All losses may count the same in the standings, but according to the Browns, they don’t all feel the same in the locker room. On Sunday the Browns fell to the L.A. Chargers, 38-14. The loss impacted the team differently than past failures this season.
“It felt worse. It felt worse because I think that we were ready to make the next jump. I think the football team expected that. We expected that,” Hue Jackson explained.
“Every loss hurts, but I think this definitely was like one of those eye-openers for us. At the same time, every game has really been close that we have played in until this one,” Jarvis Landry added. “I hate to say we needed it, but something that needed to happen to us.”
What they needed was to play better on both sides of the ball. On offense rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield struggled to connect with his receivers completing 22 of 46 passes for 238 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Dropped balls, missed opportunities and more injuries for an already banged-up group summarizes the storylines for the Browns’ wide receivers.
“We have played with some young receivers here since I have been here. Sometimes, those are the things that happen. You do not want them to happen. You have to work through those things with them,” Jackson explained.
But it was not just the rookies. Five-year NFL veteran receiver and supposed playmaker, Jarvis Landry, had only two catches on nine targets.
“We are still growing,” Landry said in regards to his on-the-field chemistry with Baker. “We did not really get a lot of reps or a lot of opportunities together, so we have to take advantage of practice reps, we have to take advantage of the film that we watch and getting on the same page with each other. I think that that is the biggest thing.”
The Chargers also tested the Browns defense, who before their game against the Chargers have looked solid. But on Sunday the Browns could not stop the run, as the Chargers picked up 246 yards on the ground.
“We started setting the edge a little bit better, but from early in the game to the middle of the game to the third quarter, we did not play the run very well,” Jackson admitted.
Coming off a win against Baltimore in week five, the Browns lost not only their game on Sunday but their momentum. The Chargers exposed their weaknesses and showed them they still have a long way to go to become the team they envision.
“We will clean those things up as fast as we can, and we will start moving forward. I am disappointed about yesterday, but I am not discouraged by any stretch,” Jackson said.
Since all losses count the same, a loss where unexpected poor play is to blame is often a greater threat to a team’s mind than it is to their record. Because if a lousy game kills a team’s confidence, one loss can quickly turn into many more.