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JIMMY'S TAKE: Jim Donovan says Cleveland Browns have again learned 'hard lesson' in defeat to Atlanta Falcons

'When you have opportunities, you have to cash in and score. If you have an opportunity to put a team away, you have to be able to do that.'

ATLANTA — Hello from Atlanta and Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and I'm afraid to say it again, but it happened again.

Another one slips out of the hands of the Browns, who now drop to 2-2 after they drop this one on this Sunday afternoon to the Atlanta Falcons by a final score of 23-20.

The hard lesson that again has to be learned by this team is that when you have opportunities, you have to cash in and score. If you have an opportunity to put a team away, you have to be able to do that. And in a tight game, you must make plays that are going to win the game instead of losing the game.

Early in the ballgame, the opening drive, the Browns go right down the field. They get inside the 5-yard line, Nick Chubb takes a negative play on third down and about a yard and a half, gets dropped back to the 4, and instead of kicking a chip-shot field goal and taking a 3-0 lead, the Browns instead elect to go for it.

The play blows up, and they come away with nothing on the scoreboard. Missed opportunity.

RELATED: Depleted defense may have influenced Browns' 4th-down call on opening drive in loss to Falcons

On the next drive, with the Browns again moving the football, David Njoku fumbles the football. Atlanta captures the football, they go in and score and take a 10-0 lead, so the Browns are constantly playing from behind in the first half.

They leveled the game at 10-10 at halftime, and in the second half, Nick Chubb gives them a thrilling 28-yard run run and they take the lead. But again, that problem of giving up big plays haunted them one more time.

Now, I realize defensively they were without Myles Garrett, they were without Taven Bryan, they were without Jadeveon Clowney, and it seems as though the defense all of a sudden got worn out in the second half. Arthur Smith, the head coach of the Falcons, very smartly kept bringing in fresh running backs, and they attacked the Browns not through the air, but on the ground, and went right down the field again to recapture the lead.

The Browns, in a tie game later, though, at 20-20, had another opportunity to mount a drive to give themselves the lead. Remember, they have a great kicker in Cade York, but Jacoby Brissett missed Harrison Bryant on an open play on a third-down pass in Atlanta territory.

The Browns had to punt the ball back to Atlanta, and then, that eerie problem of giving up a huge pass play happened once again.

Imagine: Marcus Mariota only completed seven passes in the game, but on a crazy-play scramble, all of a sudden he found the wide-open receiver Olamide Zaccheaus open down the field. He caught it for 42 yards, Denzel Ward made it even worse by grabbing his face mask for a 15-yard penalty, and Atlanta then kicked the field goal.

On the final drive of the game for the Browns, they're in pretty good shape with about 1:23 left and in Atlanta territory (again, with a good field goal kicker), and then it just blew apart.

A screen pass setup ends up seeing Joel Bitonio ineligibly go down the field. Of course he did, because Brissett kept pumpimg and pumping, and the offensive linemen released.

The screen-pass game for the Browns, which has been really good through the first four games, was just nowhere in this game. Atlanta blew it up along with the five-yard penalty, and all of a sudden, Cleveland kept going back. Brissett is sacked on the next down, and then he throws an interception. Ballgame over.

Statistically, you'll look at the stat sheet and the Browns dominate time of possession, passing yards, but they lose the game by three. It's the old problem again of learning how to win and knowing how to win a game, knowing how to put a team away when it looks like you've got an advantage.

A number of times, it looked like the Browns had an advantage on this Sunday afternoon, but instead, they come home at 2-2, and they head into the gauntlet of their schedule.

Next week, the high-scoring LA Chargers come to town. The Patriots, the Ravens, the Bengals — they're all on their way, too, and the Browns are at .500 when they easily could've 3-1. And you know something? They could've easily been 4-0.

This is a tough one to swallow.

Listen to Jimmy's calls from today's game in the player below:

SOCIAL MEDIA REACTION: Frustrated Browns fans sound off on Sunday's loss to Atlanta Falcons

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