Browns: 3 takeaways from yet another ugly loss

(Photo by Jason Miller /Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller /Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Browns continue to make it hard to notice any progress after falling to 0-4 on the season. Here are three takeaways from another rough day.

In Dante’s Divine Comedy, there is a sign hanging at the gates of hell that reads “Abandon hope all ye who enter here.”

That sign could be affixed to FirstEnergy Stadium, the team headquarters in Berea, and handed to anyone – from the front office to the coaching staff, players and fans – associated with the Cleveland Browns.

It is hard to reach any other conclusion after another dispiriting loss by the Browns, this time by a score of 31-7 to the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Browns have now lost six consecutive games to the Bengals and have been outscored 183-47 in the process.

The defeat dropped the Browns to 0-4 on the season and it is hard to make a case that the club is not the worst in the NFL.

Here are three takeaways from the latest beatdown at the hands of the Bengals.

Cleveland Browns

The defense missing impact plays

The Browns were able to get to Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton for three sacks, but otherwise Dalton did pretty much anything he wanted.

Dalton finished the first half 17-of-18 for 215 yards and three touchdown passes on his way to a tidy 25-of-30 for 286 yards and four touchdown passes.

The Browns were without starting defensive tackle Danny Shelton, starting linebacker Jamie Collins and defensive end Myles Garrett, but that is no excuse to let Dalton roadhouse you on the afternoon.

The full Kenny Britt experience

It has been quite a start to his Browns career for wide receiver Kenny Britt through the season’s first four games.

Labeled the next Dwayne Bowe before he even set foot on the practice field, Britt has done little to  silence the critics.

His year was encapsulated during one drive in the second quarter.

On a first-and-10 play from Cleveland’s 36-yard line, Britt beat his man and drew a pass interference penalty. Three plays later, on third-and-13, Britt hauled in a pass from quarterback DeShone Kizer for 26 yards, setting the Browns up at Cincinnati’s 31-yard line.

But then, with the Browns facing a third-and-nine from the Bengals 16-yard line, Kizer hit Britt at the seven, but the pass bounced off Britt’s hands and into the loving arms of Cincinnati defensive back Clayton Fejedelem for an interception.

So instead of being set up with a first-and-goal and a chance to tie the game at seven, Britt contributed to another costly turnover. Of course, the Browns defense did not have to allow the Bengals to 13 plays and 88 yards for a touchdown after the turnover, but we’re sure someone is working on a way to blame that on Britt.

At this point it is hard to see how Britt can turn things around and win people back to his side.

The next 12 weeks are going to be long ones for him.

Cleveland Browns
CLEVELAND, OH – OCTOBER 01: Tyler Kroft #81 of the Cincinnati Bengals makes a touch down catch and is taken down by Joe Schobert #53 of the Cleveland Browns in the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller /Getty Images) /

Nothing the Browns do seems to be working

The Browns started the regular season in rough fashion as their first offensive drive ended with a blocked punt that the Pittsburgh Steelers recovered for a touchdown.

Everything has pretty much gone downhill from there.

The defense is young and runs about a lot, but has not been able to make a game-changing play.

The offense is a complete mess and head coach Hue Jackson continues to throw the ball far too much. Whether it is by choice or circumstance, Kizer has thrown the ball more than 30 times in every game this season, which is no one’s idea of a recipe for success.

Add it all up, and it is not surprising that the Browns have yet to hold a lead this season and have been outscored 84-28 in first half – a -56 point differential that is the worst in the NFL.

Just once, even if it is for only one series, we would love to see Jackson have the offense line up and challenge the offensive line to win the battle and simply run the ball. No weird formations, not misdirection, just straight up, beat down the other guy, running the ball.

The loss drops the Browns to 1-19 under Jackson, who arrived in town to an orchestrated standing ovation at team headquarters but leaves the field every week to a chorus of boos.

It is not a surprise that the Browns are struggling, they are starting a rookie quarterback and have more first- and second-year players on the roster than seems possible. The plan to go young and let the team grow together is a sound one, albeit one that is guaranteed to have bumps along the way.

Next: Browns lose to Bengals, fall to 0-4 on the season

It’s just that day’s like today make it feel as if the Browns are further away from a better day than they have ever been.