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Browns’ offense stuck in first gear

The Cleveland Browns failed to provide a spark on offense for the second straight week in a disappointing 14-6 road loss to division rival Baltimore on Sunday.

The Ravens offense managed to do just enough against a stout Browns defense to pull off the victory. Meanwhile, Cleveland’s sputtering offense remained stagnant and was held out the end zone by the Ravens’ last-place defense.

“That was a disappointing loss for us,” Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said during his Monday news conference. “We had opportunities to win that game. Baltimore made the plays when they needed to and we didn’t when we needed to.”

Starting quarterback Brandon Weeden performed slightly better than he did in the season-opening loss to Miami. He completed 21 of 33 passes for 227 yards before leaving the game in the fourth quarter with an injured right thumb. Chudzinski called it a sprain and will re-evaluate over the next couple of days.

Weeden appeared a little shaky before the injury after being sacked five times. A lack of pocket awareness has hurt Weeden, who has been a sitting duck for opposing pass rushers who have sacked him 11 times in two games. The quarterback must do a better job stepping up in the pocket when pressured.

Not all the blame should fall on the shoulders of the quarterback. Pass protection of the offensive line has come under question.

“There are a number of areas that we need to work on from a protection standpoint, a passing game standpoint and consistency and efficiency,” Chudzinski said. “It starts with getting the plays in, getting them called and getting them run on time. Then we’ll work through those other areas. We’re working hard on that. We’ll work hard on that and we’ll get that fixed.”

Cleveland had only a slim hope of success with its offensive play-calling on Sunday. But things are expected to get better this week against Minnesota with playmaking wide receiver Josh Gordon returning to the lineup. Gordon served a two-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. He led the team in receptions and receiving yards during the preseason.

“This is a determined team, we’ll get it right and we’ll bounce back,” Chudzinski said. “We’ll make the corrections, move on and get ready for Minnesota. I believe in this team. I believe that we will not accept losing, and we will get better.”

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