The Cleveland Browns’ 2012 season is quickly becoming one of almosts. With their 23-16 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night, the Browns dropped to 0-4, but almost pulled out a game-tying drive. Either way, a loss is a loss, but those four losses in 2012 have been for a combined 25 points. In other words, the Browns are usually one or two plays away from a victory.
That was certainly the case on Thursday, where two plays essentially sealed the win for the Ravens. The first was quarterback Brandon Weeden’s pick-six late in the third quarter to give Baltimore a 23-10 lead. The second came after the Browns managed to stay in the game anyway, driving in the fourth quarter down 23-13.
Weeden threw a perfect ball to wide receiver Greg Little in the end zone, a 34-yard pass with 4:38 left in the game that would have likely put the score at 23-20. As has been the case with Little in his career (and he’s done this better – well, worse – than anyone else in the league), he dropped the ball. This is the blotch on what was an otherwise good game by Little, who finished with four catches for 77 yards.
Of course, the rest of the Browns’ wide receivers dropped plenty of other passes throughout the game, doing nothing to help Weeden’s stat line (he finished 25 of 52 for 320 yards and one interception). It is obvious that the dropping epidemic has found its way into this season, and with the Browns playing such close games, those are the mistakes that will almost always lead to a loss.
As for the Browns’ defense, it certainly continues to miss cornerback Joe Haden, but it managed to avoid complete disaster against the Ravens. Cornerback Dimitri Patterson was abused up and down the field all night, though, helping Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco continue his stellar season. Flacco would complete 28 of 46 passes for 356 yards for one touchdown and one interception.
There is no way around it – this is yet another loss for the Browns. They have now lost ten straight games, dating back to last season. Their next game is against the New York Giants, still without Joe Haden. Still though, this doesn’t have the feel of a hopeless 0-4 team.
It’s hard to consider that now, because a record like the Browns’ is hard for some people to look past. But the Browns continue to improve and stay in games with good teams; they just haven’t put it all together for a win. With the youngest roster in the NFL, that is mostly understandable.
But all the “progress” in the world won’t matter until the Browns actually win a game. For now, they are 0-4, and in the midst of another disappointing season.