FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Browns knew that the margin of error going against a perfect team like the New England Patriots was pretty narrow, and before the game was five minutes old, they were in trouble. Big trouble.

Just something out of the blue. The time, Nick Chubb, whose fumble two weeks ago against Seattle was thought to be rare. But he put it on the ground twice early against the Patriots: One of them went back for a Dont'a Hightower touchdown, and the other one wiped out a probable Browns touchdown. A huge swing in the game.

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The Browns looked mishandled and poorly coached, going double digits once again in penalties. They are the most-penalized team by a lopsided margin in the NFL, and the recipe of defeat is the same: they keep killing themselves.

There's no doubt the Patriots are a great team, and if you make mistakes, they'll beat you. But the Browns right now aren't beating anybody the way they're playing. They are beating themselves, and now this team that looked so strong on paper is a wreck at 2-5.

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Now, we look at the schedule, and maybe it is going to lighten up. But I don't know: In Denver? That's no guaranteed victory. And Buffalo coming to town? Well, the Bills have been playing pretty well.

Right now the Browns struggle beating anybody with the way they're playing: Horribly in offense, not able to stay on the field, always behind the chains because of penalties. Defensively they try to hang in there, but cannot come up with turnovers, and it's a bad formula.

The Browns have lost three in a row since that win over the Baltimore Ravens, during which it looked as though they were all they were all straightened out and ready to take off. They are grounded, and on their way to Denver with the season hanging in the balance.