Hue Jackson: Cleveland Browns must learn to finish

CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Browns had a 20-point lead after just three possessions against the Baltimore Ravens, but the road to victory hit a roadblock.

A pair of missed kicks combined with untimely unsportsmanlike conduct penalties kept the Browns (0-2) scoreless over the final 49 minutes of play, and that led to a 25-20 loss to the Ravens (2-0) in the home opener at FirstEnergy Stadium Sunday.

“That is the National Football League when you don’t finish the game,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “We are not going to complain or anything about the calls or anything like that. I just think we have to play better.

“We started off like a house of fire the first half, and then, we weren’t able to maintain it and finish it that way. That is what happens in the National Football League. You have to keep scoring. We didn’t do that in the second half. They scored, and they scored more points than we did.”

Early in the fourth quarter, the Browns had driven down to the Ravens’ 19-yard line after a two-yard run from Isaiah Crowell. However, rookie wide receiver Corey Coleman got tangled up with Ravens defensive back Jimmy Smith and drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that cost them 15 yards.

Two plays later, the Browns missed a 52-yard field goal.

“Can’t do it,” Jackson said. “They are always going to see the second penalty. That is a moment for him to grow and learn. These games are tough. People are going to say things to you. People are going to push you and all that, but you can’t retaliate.

“If you do, you are taking a chance of them seeing you do it as opposed to the other guy. That is what happened. It is something we have to learn from. It is something we can’t do.”

Following the loss, Jackson bore the responsibility for the Browns’ collapse against the Ravens, and vowed that both he and the team would learn from the struggle.

“This is a young football team that showed fight and grit a little bit,” Jackson said. We just have to learn how to finish. That is my job and that is this staff’s job. We make no excuses. We are an 0-2 football team right now. We have a lot of work to do to continue to get better, but I saw us get better from Week 1 to Week 2, and hopefully, we can continue to do so.

“You go back to work. We have a game next week. Can’t hang our head in the sand. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us. I don’t know what that means. We have to go to work, and that is all it is. That is two games.

“There are 14 more of these. Who knows what is going to happen the rest of the season, but I think if our players will keep getting better and keep growing -- we keep talking about this young team -- and learn from the things that are happening to us, I think we will be where we need to be as we get going. That is what is important for our team.”


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