- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Did the Browns lose because of Josh Gordon's dropped pass near the end zone? Or was it Pat Shurmur's decision not to go for it on fourth down in the fourth quarter?
The Browns never seem to lose by much, but there are always many reasons why they lost. This time, Cleveland's fate was essentially sealed in a two-play sequence with less than seven minutes left.
Trailing by four points (17-13) at the Colts' 41-yard line, Gordon had a third-down pass bounce off his hands around the goal line. Facing fourth-and-1, the Browns lined up in a short-yardage formation to run the ball before calling time out as the play clock hit three seconds.
"It's the biggest play of the game, and we wanted to make sure everybody's set and not jump offsides," rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden told reporters after the game.
After the time out, Shurmur changed his mind and decided to punt. Based on new owner Jimmy Haslam's grimace that was caught by the television cameras, he didn't agree with that choice.
"I had two timeouts left and better than six minutes," Shurmur said. "We felt like the best thing to do was punt, which was the right decision in my opinion. We had the ball back and approaching midfield with a chance to score, so I wouldn't do [those decisions] differently."
STAT THAT STICKS: 8.2 -- Average margin of defeat (in points) for the Browns in their 11-game road losing streak, which ties a franchise record.
OVERHEARD: "It hurt me inside not being out there. I didn't want to come out. [Shurmur] knows what's best, he made his decision." Rookie running back Trent Richardson on not playing in the second half after gaining 8 yards on eight carries with his rib injury.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Browns (1-6) return home to play the San Diego Chargers (3-3), who lost three of their past four games before going on a bye.