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One of Browns D's best performances goes unrewarded vs. clock-draining Steelers

The numbers were some of the best produced by Cleveland's defense all season, but one of the most troublesome figures reared its ugly head again Sunday against the Steelers.

The Browns were on the wrong side of time of possession in a big way during Sunday's first half, and the points Pittsburgh collected, in spite of a strong showing by the Browns inside the red zone, was ultimately all it would need to leave FirstEnergy Stadium with a victory.

The Steelers controlled the clock for more than 20 of the first 30 minutes, running 41 plays to Cleveland's 17. Their first two possessions drained more than 9 minutes off the clock, and they came away with their only offensive touchdown on a two-minute drill that featured back-to-back plays on untimed downs.

The Browns rank 31st in the NFL in average time of possession per game at 26:56. They possessed the ball for 26:02 on Sunday.

"We have to stop them," Browns coach Hue Jackson said. "You have to get some three-and-outs."

Cleveland's defense was better in the second half, as it surrendered just a field goal and forced the Steelers off the field with three-and-outs on the three other series. The 24 points surrendered was a season low for Cleveland, and the defense was responsible for just 17.

The stops just weren't enough on a day in which Cleveland scored fewer than 10 points in its second straight game.

"We have to help our defense and score more points," wide receiver Terrelle Pryor said. "Our defense played great. They kept them out of the end zone for a while, but we have to apply pressure and score points. That is how you win in this league, and that is how you beat the Steelers."

In recent weeks, the Browns have shown the ability to play solid defense during stretches of games but are still searching for a complete effort. Last Thursday at Baltimore, the Browns limited the Ravens to two field goals in the first half only to surrender three touchdowns in the second en route to a 28-7 loss.

The Browns were on their way to another touchdown-less first half Sunday until the Steelers took advantage of back-to-back penalties on what were supposed to be the final plays of the half to finally break through for six.

Up until Sunday, the Browns' issues on defense largely cropped up in the second half. What's remained constant is the desire to play at its highest possible level for a full 60 minutes.

"At some point in time it is going to click where we play for four quarters and give ourselves the best opportunity to win," Jackson said. "I know everyone is doubting us and counting us out and saying we have no chance, but I feel like we have a chance every week if we play football the way I think we are capable of playing."

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