Upon further review: Browns

September, 17, 2012
9/17/12
10:00
AM ET
Revisiting the Cleveland Browns' 34-27 loss at the Cincinnati Bengals:

In the season-opening loss against the Eagles, the Browns defense played well enough to win and the offense flopped. In the Week 2 loss at Cincinnati, Cleveland's offense broke out with rookies Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden while the defense and special teams faltered.

Unlike last season, the Browns have already shown potential on both sides of the ball. The challenge for Cleveland is to put together a complete game.

Even though the Browns dropped to 0-2, there is renewed optimism in the Browns offense, which ranked 29th in the NFL last season. Richardson recorded his first 100-yard rushing game, and Weeden cracked 300 yards passing for the first time. The Browns scored 27 or more points for the first time since Week 2 of last season.

But these impressive performances by these first-round rookies didn't result in a win because the defense gave up three touchdowns through the air and the special teams allowed an 81-yard punt return for a touchdown (there were six players who missed an opportunity to tackle Adam Jones).

"Defensively we let the guys down today," linebacker Scott Fujita said. "It was nice to see T-Rich get a little swagger and see his big-play ability and breaking tackle. But we gave up 34 and that's not acceptable."

STAT THAT STICKS: 8 -- Total points that the Browns have lost by in their first two games. Last season, Cleveland's average margin of defeat was 8.7 points.

OVERHEARD: “If you ask any team in the NFL if they go into a game without their two starting cornerbacks, it’s gonna be pretty difficult. The two guys, they start for a reason. It’s because they’re the best cornerbacks on the team.” Strong safety T.J. Ward after the Browns allowed three passing touchdowns without Joe Haden (suspended) and Sheldon Brown (neck stinger).

WHAT'S AHEAD: The Browns (0-2) return home to play the Buffalo Bills (1-1), who are coming off a 35-17 rout of the Kansas City Chiefs. Cleveland has started 0-3 in three of the past four seasons.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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