Friday, December 8

Cleveland Browns get that familiar feeling as they lose to Atlanta

ATLANTA — It felt all too familiar for Nick Chubb.

A close game in the fourth quarter. The Browns, with him doing the bulk of the work, getting their running game going.

Unfortunately, it also ended with a familiar result, as the Browns let one defensive slip-up open the door for the Atlanta Falcons to hand them a 23-20 setback.

“At the end of the day, we have to find a way to win,” Chubb said. “We had opportunities to punch it into the end zone from the red zone. We had opportunities to end the game, but we just didn’t do it. From that, we just have to learn from it and keep moving forward.”

There’s not a far-fetched reality where the Browns are moving forward into the teeth of their schedule at 4-0. They’re legitimately two plays, only two plays, away from such a reality.

The problem for the Browns is that, instead of 4-0, they’re 2-2. Instead of coming home from Georgia celebrating the fast start to which virtually everyone said they needed, they’re once again lamenting the way it all went wrong in the end.

Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota runs out of the pocket as Cleveland Browns linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah defends during the first half Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in Atlanta.

The end is the only thing the Browns care about, though. They know that one or two plays is all it takes to flip the results of a game in the league.

“The NFL is a game of margins,” defensive tackle Jordan Elliott said. “It’s really small margins. … We gotta continue to iron out things, and we’ll do that.”

The path forward starts with next Sunday’s home game against a Los Angeles Chargers team that is beat up in a lot of ways, yet also boasts one of the league’s top young quarterbacks in Justin Herbert. Then it’s a New England Patriots team with an injured Mac Jones, but also arguably one of the greatest coaches in league history still roaming the sidelines.

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