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Cleveland Browns Hand San Francisco 49ers Its First Loss 19-17


In less than a week, I went from in control to outmatched. There are no perfect teams or sure things in the NFL, the San Francisco 49ers were reminded.

When rookie kicker Jake Moody missed a 41-yard field goal with six seconds left on Sunday, the Cleveland Browns unexpectedly won 19-17, handing Brock Purdy his first loss as a starter and ending the Niners’ 15-game winning streak.

For the Browns (3-2), Dustin Hopkins made four field goals, the final one coming with 1:40 remaining to finish a drive that was aided by a disputed unnecessary roughness call against San Francisco. Without quarterback Deshaun Watson, who missed the game for the second time in a row due to a bruised right shoulder, Cleveland managed to pull off the upset.

After trouncing Dallas 42-10 at home the previous week and scoring at least 30 points in each of their first five games, the 49ers (5-1) entered the contest with an almost unstoppable reputation.

The 49ers were without playmakers Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel in the second half due to injury, but Cleveland’s top-ranked defense was more than up to the task.

Coming from the Cleveland practice squad, P.J. Walker outperformed Purdy, who threw his first interception of the year, finished with just 125 yards, and came close to staging a stirring comeback in the dying seconds prior to Moody’s missed field goal.

By winning his first 10 regular-season starts and entering the game with the highest passer rating (121.1) of any quarterback in league history through 10 games, the 23-year-old Purdy had been flawless in his professional career.

However, the Browns kept him off balance, and he only completed 12 of his 27 throws (44%) – significantly less than his prior league-leading average of 72.1%.

On San Francisco’s last drive, Purdy completed a few key throws despite the absence of McCaffrey and Samuel and set up Moody for a right-handed field goal, which he made.

Cleveland’s sideline erupted in delight when the ball sailed into the goal, and Browns supporters danced in the aisles upon witnessing the home team finally score a goal.

The Browns’ decision to withdraw Watson on Friday increased the chances in favor of the 49ers, who were already strong favorites at the beginning of the week.

They went to Walker, who had only been signed in August, and the 28-year-old displayed composure on Cleveland’s final drive to set up Hopkins for the game-winning touchdown. Walker was able to escape with a dubious ball into the end zone.

The 49ers safety Tashaun Gipson Sr., who played four seasons for Cleveland, was given a flag for roughness, which benefited the Browns as well. Walker’s throw to Elijah Moore on third-and-10 was high, but Gipson was assessed a personal foul for leading with his helmet.

Purdy was out of rhythm for the majority of the afternoon, and things only got worse for the second-year quarterback when Samuel was forced to leave the game with a shoulder injury and McCaffrey was unable to overcome an oblique problem.

About 30 minutes before kickoff, the 49ers and Browns started scuffles on the road for the first time in four weeks.

During warm-ups, there was a brief skirmish on the 49ers sideline as tempers boiled. Trent Williams, a left tackle for San Francisco, shoved Moore from the side and knocked his helmet off during a heated exchange of insults.

The 49ers scored on their opening drive thanks to two personal fouls committed by the Browns. Purdy shoveled a short throw to McCaffrey, who made two quick cuts, made it to the outside, and ran in unimpeded.

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