In Weeks 1, 4, 5, 6, and 7, Cleveland won the coin toss, deferred, and surrendered a touchdown within the first five minutes of the game. In Weeks 2 and 3, the Browns lost the game based on their play in the final five minutes.
This team has shown massive amounts of improvement in certain areas, including their pass offense led by Cody Kessler. Typically however, flashes of brilliance are witnessed at random points in the middle of the game, but the offense has fizzled by the end. Or, a combination of poor clock management and insufficient execution down the stretch along with unfortunate circumstances costs the Browns a chance to win.
The pain this fan base would feel if the Browns lost yet another game against their bitter rival in this fashion would be hard to put into words. On the other hand, the jubilation and relief of their first win in primetime against the Ravens would be extraordinary. The wide difference between these two outcomes may come down to the first minutes, and the final minutes.
It isn’t a key which can be explained with a true football strategy, but winning the first five and last five minutes of the game is necessary. Disciplined, mistake-free football with impeccable clock management during these key moments would go a long way for a Cleveland team so desperately seeking to close out a single football game.