Cleveland Browns: 5 keys to success in 2015

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Oct 5, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Travis Benjamin (11) catches the winning touchdown pass against Tennessee Titans safety Bernard Pollard (31) during the second half at LP Field. The Browns beat the Titans 29-28. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

The Browns had two big comebacks in the first four weeks of the season last year, scoring 24 second-half points in the season opener at Pittsburgh, and 19 second-half points against Tennessee.

The problem was they went into halftime down 27-3 to the Steelers and 28-10 to the Titans.

While posting the largest road comeback victory in NFL history (against Tennessee) was exciting and all, that is not a sustainable model for success at the NFL level.

The Browns outscored their opponents in the first quarter last season by a total of three points (56-53), but still scored three points or less 10 times in 16 games. Those slow starts hurt them when the fourth quarter rolled around, as they were outscored 112-76 in the final quarter, and nine times only put up a field goal or less.

Opening up with a stronger effort in the first quarter would help take some of the pressure off later in the game, but both the offense and the defense need to find a way close things out in the fourth quarter this year.

A little better effort in the game’s final 15 minutes could have been the difference in losses to Baltimore, Indianapolis and Carolina, turning that 7-9 record into a 10-6 playoff appearance.

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