Misery loves company.
So, Browns fans, know that you have a friend in the team's defensive coordinator, Rob Ryan. He's just as upset as you are over last Sunday's nightmarish, last-play – even the-play-after-the-last-play -- 38-37 loss to the Detroit Lions.
"We have to win in this league," he said Friday in his usual media availability as the Browns finalized preparations for Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. "This is a bottom-line business. And when you score 37 points, you had better win.
"You don't relocate your whole family up here to lose that (stinking) game. What we did, you can't do that. Even when Don Coryell was running offenses, you still had to play defense, and we didn't play a lick of it last Sunday."
The Browns defense, which has played well at times in games before getting fatigued by having to stay on the field too much because of a struggling offense, was the reason the team lost its fifth straight, falling to 1-9. The Lions, despite their almost-as-bad 2-8 mark, have done some good things on offense this year, but they're never going to make anyone forget Coryell's St. Louis Cardinals, San Diego Chargers or San Diego State Aztecs. Despite that, Detroit rolled up 473 total yards, including 416 through the air and five touchdowns from rookie quarterback Matt Stafford.
The Browns let Stafford and Co. drive 88 yards in 10 plays in 1:46 -- with no timeouts, mind you – to score the winning TD after the Browns had gone ahead 37-31 5:44 earlier on Brady Quinn's one-yard pass to tight end Michael Gaines.
"It was exciting to watch Brady light 'em up," Ryan said. "The offense was outstanding. But we didn't hold up our end on defense."
Ryan did not agree with the key call in the game, a pass interference penalty on nickel back Hank Poteat in the end zone on a Hail Mary throw as time expired, allowing the Lions to run an untimed play, which they turned into a one-yard scoring pass from Stafford to another tight end, Brandon Pettigrew. Then Brian Hanson added the extra point, providing the winning margin.
"I'm glad I'm not an official. I might be worse than they are," Ryan said. "I've never seen that (interference) called on that type of play. Maybe in 1970.
"When we lost, I felt like going off the field and hiding under a rock and crying, but that wouldn't have helped, either."
Nothing the Browns tried seemed to help.
The Lions had passing plays covering 75, 63, 30 and 26 yards. The Browns helped out on a good number of those plays by missing tackles.
"Our whole secondary could improve its tackling," Ryan said. "Obviously, we need to tackle better. We've given up way too many big plays this year."
The result was that the Browns blew a 24-3 first-quarter lead. The 24 points are a team record for scoring in the first quarter. Not even all those great clubs from the past could do that.
Still, though, it wasn't enough – not quite.
"We were starting to have that stack of cards built up pretty high, but a (darn) stiff wind came and blew it all down," Ryan said. "Now we have to start all over again.
"That hurt. That's not the kind of game we were looking for. It was mostly technique that was the problem. You have to play with technique, and when you don't, it's not good."
Ryan said he was both stunned and disappointed by the defense's performance.
"I don't like to say anything negative about our players, but I'm (darn) sure we've got to play better than that to beat Cincinnati," he said. "Nothing good comes out of losing week after week.
"When I was in Oakland, we beat a lot of teams late in the year that were supposed to be headed to the playoffs. But I'm not about ruining anyone's party. I want to win for us.
"I had a hard time with that game. They players did, too – really, everyone in the organization."
And also, of course, the fans, who may be consoled by the fact that they have plenty of company in Ryan and many others who are just as miserable as they are over the way the Browns played, especially on defense, against the Detroit Lions.