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Browns 60-second rant: Slow starts problematic

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Posted Sept. 27, 2011 @ 5:55 p.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

The Browns don't have a winning record through three games because of their play in the first quarter.

Cleveland hasn't scored a single first-quarter point in Weeks One, Two or Three. Opponents have outgained the Browns 314-69 and have run 57 plays to Cleveland's 31.

Luckily for the Browns, they have been better in the next three quarters — and significantly so in the second quarter, where they have outscored opponents 35-12. Overall, the Browns have gained close to 93 percent of their yards on offense in the final three quarters.

The defense has also clamped down as the game has progressed. The Browns have surrendered nearly 36 percent of their yardage in the first quarter.

For the record, the Browns have received the opening kickoff just once, and their offense went three-and-out on their first possession of the regular season.

Both the rushing and passing games have generally sputtered early for Cleveland. QB Colt McCoy especially struggled early in Week Three, completing just 2-of-7 passes for 19 yards.

On Monday, Browns head coach Pat Shurmur addressed the Browns' slow start in the Week Three win vs. Miami, saying the offense needs to be sharper early.

"Well, we've got to find a way to start fast, and we were just watching the tape on offense, and we were running the same type of plays the second half that we were running in the first half. And it was very clear that we were just executing them better in the second half, coming out of the halftime," Shurmur said, according to the club. "That's the message. Listen, guys, relax and just execute. Take the gimmes, get yards on the runs that we're running the football, get into manageable third downs. Let's move the football and find a way to stay on the field."

Poor starts haven't stopped the Browns from winning two consecutive games. But winning consistently after breaking so slowly is tough.

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