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Browns must sustain in second half

The SportsXchange

BEREA, Ohio -- The Cleveland Browns statistically possess one of the better defenses in the NFL, but if they are going to gain elite status, they must find a way to play better in the second half.

Six games into the season, the Browns are 3-3, a game behind the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North. Cleveland was ahead at halftime in all six games, but in the three losses, the Browns were outscored 55-3 in the second half.

"We weren't able to close the game out in the second half," coach Rob Chudzinski said, referring to the Browns' 31-17 loss to the Lions on Sunday. "That's something we need to learn and do."

The Browns entered Sunday's game with the league's fourth-ranked defense. They were ninth in points allowed. Those ranking slipped to seventh and 11th, respectively, after the Lions scored 24 unanswered points in the second half.

Second-year linebacker Craig Robertson, second on the team with 39 tackles, took it upon himself to shore up the defense. He accepted blame for the meltdown against the Lions. He missed a tackle on Brandon Pettigrew on a crucial third-down play and gave up the go-ahead touchdown pass to tight end Joseph Fauria. He had difficulty containing running back Reggie Bush.

"We pride ourselves on (how we play on) the defensive side of the ball," Robertson said, "so to give up that many rushing yards and stuff like that, it shocks and hurts us. It digs deeper in me even more because I felt like it was my fault on a lot of it.

"Reggie Bush getting out like that (39-yard run), I had him and he got out some time. I own up to it, and I've got to keep battling."

The Browns' next two games are on the road in Green Bay and Kansas City. Both the Packers and Chiefs won Sunday.
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