaster,” Kitchens said. “So we’ve got to play better, we’ve got to coach better. Each individual has to take accountability. Each individual has to look themselves in the mirror and make sure that we collectively are doing what we’re supposed to be doing to improve the chances of getting the results that we want to achieve.”
The positive gained from the lopsided loss is the recognition that the Browns were in position to make it a close game just before half before a self-inflicted mistake — an interception that came as a result of a pass that bounced off Antonio Callaway’s hands at the goal line — resulted in a 14-point swing that sent Cleveland to the locker room trailing 21-3.
The next step is to correct the mistakes made in the loss and build on the improvements made.
“When you go on the road in an environment like that, you have to withstand the fury of their initial emotion of being at home and all those kind of things,” Kitchens said. “We withstood that and put ourselves in position to cut the lead to 14-10 before the half, and that’s a 14-point turnaround because then they take the ball and go down and score and we’re down 21-3 at the half.
“So that was a big sequence right there. But we have to recognize that, fix that problem and everybody — I have to call better plays, they have to make better choices and have to play better and that’s how you fix the problem. It’s not that hard. It’s just we coach better, they play better and we have different results.”
The efforts toward achieving a better result begin Tuesday. A meeting with the Seahawks awaits the Browns in just five days.
Check out the best photos from the Cleveland Browns game against the San Francisco 49ers yesterday by team photographer Matt Starkey