CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Browns had no answer to the offensive firepower of the Cincinnati Bengals in the first matchup of the season in “The Battle of Ohio” at FirstEnergy Stadium Sunday.
Sunday’s 31-7 loss to the Bengals (1-3) meant that for the second straight year, the Browns started the regular season with an 0-4 record.
“I don’t like to be 0-4,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “Nobody does. I am not going to say I am shocked. Anything can happen in this league. Sometimes, these things happen. We are 0-4. We earned the record. We have a game here at home next week against a good opponent, the New York Jets, and we have to get ready for it.”
Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals face off in 'The Battle of Ohio'
Despite fumbling on the first drive of the game, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton completed 25 of his 30 attempts for 286 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions and spread the ball out to nine different players on the way to engineering a 31-7 victory over the Browns (0-4).
And with every score in the second quarter, fewer and fewer fans remained in their seats as hundreds of orange-and-brown clad supporters headed for the exits as the differential continued to grow.
“It pains me,” Jackson said of the early departures. “I see it all. I saw everything here today because we all want to give them what they deserve. We didn’t today. I understand our fans leaving. I probably would have, too.
“We weren’t playing good enough. I respect that. Hopefully, they will be back next week. We have a big game against New York. I know our guys. We are going to go back to work on Monday, and they are going to get ready to play a big-time game here at home. We need to give our fans and our football team what they deserve, which is an opportunity to win. That is what we are trying to do.”
In addition to the early exits, Jackson was asked about a rift between the coaching staff and front office, which is something that has doomed every one of the previous eight regimes of decision-makers that home come through Berea since the Browns returned to the National Football League in 1999.
“I know nothing about any of that stuff,” Jackson said. “People can say what they are going to say. Let’s be honest, that has been the [reported] flavor of this organization for years. That doesn’t exist in our building at all. I know those things are going to come. You guys are going to ask those questions. I know nothing about that at all.”
Not willing “to comment on” what kind of progress the Browns have made, Jackson wants to see full team improvement in the lead up to this Sunday’s game against the New York Jets at FirstEnergy Stadium.
“We need to get better,” Jackson said. “I just think we have to go in this room and there are some fundamental things that we have to do better across the board. It starts, obviously, with me, down through our coaches and the rest of our players, and that is what we have to do better.”