BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Browns coach Rob Chudzinski didn't point a finger at anyone but his own players.
A day after an epic collapse in New England, Chudzinski refused to blame officials who called two questionable penalties against the Browns in the closing minutes as the Patriots rallied from a 12-point deficit for an improbable 27-26 win.
"Anything can happen in a game and it did yesterday," Chudzinski said Monday. "We have to make the plays and take advantage of the opportunities we have to win those kind of football games."
Outplaying a Patriots team with so much more on the line, the Browns (4-9) built a 26-14 lead with 2:39 left before everything fell apart.
Tom Brady, frazzled for three quarters, threw two touchdown passes — the second set up by an iffy pass interference call in the end zone on Cleveland rookie Leon McFadden — in the last 61 seconds. The Patriots recovered their first onside kick since 1995 to stun the Browns, who lost their fourth straight and seventh in eight games.
Following the heartbreaker, a few Browns players felt wronged.
"I feel like we got robbed a little bit," linebacker Paul Kruger said.
Chudzinski was asked if referee Jerome Boger and his crew were the worst he has seen.
"I wouldn't say that," he said. "We can only control what we can control and if we focus on the things that we can't, then we've given up all of our ability to do what we can do, and we put it in somebody else's hands or we blame somebody else. We're just not going to operate that way."
Chudzinski chose to focus on the positives, and there were plenty for the Browns: Quarterback Jason Campbell's interception-free, 391-yard performance. Another monster game by wide receiver Josh Gordon.
But it was impossible to overlook the ways Cleveland imploded.
On Brady's 2-yard TD pass to Julian Edelman with 1:38 left, Browns rookie cornerback Jordan Poyer was penalized for unnecessary roughness. The officials felt Poyer hit Edelman in the helmet, but TV replays showed his hit was to the wide receiver's shoulder area.
Chudzinski said the officials told him the 15-yard personal foul, assessed on the ensuing kickoff, was for "contact to the head."
Is that what it looked like on film?