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Cleveland Browns blow two-touchdown lead in fourth quarter, fall to Packers in OT

By Nate Ulrich • Dec 10, 2017 at 11:13 PM

CLEVELAND — The march toward 0-16 continues for the Browns.

They blew a two-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter and lost 27-21 to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Now they’re 0-13 this season, 1-28 under coach Hue Jackson and 4-46 dating to late in the 2014 season. It’s the worst 50-game stretch in NFL history. They haven’t won on a Sunday since Dec. 13, 2015.

The Browns won the coin toss before overtime and elected to receive. On third-and-2 at the Browns’ 33, rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer looked for wide receiver Josh Gordon, but he wasn’t open. So Kizer improvised and made a horrible decision by throwing the ball up for grabs as outside linebacker Clay Matthews hit his right arm. The ball lofted into the air, and safety Josh Jones intercepted it at the Browns’ 42 with 8:28 remaining.

The Packers (7-6) faced third-and-6 on the ensuing possession, and quarterback Brett Hundley connected with wide receiver Davante Adams for a 25-yard, game-winning touchdown on a catch-and-run with 5:05 left in overtime.

Kizer completed 20-of-28 passes for 214 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions for a rating of 99.4. His last interception proved to be costly.

The Packers went for it on fourth-and-1 at the Browns’ 10-yard line midway through the third quarter and came up short. Hundley turned to hand off or fake a handoff, but no running back was there. Rookie defensive tackle Caleb Brantley wrapped up Hundley in the backfield for a 2-yard loss with 7:20 left in the third quarter.

The Browns capitalized on the turnover on downs and captured a 21-7 lead with a nine-play, 88-yard scoring drive. On third-and-goal, Kizer finished the march with a 2-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Corey Coleman in the front of the end zone with 2:49 remaining in the third quarter. Coleman wore sunglasses on the sideline after scoring just like fellow Browns receiver Josh Gordon did after he caught a touchdown pass in the first quarter.

With their backs against the wall, the Packers responded. On third-and-goal, running back Jamaal Williams rushed off the right side for a 1-yard touchdown to cap a 13-play, 75-yard drive and cut the Browns’ advantage to 21-14 with 12:50 left in the fourth quarter.

During the next series, running back Isaiah Crowell tripped while rushing and came up a yard shy of a first down on third-and-2 at the Browns’ 43. Britton Colquitt then punted 53 yards to the Packers’ 3 with 9:23 left in the fourth quarter.

The Packers advanced to their 45, but on third-and-2, Browns defensive end Carl Nassib batted down Hundley’s pass. Justin Vogel’s punted into the end zone for a touchback, and the Browns took control at their 20 with 5:30 left in the fourth quarter.

The Browns faced third-and-4 at their 37 when Kizer hit rookie tight end David Njoku for what looked like a 7-yard gain and a first down. But the Packers challenged, and a replay review revealed the ball hit the ground for an incomplete pass.

Colquitt punted 53 yards, but Packers wide receiver Trevor Davis returned it 65 yards to the Browns’ 25 with 2:37 left in the fourth quarter. On third-and-3 at the Browns’ 7, Hundley ran for what initially appeared to be a touchdown, but his knee was down before the ball crossed the goal line.

That set up first-and-goal at the 1 with 23 seconds left. Then Hundley threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Davante Adams into the back left corner of the end zone with cornerback Jason McCourty in coverage. The play finished a seven-play, 25-yard drive and forced the Browns into overtime for the second time this season. They lost 12-9 in overtime to the Tennessee Titans on Oct. 22.

Kizer threw touchdown passes to Gordon and running back Duke Johnson to lead the previously winless Browns to a 14-7 halftime lead. The Browns led at halftime for just the second time this season. They also led the Minnesota Vikings 13-12 at halftime Oct. 29 in London but lost 33-16.

In Gordon’s first regular-season game in Cleveland since Dec. 14, 2014, he made a leaping, 18-yard touchdown catch in the end zone to complete an 11-play, 74-yard drive and allow the Browns to tie the score 7-7 with 4:45 left in the first quarter. It was Gordon’s first touchdown in a regular-season game since Dec. 15, 2013.

Last week, Gordon returned to regular-season action for the first time since Dec. 21, 2014, after missing 44 consecutive games and 54 of 59 because of recurring violations of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. Gordon said Friday his first home game in nearly three years would be emotional, and after he scored, he jumped on a heated bench on the sideline, motioned to the fans and yelled, “What’s up?” He also put on a pair of sunglasses on the sideline and received congratulations from teammates as well as a hug from coach Hue Jackson.

The Browns later extended their lead to 14-7 when Kizer faked a zone-read handoff to running back Isaiah Crowell and hit running back Duke Johnson with a shovel pass for a 7-yard touchdown with 5:12 left in the second quarter. The score capped a 12-play, 70-yard march.

The 14 unanswered points scored by the Browns came after the Packers opened the game with an 11-play, 74-yard touchdown drive. Hundley threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to wide-open running back Jamaal Williams with 8:50 left in the first quarter. The Packers converted twice on fourth down during the march. Safety Jermaine Whitehead ran for 7 yards and a first down on a fake punt. On fourth-and-1 from the Browns’ 38-yard line, wide receiver Randall Cobb caught a pass for 8 yards to keep the possession alive.

In the first half, Kizer completed 15-of-18 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns with an interception, posting a rating of 120.8. On third-and-11 at the Packers’ 47, he was picked off by safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix with 17 seconds left in the second quarter.

Gordon had three catches for 69 yards and a touchdown, and Coleman added four catches for 60 yards in the first half.m


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