Ugh. We’ve seen this movie in Cleveland before. The Browns start slow, but find themselves suddenly ‘in it’ with a few minutes left in the game. Instead of rising to the occasion however, they shot themselves in the foot and came away with another disappointing loss.
9:38 Second Quarter: Raiders 4th and 5 on OAK 25
The Raiders were leading 3-0 after the first quarter. The Browns had managed to force the Raiders to punt twice following their opening scoring drive, but the Cleveland offense had just 35 yards in three possessions.
The Raiders took the ball on their own 20, and it felt like they were about to seize control. The Raiders opened up the playbook and ran a flea-flicker, completing the pass downfield to Michael Crabtree, but an offensive pass interference penalty and then a false start pushed them back to the 5 yard-line. On fourth down, the Browns decided to rush the punter and go for the block instead of setting up a Travis Benjamin return. Four Browns got through and made a charge at King, but he got the punt off and the Browns ran into him.
The penalty gave the Raiders a new set of downs and they capitalized a few plays later when Derek Carr found Amari Cooper over the middle who made a few defenders (cough, Donte Whitner) miss and picked up 40 yards, setting the Raiders up at the Browns 15. The Raiders scored from the 3, and led the game 10-0.
1:44 Second Quarter: Raiders 1st and 10 on OAK 30
The Browns couldn’t punch the ball into the end zone with a first and goal to go on Oakland’s 1 yard-line. After a false start penalty killed their chance to go for it on fourth down, they settled for a Travis Coons field goal.
With less than two minutes to play in the half, the Raiders ran the ball off left guard. It was the kind of play you call to kill the clock, but if you pick up decent yards you may go ahead and try to get into field goal range. Latavius Murray broke through the defense and picked up 20 yards.
The Raiders picked up another 36 yards two plays later on a pass from Carr to Seth Roberts, which set up Oakland’s second touchdown with less than 20 seconds in the half.
Instead of being down 10-7, the Browns botched a potential touchdown, then allowed the Raiders to march downfield in just over a minute and trailed 17-3.
4:09 Fourth Quarter: Raiders 4th and 7 on OAK 23
After a brutal 3-play, negative yardage possession to start the second half, the Browns actually got things rolling offensively. They went touchdown-field goal-touchdown and trailed 27-20.
After a touchback, the Raiders were stopped after three plays and lined up to punt. Marquette King’s punt was high and short. Travis Benjamin waved his right arm around three times to signal fair catch while running up to catch the ball. He was near midfield when the ball bounced off his chest and fell to the ground. Benjamin quickly jumped on top of it, but the gang of Raiders who dove for the ball were able to wrestle it away from the much smaller Benjamin, and the Raiders had possession of the ball again.
:43 Fourth Quarter: Browns 3rd and 14 on OAK 35
The Browns forced another 3 plays and punt, but were unfortunate when Oakland’s Taiwan Jones leaped up and downed the ball just short of the goal line. The Browns challenged the ruling, as it appeared Jones may not have gotten the ball completely out of his hand before stepping into the end zone, but replay was not conclusive to overturn the call.
The Browns drove to Oakland’s 29-yard line due in most part to catches by Brian Hartline, Marlon Moore and Duke Johnson. With just under 30 seconds left in the game, Josh McCown was sacked at the Oakland 35 forcing the Browns to use their final timeout.
The Browns had a play drawn up with Gary Barnidge as the primary receiver down the middle of the field. Barnidge had a career high 6 receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown. McCown saw Travis Benjamin down the right side behind the cover corner David Amerson and he took a shot on the home run pass.
Unfortunately, the Raiders were in Cover 2 and safety Charles Woodson made a break on the underthrown ball and intercepted it. There was a window for McCown to deliver the throw to Benjamin, but he did not hit the window. Game over.