By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor
Here are some final thoughts on the Browns’ 25-15 loss against the Ravens at Cleveland Browns Stadium:
>>This much we know about the Browns: They’re good enough to give the Ravens all they can handle. This much we also know about the Browns: They’re not good enough to make mistakes and have any chance to win a winnable game. Too many penalties, too many missed plays. As much as the Ravens have struggled, they’re still the Ravens. They still have the overall edge in talent and experience.
>>The Browns have a lot of reflecting to do during the bye. They can look at this and other games that were close but where they fell short. It should serve as a source of motivation to keep plugging through the balance of the season. It is obviously frustrating, but it can’t become a reason for players to disconnect with the notion that they need to continue to play hard. As Phil Dawson told me after the game, the players are still being paid and need to respond professionally.
>>Speaking of Dawson, his money kicking remains something that can never be taken for granted. He gave the Browns a chance to win this game, but only if the offense was able to do something other than get in field-goal range.
>>The Browns’ defense continues to carry this team. After a slow start, it came together to eventually slow down the Ravens’ running game and keep quarterback Joe Flacco off-balance. With defensive tackle Phil Taylor playing his first game of the season since suffering a torn pectoral in the offseason, the defensive line was stout against the run through long stretches and did a good job of generating pressure. But ultimately it wasn’t good enough.
>>Defensive end Jabaal Sheard played exceptionally well in the second half. He consistently got pressure on Flacco and benefitted from Taylor’s ability to collapse the pocket at times.
>>Back-to-back false starts that set up a first-and-20 from the Browns’ 36 late in the third quarter. An illegal-formation penalty that wiped out a Brandon Weeden touchdown pass to Josh Gordon. These are the types of things that the Browns simply cannot do. And at this stage of the season, blunders by a team, no matter how young, become less and less tolerable.
>>I spoke with one of the Ravens’ assistant coaches after the game. “You’ve got something there with that team,” he told me. “They’re very young now, but they’re going to be good, believe me.”
>>The Browns’ kick coverage was pretty solid all day. And that’s saying something against an extremely dangerous returner such as Jacoby Jones.
>>Carucci’s Corner is presented by Panera Bread.
>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford” on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com.
>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at Twitter.com/viccarucci or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 855-363-2459.
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