Berea—There's a lot of talk about teams finishing a game. The Browns certainly didn't finish Sunday's game against the Steelers.
The Steelers put up 24 points—on their last four possessions.
"We're going to have to learn to take advantage of a lead and learn to make it tougher for a team to come back," Romeo Crennel said. "We didn't finish."
The Browns led 10-0 at the half and after forcing the Steelers to punt on their first two possessions of the second half, the Browns gave the ball up on a fumble by Jason Wright and the Steelers converted the mistake into a field goal to make it 10-3.
Even though the Browns were plus one in the turnover ratio, the one turnover was big. The fumble seemed to ignite the Steelers and they scored three touchdowns on their next three possessions and that was the game.
"I thought we would at least hold them to field goals," Crennel said. "But, we weren't able to and that cost us the game."
The Browns led 20-10 after Joshua Cribbs returned the kickoff 92 yards with 9:21 to play. However, the Browns haven't been very good at closing out games, especially at home. Since the Browns returned in 1999 they have lost 14 times in the final two minutes or overtime and 10 of those losses have come at home.
"We didn't do enough in the fourth quarter to win the game," he said. "We had some defensive penalties late in the game that impacted the outcome."
"When you look at the guys playing hard and giving the type of effort they're giving, you eventually win some games," he said. "I think you can build off of that effort."
Crennel said the loss was particularly frustrating considering the defense needed one sack or play to get the win.
"We just needed to make one play in the fourth quarter," he said. "If we could've just had one sack, we probably would've won the game. We just didn't make the plays we needed to make to win the game."
Kamerion Wimbley had a sack on third-and-21, but grabbed Ben Roethlisberger's face mask to give the Steelers a first down and then Nick Eason appeared to have a sack on Roethlisberger a few players later, but let go of him thinking he had already thrown the ball.
Fraser Foul: DL Simon Fraser was called for a personal foul when he knocked QB Ben Roethlisberger to the ground after an interception by CB Daven Holly who had returned the ball inside the Steelers' five. However, the penalty put the ball at the Steelers' 44 with 32 seconds to play in the first half and the Browns were unable to get any points off the turnover prior to the half.
"(Roethlisberger) was trying to go make the tackle and we blocked him," he said. "Then, he got up and we blocked him again. (The official) said he the second block wasn't necessary."
Crennel said he doesn't totally absolve Fraser from blame.
"They're trying to protect the quarterback and I understand that but if he's a quarterback and wants to be protected he should give himself up just like he does when he slides."
Crennel knows that was a big play early in the game that would've possibly given the Browns a 17-0 lead.
"That would've helped us, considerably," Crennel said.
Red Zone Blues: The Browns did not score any offensive touchdowns against the Steelers and were unable to score when they were inside the 20 on two occasions, other than two field goals.
"We have to put more emphasize scoring touchdowns when we're down there," he said. "We didn't score the touchdowns we anticipated we'd score."
Injury Update: The Browns didn't have any major injuries in the Steelers game. S Brian Russell suffered a laceration on his elbow, but he returned. The other injured players are continuing to get better and will be updated on Wednesday. Those currently on the injured list are: RB Reuben Droughns (ankle), Russell (elbow), WR Braylon Edwards (arm), QB Charlie Frye (wrist), DB Justin Hamilton (back), LB Willie McGinest (ankle), DL Ted Washington (hyperextension) and DB Leigh Bodden (ankle).
Players Day Off: Crennel said he gave the players the day off even though they lost. He said he wanted to give the injured players a chance to rest for a couple of days and come back Wednesday feeling better.