Ugly sight: Browns' lopsided loss an 'eye opener' for team
BEREA, Ohio (AP) — The Browns have endured all types of losses over the past few seasons. They've been painful, lopsided, comical, heartbreaking, head-scratching and last-second.
Jarvis Landry described Sunday's defeat differently.
"An eye-opener," the receiver said.
After being so competitive through their first five games, Cleveland was simply overmatched by the Los Angeles Chargers, who rushed for 246 yards, contained and confused rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield and wrecked a picture-perfect day near Lake Erie for Browns fans hoping to see their team win two straight home games for the first time in four years.
Instead, they watched the Browns (2-3-1) get pounded.
"They got after us," said Landry, adding he left FirstEnergy Stadium without speaking to reporters following the game because he was frustrated. "Truthfully, it really wasn't nothing to be said. I think it was evident. They came in, and they were the better team."
Better by far.
The Chargers took it to the Browns, who were coming off an emotional overtime win against Baltimore, a victory that altered the national narrative about Cleveland's season. But just when the Browns turned trendy, they got knocked back.
"I hate to say that we needed it, but it's something that we needed to happen to us," said Landry, who then backtracked, saying he meant the Browns got tested and failed.
"I didn't really mean like we NEEDED it," he said with emphasis. "Obviously, I want to win, that's what I really meant."
What the Browns do need is help, especially to replenish a wide receivers group that has been drained by departures and injuries.
On Sunday, veteran receiver Rod Streater suffered a neck fracture while covering a punt in the first quarter and is done for the season. Streater was set to play more while Rashard Higgins (knee) and Derrick Willies (collarbone) recover from injuries. Willies underwent surgery on Monday to fix his broken collarbone and isn't expected back until late in the season.
In the meantime, the Browns are severely lacking in experience with Landry playing alongside rookies Antonio Callaway and Damion Ratley, both of whom failed to make TD catches on well-thrown balls by Mayfield on Sunday.
The Browns signed free agent Breshad Perriman, a former first-round pick with Baltimore, on Saturday and the team will try to get him up to speed in time for this week's game at Tampa Bay.
Coach Hue Jackson said general manager John Dorsey will continue to look outside the team for help, but that it may have to come from within.
"We are not going to make excuses," he said. "We have to coach well. We have to put them into the best situations.
"We have to help everybody on this team offensively, defensively and on special teams to be as good as we can because nobody else cares about what is going on in Cleveland as far as what players are playing, our injuries or anything like that.
"It does not matter. We will find a way."
One way would be to get Mayfield and Landry in sync.
Landry, who has caught more passes in his first five seasons than any player in NFL history, had just two for 11 yards against the Chargers. Mayfield targeted Landry nine times, but the pair is still learning to play together — and the Browns don't have the luxury of time.
Landry admitted being frustrated by his lack of production, but said Cleveland's receivers need to do more for Mayfield.
"We have to do a better job of helping him out in situations and making one-on-one contested catches," he said.
"Or when he gets out of the pocket and he's throwing on the run, we have to find ways to get ourselves free from DBs and the coverage to be able to make plays."
Cleveland's receiving group looks different than earlier this season, weakened by Josh Gordon's trade to New England. Landry has been double-teamed as defenses focus on stopping him.
It's time for the Browns' youngsters to grow up.
"We trust these guys," Landry said of Callaway and Ratley, who had six catches for 82 yards. "We count on them each week to make plays for us and we give them opportunities in clutch moments, and it's really not about young guys any more. That part is over and everybody has to play at a veteran level if we want to go to where we're headed to."
NOTES: Pro Bowl LB Joe Schobert could miss several games with a hamstring injury suffered Sunday. Jackson said Christian Kirksey could move from outside into Schobert's inside spot. ... Jackson said Mayfield is fine after tweaking an ankle when he slipped on the sideline. ... C JC Tretter could miss some practice time after hurting his left ankle on Sunday. ... Jackson said rookie RB Nick Chubb needs more carries. He gained 25 yards on three attempts Sunday. "We need to get more. There is nothing else to say," Jackson said.
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