CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Browns may be 0-10 and in the midst of a pair of franchise streaks for losing, but while a chance at the AFC North Division Championship or postseason berth have long since passed, there is optimism among the players.
According to veteran quarterback Josh McCown, the Browns remain focused on winning, despite the myriad of challenges facing the team.
“We were very optimistic and still are,” McCown said following a 28-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens last Thursday night. “What I’m most proud of is our approach hasn’t changed, and I know sitting in your seats, going, ‘Man, why would that group be optimistic?’ But I think there’s a bigger picture to what’s going on here and everybody in that locker room understands it.
“Coach Jackson’s doing a tremendous job of leading us, and we’re going to continue to fight. We will benefit. These guys will benefit from this fight because there’s toughness that’s being grown right now coming to work every week and grinding through this tough time. It’s fair to say we didn’t expect to be here, but it’s also fair to say that we expect to grow from this and get out of it.”
Different venue, same result for the Cleveland Browns against the Baltimore Ravens.
After scoring 25 straight points to claim the first meeting in Cleveland, the Ravens scored 25 unanswered over the final 31 minutes of play and earned a 28-7 win over the Browns in a Thursday Night Football game in the AFC North Division at M&T Bank Stadium.
The Browns fell to a franchise-worst 0-10 to start the season and the Ravens remain atop the AFC North at 5-4.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco completed 30 of his 41 attempts for 296 yards and three touchdowns, all of which came after halftime. Flacco did not remain locked on one target throughout the game, as nine players had at least one reception, led by the six caught by tight end Dennis Pitta and the five each from wide receiver Steve Smith, Sr. and running back Kenneth Dixon.
Running the football, the Browns were doubled up by one player, as former Cleveland rusher Terrance West totaled 65 yards on 21 carries. Conversely, the Browns rushed for just 30 yards on 13 carries as a team.
“It’s tough,” McCown said. “There’s no way around it. When you go through something like this, nobody expects things to go this way and it can get heavy, but the group in there, the way they’re fighting and the way we come to work every day, those are things we can draw on. We’ve just got to maintain that and keep doing that.
“These are certainly adverse circumstances and it’s tough, but if you can find the mental toughness and the wherewithal to continue to come work, especially with such a young group, you have so many opportunities to continue to get better with this group.
“As heavy and as tough as it may feel, we’ve got to keep growing, keep getting better and keep advancing the cause and know that the hope and belief that one day, it will turn for us. Some of the things that will benefit us when it turns is the toughness that we’re gaining, the mental toughness that we’re gaining coming to work and being able to fight through this.”