CLEVELAND -- With a pair of winless teams facing off in “The Battle of Ohio” between the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals, something had to give in their AFC North Division matchup at FirstEnergy Stadium Sunday.
Unfortunately, that something was the Browns’ defense against the Bengals (1-3).
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).
“We got beat pretty soundly in every phase and that is obvious, but like I told our team, that is the first quarter of the season,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “That is not how we want to play or how we are going to continue to play.
“We understand we have some work to do. Nobody is going to drop their head or get mad. The only people that can fix this are the people in that room. We have work to do. We understand it. Give credit to Cincinnati. They played well and we did not. We have to continue to get better. We need to get better faster.”
Much like he was last week, Jackson remained disappointed in the lack of results on Sunday after what he felt was a good set of practices.
In 20 games as coach of the Browns, Jackson is 1-19.
“The disappointing part is that was as bad as we have played all year, caught us at a bad time and we couldn’t come out of it,” Jackson said. “Not going to get discouraged by it. I am disappointed in our performance, but we have to get back and go back to work as fast as we can. We have to put this one behind us, learn from it and move on. That is what you have to do.”
Factoring in the Bengals’ 21 second-quarter points, the Browns have been outscored, 63-21, in the second periods over their first four games of the regular season.
“That is pro football,” Jackson said. “That is the way it works. Things sometimes get heading downhill the other way, and we couldn’t get a stop.
“That is just not who we have been thus far. I understand everything that will be said and everything that will be written, but nobody is blinking in that room. We are going to continue to work. We are going to continue to get better and continue to find a way to get our football team where it needs to be.”
Although disappointed with the losing, Jackson believes the Browns will do what is necessary to get things going in a positive direction against the New York Jets at FirstEnergy Stadium next Sunday.
“We are going to work,” Jackson said. “I am not going to let this team go backwards. We did. There is no question about that. We have some work to do. I think to a man in there, we will go back to work. We will put our heads down and get better.”
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