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Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

49ers fall 19-17 to Browns on late missed field goal, snapping 15-game win streak

Oct 15, 2023 at 1:41 PM--

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1st 2nd 3rd 4th Tot
SF 7 3 0 7 17
CLE 0 7 6 6 19

After cruising to a 5-0 record to start the season, the San Francisco 49ers ran into a buzzsaw on Sunday in the form of the Cleveland Browns defense, which held a high-powered 49ers offense largely in check on route to a 19-17 upset victory.

The loss was the first in 15 regular season games for the 49ers, who after scoring 30 points in each of their first five games were stifled for much of the game by the Browns, who entered the day leading the NFL in total defense. The 49ers also dealt with in-game injuries to running back Christian McCaffrey (oblique) and wide receiver Deebo Samuel (shoulder), while quarterback Brock Purdy had one of his toughest outings as a pro, completing 12-of-27 passes for 125 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Despite struggling for much of the game, Purdy and the 49ers had a chance to pull out a win on a late field goal, but rookie kicker Jake Moody's game-winning attempt sailed wide right from 41 yards out.

P.J. Walker, who was starting at quarterback for the Browns in place of the injured Deshaun Watson, completed 18-of-34 passes for 192 yards with zero touchdowns and two interceptions.

First Half

The 49ers wasted no time taking the lead, marching 84 yards on five on the game's opening possession to take a 7-0 lead on a shovel pass from Purdy to running back Christian McCaffrey. The 49ers were aided by two 15-yard penalties on the drive, which also included a 27-yard run from McCaffrey on the second play.

The Browns appeared to be working on an answer on the ensuing possession when they moved into 49ers territory on six plays. Then 49ers linebacker Fred Warner stepped in, intercepting a second-down pass from Walker and returning it 32 yards to the Browns' 26-yard line. But the 49ers came up empty on offense after a 54-yard field goal attempt from Moody sailed wide left for his first miss of the 2023 season.

The Browns took over at their own 44-yard line after the missed field goal and moved into 49ers' territory on a 20-yard run by wide receiver Marquise Goodwin. A 32-yard touchdown pass from Walker to tight end David Njoku on the next play was wiped out by a holding penalty, then the Browns had to settle for a 47-yard field goal attempt from kicker Dustin Hopkins, which was missed wide left with 3:51 remaining in the first quarter.

A three-and-out led to a punt on the next 49ers' possession, then the Browns took over at their own 34-yard line after a face mask penalty on cornerback Ambry Thomas on the punt. The Browns followed with a punt of their own after six plays, then the 49ers took over at their own 17-yard line and moved deep into Browns territory before stalling inside the 10-yard line. Moody connected on a 25-yard field goal to give the 49ers a 10-0 lead after an 11-play, 76-yard drive.

A 58-yard completion from Walker to wide receiver Amari Cooper put the Browns in business at the 49ers' 25-yard line on the next possession, then the Browns notched their first points of the game three plays later on a 16-yard touchdown run from Kareem Hunt. Tight end Harrison Bryant lined up under center on the play and pitched the ball to Hunt, who capped a five-play, 83-yard drive and cut the lead to 10-7 with 5:38 remaining in the half.

The 49ers moved to the Browns' 32-yard line on the next possession before wet conditions got the best of Purdy and moved the 49ers out of field goal range. A delay of game penalty pushed the ball back to the 37-yard line, then after an incomplete pass that sailed out of the reach of tight end George Kittle, Purdy lost control of the ball on a 3rd-and-15 to cause a six-yard loss.

The 49ers punted back to the Browns, who took over at their own 9-yard line with 1:36 left in the half. The 49ers forced a punt with 34 seconds to play, but punter Corey Bojorquez put any chance of a last-minute drive to rest with a 69-yard punt that pinned the 49ers deep in their own territory. The 49ers ran out the clock from there, taking a 10-7 lead into the half.

It was an up-and-down half on offense for the 49ers, who finished with 149 total yards after an 84-yard opening possession. The Browns totaled 189 yards in the first half but were hurt by seven penalties for 67 yards against five penalties for 39 yards for the 49ers. Purdy completed 7-of-12 passes for 72 yards and one touchdown in the first half, while Walker completed 8-of-12 passes for 106 yards and one interception.

