CLEVELAND — One player wasn't going to fix the Browns' struggles this season. Head coach Hue Jackson made that clear after a 35-10 loss to the Cowboys and a week that saw Cleveland trade for one of the league's top players.
On a day where former Patriots and Pro Bowl linebacker Jamie Collins Sr. made his Cleveland debut, the Browns were overpowered by a Dallas team that flexed its muscles on both sides of the ball.
"He made a little bit of an impact," Jackson said, referencing Collins' eight tackles and tackle for loss, "but one guy does not win a game for you. I think we all understand that.
"I think that is just a piece of the puzzle for us as we continue to move forward, but one guy, he was not going to do it all by himself."
Indeed, the Browns find themselves still in pursuit of their first win this season. On this day, they briefly rallied before halftime but were ultimately outmatched in the second half by the rookie duo of quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott, who accounted for 339 of Dallas' 423 yards.
"We just keep working at it. There's not going to be anything else. There are no other players that are going to walk in here. The first place I am going to look to is us as coaches and as leaders," said Jackson, who was adamant the loss and a frustrating 0-9 start begins and ends with him.
"Then we have to continue to keep getting our players better, make sure we put them in the best situations that we can, and hopefully, we can make some of those plays down the stretch."
On a day they welcomed back rookie quarterback Cody Kessler and wide receiver Corey Coleman, the Browns finished with 222 yards of total offense — including 28 yards in the second half — in an uneven display.
"We got a little momentum going and then had a penalty, something that would just push us back a little bit. It was unfortunate because they were putting drives together and capitalizing," said Kessler, who made his sixth start after missing last week with a concussion.
"That was on us offensively to continue to do that in the second half. It just didn't go our way. We have to keep going back to complete games and finishing games. We give ourselves a chance there at the half, cut it close, and then came out in the second half and unfortunately, couldn't capitalize and keep the momentum going on our side."
To be sure, Kessler, Coleman and others flashed signs of hope on Sunday, but Cleveland couldn't mount a consistent enough effort to match the rolling 7-1 Cowboys.
"My hat's off to the Cowboys. They played good. We did not play good enough," Jackson said.
"It starts with me. We have to coach better to get them to play better and put them in better situations. That is just what it is. It is unfortunate. There are some things that I know we can do better and we will do better, but there are things that keep rearing its ugly head. We just have to get it right, and I get it and we will keep fighting."
With a night game at Baltimore set for Thursday, Jackson said the Browns don't need extra motivation for a game against a divisional rival.
"We'll bounce back. One thing about this group, and I think you guys still see it, they are not giving up," he said.
"I want you guys to know that they are fighting and they are playing their tails off as hard as they can. We just are not doing it as well as I think we can. It is not effort related at all. Our guys will come in here tomorrow, we will move on from this."
Kessler added: "You want to win every game. When that doesn't happen, you have to look yourself in the mirror and say, 'OK, let's go.' You have got to take it in. It's supposed to hurt. It's going to hurt because if it doesn't then you don't care.
"It's going to hurt, but you have to move on," he continued. "You have to keep going. These guys in this locker room are great – great character, great athletes, great guys that prepare as hard as they can every week. Obviously, we have come up short, but that's not going to stop us. We are going to come ready to go."
The Browns play the Dallas Cowboys in Week 9.