Week 6 instant reactions: Browns steal a narrow win over 49ers

P.J. Walker made his first start for the Cleveland Browns and did just enough for his team to give the 49ers their first loss of the year

San Francisco 49ers v Cleveland Browns
San Francisco 49ers v Cleveland Browns / Jason Miller/GettyImages

This one started out on the wrong foot for the Cleveland Browns as they saw their defense picked apart on the opening drive by the San Francisco 49ers. The road team took the opening kick and went 84 yards on just five plays — and were aided by two penalties from Cleveland.

Those penalties included a late hit from Greg Newsome, which tacked on 15 yards following a 27-yard run by Christian McCaffrey, and a face mask by Za’Darius Smith when he stopped McCaffrey for a loss of yards. Run CMC then capped off the drive with a 13-yard touchdown reception on a shovel pass.

Cleveland responded in the worst way possible, with P.J. Walker throwing a pick on their opening drive. Thankfully, the defense found its footing and forced a long field goal — after pushing the offense backward — which was missed.

But from there, they continued to fight hard, even scoring on a 16-yard touchdown run from Kareem Hunt, which was set up by a 58-yard reception from Amari Cooper. That cut it down to 10-7, which was the score heading into the half.

That score was actually very impressive considering some of the mistakes the Browns made, including a missed field goal and a nearly disastrous play from P.J. Walker on a pass attempt with under a minute to go in the half. That play could have almost been called a fumble, which would have given the Niners free points before the half.

Cleveland continued to play well in the second half, tying it up at 10 on a 42-yard field goal from Dustin Hopkins — with Amari Cooper scoring an assist after a leaping 26-yard reception moved them into San Francisco territory. They then went into the fourth quarter with a 13-10 lead thanks to Hopkins hitting one from 46 yards late in the third.

The lead went back to the Niners when Walker was picked off by Deommodore Lenoir, who gave his offense the ball at the Cleveland eight. Jordan Mason ran it in to go up 17-13. The Browns, however, didn't fold at this point and kept fighting.

Hopkins hit a 50-yarder to make it a one-point game and then the defense got them the ball back with just over three minutes to play.

53. Final. 17. 42. Week 6 score. 19

That wound up being the final points as Jake Moody was wide on a potential game winning attempt.

Jim Schwartz deserves all the praise as Browns defensive coordinator

Jim Schwartz continues to prove himself as a great defensive coordinator and he made life hard on the 49ers this weekend. He forced several three-and-outs and even had Brock Purdy rattled to the point he threw several bad passes, including one that Martin Emerson picked off.

It was also Emerson that nearly cost them in the end. A pass interference on the final drive turned a potential fourth-and-10 into a fresh set of downs and the 49ers were able to move to the Cleveland 23 where they missed a potential winning field goal.

Cleveland is now 3-2 after the huge win and will face the Indianapolis Colts in Week 7.

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