BEREA, Ohio — Browns coach Mike Pettine stepped behind the microphone Monday, then paused for several seconds and sighed.
Without saying a word, he clearly conveyed his emotions one day after Cleveland's 23-21 home loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
"I'm still feeling very disappointed over yesterday," Pettine said. "We didn't take advantage of the opportunities we had to put the game away. We felt like we let the Ravens off the hook.
"Now, 1-2 is 1-2. Last place in the division is last place in the division. There are no asterisks where we are."
The Browns suffered their second last-second loss in three weeks Sunday when Baltimore's Justin Tucker made a 32-yard field goal as time expired.
Cleveland entered the fourth quarter with a 21-17 lead before collapsing in each phase of the game. Billy Cundiff missed a 50-yard field goal and had a 36-yarder blocked, Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden was burned on two pass plays, and the offense only managed one first down in four possessions.
"It's tough to lose games like that because you feel like you beat yourself instead of being beaten," linebacker Paul Kruger said. "A couple of things here, a couple of things there, really simple stuff all over the board cost us. We made mistakes that you cannot make in the NFL, especially late in games."
The Browns were on the verge of entering their bye week with back-to-back wins, having upset New Orleans 26-24 on a Cundiff 29-yard field goal with three seconds left on Sept. 14.
Cleveland's opener in Pittsburgh also came down to the wire as it scored 24 unanswered points to tie the game, only to have Shaun Suisham make a 41-yard field goal at the gun for a 30-27 Steelers victory.
Despite those fantastic finishes, the Browns find themselves in a familiar position, looking up at Cincinnati, Baltimore and Pittsburgh in the AFC North Division.
"We're committed to this, we realize where we're at, we realize how close we are," said quarterback Brian Hoyer, who has thrown for 716 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. "I think we've proven to ourselves that we can play with anyone, but it only matters if you win or lose. Really, we've been hurting ourselves."
Pettine indicated that changes will be made before Cleveland travels to Tennessee on Oct. 5 in hopes of eradicating the self-inflicted wounds.
The Browns were called for two 12-men-on-the-field penalties against both New Orleans and Baltimore, and have been fraught with communications problems on defense. Long snapper Christian Yount also will have his status reviewed after poor snaps led to a flubbed extra point against the Saints and one of Cundiff's failures against the Ravens.
"We talked about a lot of things and aired it out this morning as a staff," Pettine said. "It's our own dirty laundry, but we need to do a better job on the practice field. This is a bottom-line business and we need to clean up a lot of the procedural stuff."
Cleveland also is waiting on like a ruling from the NFL on the trick play it ran against Baltimore, resulting in a 39-yard pass from Hoyer to rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel. An illegal shift by running back Terrance West wiped out the "Dawg Pound Special" call, which saw Manziel pretend to be confused near the Browns sideline before taking off downfield, unguarded.
"It was our understanding, outside of Terrance not being set, that we were OK to run it given where we were on the field," Pettine said of the intentional deception.
NOTES: Pro Bowl WR Josh Gordon, who had his indefinite suspension for a drug test failure reduced to 10 games by the NFL, returned to the Browns training facility Friday. He is eligible to play on Nov. 23 in Atlanta, but cannot practice with the team or attend games in the interim. "Having a chance to get him back, it's a big positive for us," Pettine said. ... RB Ben Tate (sprained right knee) could return for the Titans game after missing the last two weeks, but the coach would not reveal if he will regain his starting spot from West.
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