Things appeared to be doomed from the start as the Cleveland Browns hosted the Oakland Raiders. Right from the gate, quarterback Derek Carr had the Raiders in rhythm and marched down the field on their first possession. Although, the Browns held them to just a field goal, it was the beginning of a long day.
After a couple punts from both teams, Oakland struck again in the second quarter. Cleveland forced another punt, but then the yellow flag came out. A roughing the kicker call sparked new life into Oakland’s drive. Carr connected with Amari Cooper on a short pass which the receiver turned into a 40 yard gain.
Not to mention, Cooper had a field day while being covered by Joe Haden. The cornerback displayed horrible technique as the rookie receiver racked up 134 yards on eight receptions.
Regardless, the terrific play from Cooper set up Oakland in the red zone and an Andre Holmes touchdown gave the Raiders a 10-0 lead. Cleveland responded with a 13 play drive that unfortunately ended with just a field goal.
With under two minutes left in the first half, all Cleveland had to do was contain the offense and not allow a big yardage play. Latavius Murray ran for 20 yards and Seth Roberts added a 39 yard reception. Three plays later, Roberts scored a touchdown to make a 17-3 Cleveland deficit.
Although things were on a downward spiral, the Browns were a different team in the second half. After allowing another field goal, Cleveland finally scored a touchdown late in the third quarter.
As another offensive drive appeared to have stalled, the Browns got bold and converted a fourth down attempt. This ignited new life into the offense and they continued to march down field for a touchdown cutting Oakland’s lead in half.
The Raiders were unfazed as they marched 80 yards in seven plays, bringing the score to 27-10. Cleveland’s next possession resulted in another field goal, making it a two possession game.
Then, the Browns defense finally came up with a big turnover. They recovered a fumble from Amari Cooper and gave the offense great field position in Oakland territory. After a couple completed passes, Travis Benjamin continued his great start reaching the end zone for a fourth time this season.
Now Cleveland was trailing by seven points and needed a stop on defense. Despite playing sloppy for most of the game, the defense came through in the clutch forcing a punt. Things were too good to be true as it is for all Cleveland fans.
Benjamin, who is becoming a Cleveland favorite, called for a fair catch around the fifty yard line and then the unthinkable happened. He muffed the punt and Oakland recovered the ball. Thankfully, the defense did its job again and gave Cleveland another opportunity to score.
An amazing punt and recovery downed the ball at the two yard line. The Browns had roughly two and a half minutes to drive 98 yards to tie the game.
Enter Josh McCown, who had been hearing Johnny Manziel chants until he sparked this comeback. McCown was completing pass after pass gaining chunk yardage and moving the team downfield. Unfortunately, the drive was cut short by a Charles Wooden interception at the Oakland 12 yard line.
Although the Cleveland Browns lost 27-20 and played a forgettable first half, they did turn things around in the second half. Cleveland abandoned the running game at half time and McCown took over. He finished the game with 341 yards, two touchdowns and that last minute interception.
On another positive note, Gary Barnidge had a career day with six catches for 105 yards and Brian Hartline finished with 96 yards on five receptions.
Next week the Cleveland Browns will travel to the west coast to visit the San Diego Chargers.
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