Beat-up Browns looking for answers after 'MNF' loss

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  • By Jelani Scott NFL.com
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There are few things in life as true as Freddie Kitchens' opening statement following Monday night's horrendous 31-3 loss to the San Francisco 49ers (4-0).

"Definitely wasn't the result we wanted," the Cleveland Browns coach bluntly told reporters. "You got to give all the credit in the world to San Francisco; they beat us in every facet of the game."

Much will be made about the defensive facet of the loss, and rightfully so considering that the defense had limited teams to 16 points per game over the past three weeks.

But, as is often the case with the Browns (2-3), everybody will be talking about the offense, most notably quarterback Baker Mayfield, who had his worst game of the season.

After yet another inconsistent week, a dejected Mayfield took to the podium to voice his thoughts on the most glaring issue of the night.

"Any time you stop yourself, which seems to be our biggest problem right now, when you do that against a team that's of that caliber, you're not going to have a lot of success," Mayfield said.

Facing a relentless Niners' pass rush, spearheaded by rookie Nick Bosa (two sacks, five QB hits), Mayfield managed just eight completions on 22 attempts for 100 yards. He also added a lost fumble (on a Bosa strip-sack) and two interceptions, all in the first half.

His first pick came on the second drive of the game on a poorly thrown deep ball intended for wideout Antonio Callaway, who made his return from a four-game suspension; the second came toward the end of the half with the Browns in scoring position on the SF 6.

Of the Browns' two red-zone trips, both came up empty; when the chaos concluded, the Browns only had a 30-yard Austin Seibert field goal to show for their efforts, a far cry from the 40-point outburst they had against the Ravens a week ago.

"You can't have mistakes, turnovers, drops, penalties; offensively, that kind of summed us up. We just shot ourselves in the foot too many times," Kitchens said. "It's very clear that we've got to do a better job mentally, a better job coaching these guys. We've got to continue to work every day like its the first day."

The answers behind exactly what Cleveland has to do is anyone's guess, but it's up to Kitchens and Mayfield to at least figure things out offensively. If anything can be taken from what both men said in an attempt to find a silver lining, "doing better" is the loudest -- and perhaps simplest -- message.

"I'm not hitting the panic button," Mayfield said. "I think for us, we know the problem. We know we have to be better. We just have to do better."

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