CLEVELAND — Receiver Josh Gordon needed three games to appreciate the level of frustration and disappointment his teammates have experienced for two straight seasons.
“I finally understand it. I finally get it,” he said Sunday after a 27-10 loss to the Ravens. “That is a tough load to carry through an extensive season. Fighting back injuries, fighting through games, psychologically and physically, that is tough.
“I get it, and I am here fighting with them. I’m going to keep going as long as they keep going.”
Gordon returned Dec. 3 against the Chargers after a nearly three-year drug suspension. The Browns are 0-3 with him, 0-14 this year and 1-29 over the last two seasons.
After five catches for 47 yards against the Ravens, Gordon has 12 for 201 and a touchdown in three games. Coach Hue Jackson disputed the notion the former All-Pro hasn’t made a big enough impact.
“Josh has had a real impact,” Jackson said. “Josh is doing some good things. It takes more than just Josh. It is the offensive line that has to do its part. The quarterback has to do his part.
“He is not scoring the touchdowns that we all see, want and all that, but he is making consistent plays, he is a contributing member of this football team and he works his tail off like anybody else. He has been outstanding in our building. That is the starting block for Josh. The rest will take care of itself.”
Gordon could’ve had a bigger day if not for some missed connections with quarterback DeShone Kizer.
Gordon got two hands on a slightly deflected pass on third down on Cleveland’s first drive but didn’t make the catch. Another Kizer pass on a shallow cross — Gordon was consistently open on the route — was batted at the line.
Then from the 4-yard line with 11:01 left in the third quarter, Gordon got open between the cornerback and safety down the right sideline. Kizer threw to the opening at the 28-yard line, but Gordon kept running.
“I was thinking get down the field and try to make a bigger play. It was really on me,” he said. “I should have been settling in the hole for the Cover-2 hole throw.”
Gordon’s frustration was visible throughout the game when the offense wasn’t working.
“It’s tough to get that continuous continuity and rhythm going,” he said. “I am just as confused as anybody else. Our guys, we work hard, everybody. Come game time, sometimes it just doesn’t work out.”
Running back Duke Johnson continues to be the team’s most consistent playmaker. He rushed seven times for 23 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown, and added five catches for 40 yards.
He also had a costly fumble as he fought for extra yards after making a catch late in the second quarter. Linebacker C.J. Mosley stripped him and safety Anthony Levine recovered at the Cleveland 45-yard line.
The Ravens scored three plays later on a 33-yard pass from Joe Flacco to tight end Benjamin Watson.
Johnson leads the Browns with 61 catches for 537 yards, and has six total touchdowns. He became the first NFL running back with 500 receiving yards in each of his first three seasons since Herschel Walker in 1986-88.
Cornerback Jamar Taylor (foot) was active but unable to contribute. Michael Jordan started in his place.
Taylor didn’t practice all week and was in a walking boot Friday. He didn’t play on defense but was on the field for at least one extra point block attempt.
The Browns were also without nickelback Briean Boddy-Calhoun (knee), who was inactive for the second straight game. Undrafted rookie safety Kai Nacua and cornerback C.J. Smith rotated in Boddy-Calhoun’s spot.
Flacco went 26-for-42 for 288 yards, a touchdown and a 90.2 rating against the depleted secondary.
** Strong safety Derrick Kindred suffered a wrist injury. Jackson said he’ll know more about the injury Monday.
No. 1 pick Myles Garrett had two tackles, a batted pass and no sacks. He has one sack in the last six games.
** Kevin Hogan was the backup quarterback and Cody Kessler inactive for the second straight week.
** Safety Justin Currie, offensive linemen Marcus Martin and Geoff Gray, receiver Matt Hazel (hamstring) and tight end Matt Lengel were also inactive.
** Ravens running back Terrance West, a third-round pick of the Browns in 2014, was a healthy scratch.
** The Browns had a moment of silence for fan Matt Pruzinsky, 32, who died after going into cardiac arrest during last week’s game. He was the clubhouse manager for the Columbus Clippers, the Indians’ Triple-A affiliate.