Second Half

The Browns started the second half in strong fashion, putting together a nine-play, 48-yard drive that ended with a 42-yard field goal to tie the game at 10. Then, on a 3rd-and-10 on the ensuing possession, Purdy was picked off by cornerback Martin Emerson, who gave the Browns possession at the 49ers' 38-yard line.

The 49ers stiffened on defense following the interception, forcing the Browns to punt after an offensive holding penalty on first down and a sack from defensive end Randy Gregory on third down. The 49ers were driven backwards themselves on the next possession as they couldn't recover from a 10-yard loss on a sack of Purdy on first down and were forced to punt back to the Browns after three plays.

The Browns took over at their own 45-yard line after the punt and added another field goal to take a 13-10 lead following a six-play, 18-yard drive. The 49ers went nowhere again on their next possession after a holding penalty on left tackle Trent Williams and a false start penalty on guard Aaron Banks and were forced to punt back to the Browns. Adding to the challenge for the 49ers was an oblique injury to McCaffrey, which sent him back to the locker room before the third quarter came to a close.

The teams exchanged three-and-outs, then the 49ers came up with the momentum-changing play they needed on defense. On a 2nd-and-16 at their own 22-yard line, Walker threw his second interception of the game, this one to cornerback Deommodore Lenoir, who returned the ball to the Browns' 8-yard line.

On the following play, Jordan Mason stepped up at running back in the absence of McCaffrey to give the 49ers the lead. Mason ran in from eight yards out for his second touchdown of the season, putting the 49ers up 17-13 with 10:58 remaining in the game.

The Browns answered with a 14-play drive, albeit not one that ended as they would have preferred. On a 3rd-and-10 at the 49ers' 21-yard line, Walker was sacked for an 11-yard loss by defensive end Nick Bosa to drive the Browns back to the 32-yard line. Hopkins connected from 50 yards from there to cut the lead to 17-16 with just over three minutes remaining.

Things got off to a rough start for the 49ers on the next possession as Purdy was flagged for intentional grounding on first down. The 49ers wound up having to punt after three plays while taking just 25 seconds off the clock, giving the Browns 2:56 to work with after a 60-yard punt from Mitch Wishnowsky.

The 49ers held Walker to three incomplete passes to start the Browns' possession, but safety Tashaun Gipson was flagged for unnecessary roughness on the third pass to give the Browns a first down. A 13-yard run from Jerome Ford followed the penalty, then cornerback Charvarius Ward was flagged for defensive holding to move the ball to the 49ers' 40-yard line. Two more runs from Ford moved the ball to the 14-yard line as the clock hit the two-minute mark.

After a 1-yard run from Hunt on first down and a near interception on second down, the 49ers stopped Hunt for a 2-yard gain on third down to force a 29-yard field goal attempt from Hopkins, which split the uprights to give the Browns a 19-17 lead. The 49ers had 1:40 on the clock to work with and one time out remaining.

The 49ers took over at their own 25-yard line and got their final drive off to a similar start as the previous possession, as Purdy threw three straight incomplete passes before Emerson was hit with a third-down pass interference call to give the 49ers a first down. A 25-yard completion to Brandon Aiyuk moved the ball across midfield, then after an incomplete pass intended for wide receiver Jauan Jennings, Purdy and Aiyuk connected again to move the ball to the 35-yard line. After an injury timeout on the Browns, Purdy found Jennings for a 9-yard gain to the 26-yard line, then the 49ers elected to set up goal attempt by running the ball to the 23-yard line with Mason followed by a spike from Purdy at the nine-second mark. From there, Moody had the chance to send the 49ers back to the Bay Area with a win, but in the end it wasn't meant to be.

The 49ers fell to 5-1 with the loss, their first regular season defeat since falling 44-23 to Kansas City on October 23, 2022. The Browns improved to 3-2 on the season with the victory.

Game Notes: McCaffrey has now scored a touchdown in 15 consecutive games, which is the second-best in NFL history. The all-time record of 18 consecutive games is shared by running back LaDanian Tomlinson and halfback/flanker Lenny Moore... The Browns now hold a 13-8 all-time edge over the 49ers with the win... The 49ers were 9.5-point favorites heading into the game... A skirmish broke out before the game that involved 49ers players Deebo Samuel, Trent Williams, and Brandon Aiyuk, and Browns players Elijah Moore and Juan Thornhill, among others... The 49ers will be back in prime time next week when the travel to Minnesota for a Monday night game against the Vikings (8:15 p.m. ET/5:15 p.m. PT, ESPN). The Browns will head to Indianapolis next Sunday for a 1 p.m. ET kickoff against the Colts.

