Reporting Daryl Ruiter
BEREA (92.3 The Fan) - It’s becoming a familiar yet frustrating theme this season for the Cleveland Browns.
Coach Pat Shurmur is trying to teach his young team how to do it but despite their best efforts, which is unquestioned, it hasn’t happened in 8 losses this season.
They’ve lost 2 games by 10, 1 by 14 in which they led by 14, and the remaining 5 have been decided by a touchdown or less.
“Every game is a different story,” Shurmur said. “We get ahead in this one, we get behind, then we get ahead. So we just have to do it.
“We talk about finishing all the time. We talk about starting fast, we talk about fighting throughout, we talk about finishing. We do it all the time.”
To Shurmur’s credit the wheels have not come off – yet.
“I think we’ve got a locker room full of tough guys that are just going to keep pushing,” Shurmur said. “they just keep working and I encourage them to keep doing that.”
Players have bounced back every week from losses like Sunday’s 23-20 overtime defeat courtesy of the Cowboys and he expects that to continue.
At some point it’s got to get old but Shurmur doesn’t see it that way.
“It’s not tough to bounce back from another tough loss,” Shurmur said. “These guys love playing football, they believe in what they’re doing and I see them getting ready to play Pittsburgh.”
The close calls, which have seen blown leads of 2 possessions including Sunday where they led 13-0 at halftime, have just about everybody thinking that the Browns just don’t know how to win.
“I don’t agree with that,” Shurmur said. “We just gotta find a way to finish. We have a whole locker room full of winners. This whole organization is full of winners. We just got to put it all together and do it.”
It’s not just this season in which the Browns have struggled to finish off opponents.
According to STATS LLC, the Browns are 7-18 since 2010 in games decided by 7 or fewer points. The 18 losses by the Browns are the most in the NFL over that time. The Dallas Cowboys are 2nd with 16 losses.
Shurmur feels that learning to finish and win games is part of the process of building a team.
“Most everybody that comes to the NFL comes to this league having not lost many games,” Shurmur said. “Unfortunately dealing with adversity and developing mental toughness is part of this thing as you’re building and we know there’s going to be some tough days.
“That’s unfortunate but that’s where it’s at and that’s why you just stay with a nice tight focus on the next game.”
The loss to Dallas dropped the Browns to 2-8 overall and put them on the fast track to their 9th 10 loss season in 10 years.