Imperfect Browns need near-perfect game to win, don't get it in loss to Titans

Browns still fighting despite winless start (0:43)

ESPN Browns reporter Pat McManamon describes how the youth of the team showcases their inconsistency. What has been consistent all season is Cleveland's ability to fight, which was on full display in a 28-26 loss to the Titans. (0:43)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Six games, six losses.

The Cleveland Browns remain winless -- and have lost their first six games for the first time since the expansion season of 1999. As usually happens, this loss consisted of several pieces that, put together, added up to not good enough.

This latest defeat, 28-26 to the Tennessee Titans, also featured an odd/interesting decision by coach Hue Jackson. After the Browns had cut a 28-13 deficit to 28-19 with 2:07 left, Jackson chose to go for two points.

When the Browns did not convert, they needed two possessions to win instead of one to tie. That decision loomed larger when the Browns recovered an onside kick, and it loomed giant when they turned that recovery into a touchdown with 27 seconds left.

Cody Parkey kicked the extra point to make the deficit two, but had Jackson asked Parkey to kick the extra point after the first touchdown, they could have gone for two to tie at the end.

"I went for two because I knew at some point I was going to have to go for it," Jackson said.

"The way our offense was rolling, we had a really good rhythm on that drive," quarterback Cody Kessler said.

"We should have got it," running back Duke Johnson said. "We should have found a way to go get it."

It was that kind of game for the Browns, who in the big picture simply made too many mistakes to win. Tennessee did not exactly dominate, but on key plays the Titans were simply better, and on others the Browns hurt their cause.

Start with the Browns' converting just one of their first 11 third downs. On the 11th, Ricardo Louis dropped a sure first down on third-and-15. Instead of continuing a drive down eight points, the Browns punted and Marcus Mariota ended the ensuing drive with his third touchdown pass.

Then there were coverage problems. Mariota found Kendall Wright for a deep touchdown in the second quarter and Rishard Matthews on a deep throw that set up another score. On both plays, rookie Derrick Kindred was late in coverage.

Kessler had a strong first half, throwing for 185 yards and a touchdown. The second started differently, as Kessler and the offense gained 1, 4 and 3 yards on their first three possessions before putting together a late TD drive down 15.

Kessler threw a perfect touchdown to Terrelle Pryor to end the first half, but the Browns went three-and-out on a combined six possessions before and after the end-of-half TD drive. That's seven possessions, one touchdown and six three-and-outs.

The Browns play hard and with effort. They try. They have good plans. They did not give up after falling behind by 15 in the fourth quarter; instead, they played furiously in an attempt for a miraculous win.

"I already talked to a couple guys on the team and I feel like we're doing all the right things," left tackle Joe Thomas said. "The way we're preparing, the way we're practicing, the way we're playing in games with a lot of energy and a lot of fight. But we're just not consistent enough making the plays."

But 18 rookies were on the roster on Sunday, and the team said that's the first time that happened since 2010 in Tampa Bay.

The Browns just don't have the talent they need up and down the roster, and the talent they have has to be near-perfect to win.

The first-victory watch continues, as the Browns next travel to Cincinnati for their fourth road game in five weeks.