BEREA - The Browns are 5-4 after nine games. They're in the middle of a playoff hunt with a very favorable schedule ahead of them.
After being embarrassed in the season opener against the Steelers, the Browns played them toe-to-toe in losing in the final seconds, 31-28.
They gave up no sacks against the vaunted Steeler defense, as well as putting up 28 points.
Then why does everyone feel so bad?
Maybe because they easily could've won Sunday's game after leading 21-6 in the first half—and the way they lost it.
"We played a good football team and played them down to the wire," Romeo Crennel said. "We're disappointed because we thought we could've won the game."
The Browns moved the ball methodically 71 yards on 16 plays on their opening possession for a touchdown. The rest of the game they only totaled 92 yards.
"We struggled with our overall efficiency on offense," Crennel said. "The turnover was huge and they were able to take advantage and run with it."
Crennel also said the credit was to go to the Steelers' defense.
"The Pittsburgh defense (was tough)," he said. Maybe, they weren't as ready to play at the beginning of the game like they were the rest of the game.
"They have been consistently good against the run all season."
The Browns really struggled rushing the ball as Jamal Lewis had just 35 yards on 16 carries for a 2.2 average. Other than an 11-yard run, he averaged under two yards a carry. Even Derek Anderson had a higher rushing average than Lewis at 2.5.
"You have to try to keep giving it to him in those situations," Crennel said. "The choice you have to make is how many times do you give him the ball when you see how we've moved the ball in the passing game. With the way the offensive line has played, we've been able to get the ball to some of our weapons."
"We could run the ball better," he said. "If we can get (Lewis) into the secondary, he's a pretty good back."
Besides the lack of offense for the majority of the game, the defense let the team down again.
"Defensively, other than the quarterback, we did a pretty good job against the run," Crennel said. "I thought our guys were after (Willie Parker) all day, other than that one break out of 31 yards.
"On Ben, we didn't do that good of a job when he ran the ball," he said. "When we needed to get him on the ground we weren't able to do that. He was a difference maker. He ran for a 30-yard touchdown and he ran down inside the five on third down."
Crennel was asked what he wants his team to take from Sunday's loss.
"If we play better, we win the game," he said. "When we get the ball in the second half, we go down and score more points and extend the lead. Defensively, we step up and stop them, especially in the fourth quarter."
Crennel's biggest challenge is getting the Browns to forget the loss and focus on going to Baltimore and rebounding with a win.
"We're going to go to work and we have a divisional game on the road next week," he said. "That will be critical for us. We need to put this game behind us and focus on the upcoming game.
"We didn't do enough to win the game," he said. "We're still in a position to do something with this season if we play. We've worked this hard to get where we are and we're not going to give up."