By: Christian Pagan
On Sunday afternoon, the Cleveland Browns defeated the once-undefeated San Francisco 49ers 19-17 at Cleveland Browns Stadium. The Browns entered the matchup coming off a bye-week with a 2-2 record and without key starters QB Deshaun Watson and LG Joel Bitonio. Bitonio was ruled out with a knee injury, missing his first game in seven years and Watson is battling a shoulder injury, suffered in the Week 3 victory over the Tennessee Titans. The Browns would elevate QB PJ Walker from the practice squad during the week as the teams QB1 for the matchup.
The 49ers defeated the Cowboys last sunday 42-10 and came into this matchup boasting a 5-0 record, one of two undefeated teams in the NFL. The other undefeated team would be the defending NFC champions, the Philadelphia Eagles. The 49ers would be without starting LB Dre Greenlaw.
The 49ers struck first on their opening drive with a 13 yard touchdown reception by Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey has now scored in 15 consecutive games, the second longest streak in NFL history. On the Browns first drive, quarterback PJ Walker threw an interception to Fred Warner, who returned it deep inside Browns territory. 49ers kicker Jake Moody would miss a 54 yard FG and Dustin Hopkins would follow, missing a 47 yard FG. Mother Nature was a factor with winds over 15mph and occasional rain showers.
After both teams exchanged punts, the 49ers would go on an 11 play, 76 yard drive, capped off by a 25 yard FG made by Jake Moody, giving the 49ers a 10-0 lead in the second quarter. 49ers star receiver Deebo Samuel would leave the game with a shoulder injury and not return. The Browns would respond with an 83 yard scoring drive. Browns WR Amari Cooper’s 58 yard catch would help set up a Kareem Hunt 16 yard touchdown run. At the end of the first half, the 49ers were up 10-7.
To start the second half, the Browns would go on a 9 play, 49 yard drive, which would be finished with a FG made by kicker Dustin Hopkins. The Browns defense led by Jim Schwartz would cause problems all day for the 49ers as cornerback Martin Emerson Jr would get his first career interception, picking off 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy. 49ers star running back Christian McCaffrey would exit the game with an oblique injury. After both teams would go 3-and-out, Browns kicker Dustin Hopkins would convert a 46 yard field goal, giving the Browns the first lead of the day.
In the fourth quarter, 49ers running back Jordan Mason would score an 8 yard rushing touchdown after Browns QB PJ Walker was intercepted by 49ers defensive back Deommodore Lenoir, giving the 49ers a 17-13 lead. The Browns would go on a 14 play, 7:37 drive that ended with a 50 yard FG made by Dustin Hopkins with 3:21 left to go in the fourth quarter, cutting the deficit to 17-16. The Browns would force a 3-and-out and go on a nine play drive that ended with a 29 yard FG made by Dustin Hopkins, giving the Browns a 19-17 lead with 1:40 left in the game. The drive would be aided by two defensive penalties by the 49ers, including an unnecessary roughness penalty on 3rd and 10 by safety Tashaun Gipson Jr. The 49ers would drive down the field and with nine seconds left, kicker Jake Moody missed the game-winning 41 yard FG.
Facts and Stats:
- Brock Purdy lost his first regular season game as a starter in the NFL (Previously 10-0)
- The 49ers 16 regular season game winning streak comes to an end
- The Browns would outgain the 49ers in yards with 334 yards, compared to 215 by San Francisco
- The 49ers have trailed for a total of 1:45 in their first five games, they trailed for 8:41 today
- The Browns defense held Brock Purdy to regular season career lows as a starter: 12 completions, 125 passing yards, and a completion percentage of 44%
- The 49ers who average 33.4 points per game, were held to 17 points on Sunday, the lowest in the regular season since Week 12 in 2022 in which they beat the Saints 13-0
- The 49ers were limited to 215 total yards of offense, the lowest in a regular season game since Week 13 in 2016 against the Bears in where they were limited to 147 total yards
- Both teams combined for 25 penalties, tallying 224 yards.
- PJ Walker Statline: 18/34, 192 yards, 2 INTs. Browns leading receiver: Amari Cooper with 98 yards on 4 catches. Browns leading rusher: Jerome Ford with 84 yards on 17 carries.
- Brock Purdy Statline: 12/27, 125 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. 49ers leading receiver: Brandon Aiyuk 76 yards on 4 catches. 49ers leading rusher: Christian McCaffrey with 43 yards on 11 carries.
Next week, the Browns will travel to Indianapolis to play the 3-3 Colts, Sunday (10/22) at 1pm on CBS. For San Francisco, they will travel to Minneapolis to play the 2-4 Vikings on Monday Night Football (10/23) at 8:15pm on ESPN.