Defense bounces back from poor start

October, 27, 2013
10/27/13
8:16
PM ET
Defensive coordinator Ray Horton now has some numbers for the Cleveland Browns defense that nobody can dispute.

Horton, who makes a habit of bringing stats to back up his players at his weekly media gathering, can point to what the defense did in the second half.

After giving up 20 points to the Chiefs in the first half, the Browns defense gave up only a field goal -- and that came in the final minute after the Browns' last-chance drive failed. After giving up 296 yards the first half, the defense gave up 31 yards in the second. And after giving up 16 first downs the first half, the defense gave up three the second. The Browns also tied their season-high with six sacks, five more than Kansas City’s league-leading defense had.

Coach Rob Chudzinski said the team made some adjustments in the second half, but the players said it was merely a matter of attitude.

“The biggest adjustment was our mentality,” linebacker Paul Kruger said. “We kind of got hit in the face and we knew we had to fight to get back in the game.”

The defense was embarrassed the first half as Kansas City held the ball for 22:46, and they aired out that embarrassment and disgust at halftime.

The Chiefs’ 20 points meant that in two quarters against the Chiefs, four against the Packers and two against Detroit, the Browns had given up 75 points.

That did not sit well with a unit that is ranked high in the league in overall standing.

“What we put out in that first half, that was not characteristic of what we pride ourselves in becoming as a defense,” linebacker and captain D’Qwell Jackson said. “The first half we didn’t play an ounce of what we’re capable of doing. The second we were like, 'we have to play better.'

“It couldn’t get any worse.”

Jackson admitted the defense did not give the Browns a chance to win with its early play. And though the Browns came close to winning, Jackson believes the defense can do more.

“We have to do a better job of creating opportunities” for the offense, he said.

Meaning, forcing turnovers. The Browns forced none in the loss. It was a loss, but if the Browns want to take something from the game, they can point to Jason Campbell's play at quarterback and to the way the defense played in the final 30 minutes.

Now, if the Browns can just put a complete game together.

Pat McManamon

ESPN Cleveland Browns reporter

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