March 4, 2024

​The Cleveland Browns took on the undefeated San Francisco 49ers this Sunday afternoon at Cleveland Browns Stadium. The Browns came off a bye week. The 49ers came into town riding momentum from an impressive 42-10 Sunday night win over the Dallas Cowboys. Even though the Browns had the bye last week, there were still injury concerns for the Browns in this game.

Guard Joel Bitonio (knee), DE Myles Garrett(foot), C Etan Pocic(knee and chest), TE David Njoku(burns), and QB Deshaun Watson(shoulder) were either limited or did not participate last week in practice. Having the most game impact was QB PJ Walker being made the starter for the injured Watson. One equalizing factor in the game was the mid-October Cleveland weather. It was cold and drizzly on the Cleveland Lakefront that afternoon. Despite the weather, San Francisco has one of the league’s best defenses with LB Ed Warner and DE Nick Bosa. And a top 5 offense led by QB Brock Purdy and RB Christian McCaffrey.

However, the Browns do have a top-5 NFL defense along with an excellent secondary led by Safety Grant Delpit, who is having an early Pro Bowl-like season. Any advantage that could have been taken for the Cleveland Browns, was taken.

​The Browns took advantage of the makings of a trap game for the 49ers. A West Coast team played a 1 p.m. game on a Sunday in the Eastern time zone. The 49ers had a big Sunday Night Football win last week against the Dallas Cowboys and next week they play the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football.

This game was set up for an upset. And that is exactly what happened. The Browns were victorious with a 19-17 final score.

The Cleveland Browns defense played an excellent game led by defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy was held to 125 passing yards with one touchdown, one interception and a 55.3 quarterback rating. San Francisco running back Christian McCaffrey was held 43 yards rushing. And he is an elite NFL running back. The Browns offense did play well enough to win. Running backs Jerome Ford and Kareem Hunt combined for 131 rushing yards with a touchdown. Browns quarterback PJ Walker threw for 192 passing yards and no touchdowns, and his two interceptions contributed to his 45.2 quarterback rating. However, the Browns offense on the last drive of the game made enough plays to put the team ahead with under two minutes remaining in the game.

The Browns defense also made the plays to win the game. Jake Moody’s missed 41-yard field goal attempt with 9 seconds left in the game helped. But what also helped, was the Cleveland Browns pass rush giving Brock Purdy fits all afternoon. You can say that the pass rush won the day. You can also say that the Browns gold-rushed the 49ers.

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