Browns vs. Bengals: 6 Things We Learned from Cleveland's 23-20 Loss

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Browns vs. Bengals: 6 Things We Learned from Cleveland's 23-20 Loss
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

RB Peyton Hillis finally returned to the field on Sunday, but his efforts weren't enough to keep the Browns from losing a 23-20 heartbreaker in Cincinnati to the division rival Bengals.

It was an especially tough loss to swallow for Cleveland, not just because it came at the hands of a divisional opponent, but because the Browns came oh so close to pulling off an upset this afternoon.

Within two minutes of it, as a matter of fact. When Cincinnati kicked its game-winning field goal with just 38 seconds to go in the game, they also grabbed the first lead they'd had all day. 

The game had been the Browns' to lose up until then, and lose it they unfortunately did. 

The Ohio rivals were deadlocked at 20 all for most of the third quarter, and the Browns had a chance to pull ahead on their second-to-last possession of the game. But just like the mistake that cost the Browns a win in St. Louis two weeks ago, the Browns botched the snap on a gimme field goal and the kick sailed wide of the uprights, and along with it most of the team's hopes for pulling off a big upset this week,

As heartbreaking a loss as it was, though, the Browns have a lot of reasons to hold their heads up high after this one. We saw plenty of mistakes, but we also saw some very encouraging efforts by the Browns. 

Despite the loss, it may have been the best game the Browns have played thus far this season. 

Following are six things we learned in a game that was at once soul crushing and at the same time uplifting for the Browns' faithful. 

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