SF Team Stats CLE
107 Passing Yards 174
108 Rushing Yards 160
215 Total Yards 334
4.63 Avg Yards per Pass 5.65
4.32 Avg Yards per Run 4.71
0 Fumbles Lost 0
1 Int Thrown 2
3 Sacks Allowed 2
00:26:57 Time of Pos 00:33:03
12 Penalties 13

49ers Player Stats
Passing Cmp/Att Yds TDs INTs
Brock Purdy 12/27 125 1 1
Rushing Att Yds Avg TDs
Christian McCaffrey 11 43 3.9 0
Jordan Mason 5 27 5.4 1
Ray-Ray McCloud 2 23 11.5 0
Deebo Samuel 2 11 5.5 0
Brock Purdy 3 7 2.3 0
Elijah Mitchell 2 -3 -1.5 0
Receiving Rec Tgt Yds TDs
Brandon Aiyuk 4 10 76 0
Jauan Jennings 2 4 26 0
Kyle Juszczyk 1 1 9 0
Christian McCaffrey 3 3 9 1
Ray-Ray McCloud 1 2 4 0
George Kittle 1 2 1 0
Ross Dwelley 0 1 0 0
Deebo Samuel 0 1 0 0
Fumbles Fum Lost
Brock Purdy 1 0
Kicking FG Att Lg XP
Jake Moody 1 3 25 2
Punting No Avg I20 Lg
Mitch Wishnowsky 6 45 2 60
Punt Returns Att Avg TDs Lg
Ray-Ray McCloud 2 6.5 0 13
Defense T-A Sck INTs FF
Oren Burks 8-4 0 0 0
Fred Warner 7-4 0 1 0
Talanoa Hufanga 7-2 0 0 0
Javon Hargrave 6-1 0 0 0
Isaiah Oliver 5-3 0 0 0
Charvarius Ward 5-1 0 0 1
Deommodore Lenoir 5-1 0 1 0
Kevin Givens 4-2 0 0 0
Clelin Ferrell 4-2 0 0 0
Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles 3-2 0 0 0
Tashaun Gipson 3-1 0 0 0
Arik Armstead 3-0 0 0 0
Randy Gregory 3-0 1 0 0
Nick Bosa 3-0 1 0 0
Javon Kinlaw 2-2 0 0 0
Drake Jackson 1-1 0 0 0

Browns Player Stats
Passing Cmp/Att Yds TDs INTs
PJ Walker 18/34 192 0 2
Rushing Att Yds Avg TDs
Jerome Ford 17 84 4.9 0
Kareem Hunt 12 47 3.9 1
Marquise Goodwin 1 20 20 0
Elijah Moore 1 8 8 0
PJ Walker 3 1 0.3 0
Receiving Rec Tgt Yds TDs
Amari Cooper 4 8 108 0
Kareem Hunt 3 3 24 0
David Njoku 3 4 24 0
Elijah Moore 4 7 19 0
Jerome Ford 2 2 7 0
David Bell 1 3 6 0
Marquise Goodwin 1 2 4 0
Harrison Bryant 0 1 0 0
Donovan Peoples-Jones 0 1 0 0
Jordan Akins 0 2 0 0
Fumbles Fum Lost
Amari Cooper 1 0
Kicking FG Att Lg XP
Dustin Hopkins 4 5 50 1
Punting No Avg I20 Lg
Corey Bojorquez 4 46.3 3 69
Punt Returns Att Avg TDs Lg
Jaelon Darden 4 9.8 0 11
Donovan Peoples-Jones 1 5 0 5
Defense T-A Sck INTs FF
Rodney McLeod 7-0 0 0 0
Grant Delpit 6-1 0 0 0
Martin Emerson 6-0 0 1 0
Juan Thornhill 5-2 0 0 0
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah 5-2 1 0 0
Greg Newsome 4-1 0 0 0
Myles Garrett 3-2 0 0 0
Denzel Ward 1-1 0 0 0
Dalvin Tomlinson 1-0 0 0 0
Anthony Walker 1-0 0 0 0
Ogbo Okoronkwo 1-0 0 0 0
Jordan Elliott 1-0 0 0 0
Alex Wright 1-0 0 0 0
Sione Takitaki 1-0 1 0 0

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