Browns edge Raiders, 20-17Published 12:38am Monday, December 3, 2012
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Nursing a three-point lead and backed up to the shadow of his own goal posts, rookie Brandon Weeden engineered a touchdown drive that gave the Cleveland Browns a happy plane ride home for a change and hope for a much brighter future.
Weeden threw for a career-high 364 yards and a touchdown and made key plays on the clinching 94-yard drive that helped the Browns snap a 12-game road losing streak by beating the Oakland Raiders 20-17 on Sunday.
“That was kind of a statement,” Weeden said. “We strung together a lot of really good plays. That shows the potential we have as an offense, and that’s encouraging. We had a lot of guys make different plays.”
Weeden hit fellow rookie Josh Gordon on a 44-yard score in the second quarter and Trent Richardson scored on a 3-yard run after Sheldon Brown made a key interception deep in Cleveland territory when the Raiders (3-9) were driving for the potential tying or go-ahead score in the fourth quarter.
It all added up to the first road win for the Browns (4-8) since beating Indianapolis 27-19 in the second game of the 2011 season.
The skid started a few weeks later with a loss in Oakland and went deep into this season.
“You don’t want streaks like that,” coach Pat Shurmur said. “Let’s face it, over the last few years we haven’t done a great job of winning games. And so, as we take this journey with this young football team, they’re starting to learn.”
The Raiders have lost five straight for the first time since a six-game losing streak in Lane Kiffin’s first year as coach in 2006 and have been eliminated from playoff contention for a 10th straight year.
There was more bad news after the game as Oakland coach Dennis Allen had to fly to the Dallas area to be with his father, former NFL linebacker Grady Allen, who has a serious health issue. Dennis Allen is expected to rejoin the team Wednesday night, a day before the Raiders host Denver.
The biggest blunder for the Raiders came when rookie Juron Criner used a double move to get behind Brown and Carson Palmer underthrew the deep ball with Oakland already in position for a game-tying field goal.
Brown intercepted the pass at the 6-yard line and Weeden engineered an impressive drive beginning with 9:31 to play.
“I was trying to take a shot there, go for the touchdown quickly and just didn’t put the ball in the right spot, didn’t give Juron a chance to make a play on the ball,” Palmer said.
Weeden completed an 11-yard pass on third-and-3 to Gordon to get the Browns started and also had a big 22-yard pass to tight end Benjamin Watson.
Weeden then converted a fourth-and-1 sneak from the Oakland 45 and Desmond Bryant jumped offside on a third-and-1 from the Raiders 10.
Richardson scored two plays later to give the Browns a 20-10 lead with 3:27 to go as the Browns won for the fourth time in seven games since an 0-5 start to match last season’s win total.
“Probably a defining drive of the season,” Brown said. “We had an opportunity to see the character of that offense.”
The Browns have been improved defensively of late and Weeden had one of his best games as a pro. He completed 25 of 36 passes and overcame two first-half interceptions to lead the impressive late drive against a banged-up secondary that lost safeties Matt Giordano and Mike Mitchell and cornerback Phillip Adams to concussions.
Richardson ran for 72 yards and Gordon had six catches for 116 yards as Cleveland took advantage of Oakland’s struggling defense.
“We can’t stop the run, we can’t stop the pass,” Raiders cornerback Michael Huff said. “Things just aren’t going well on defense. Right now I guess we’re just a bad defense. We can’t really hide it. At this point, the numbers don’t really allow it. We’re just bad right now.”
Palmer was 34 for 54 for 351 yards, including a 64-yard touchdown to rookie Rod Streater. He added a 17-yard TD pass to Brandon Myers with 1 second left but it was too late. Myers caught 14 passes for 130 yards, tying Tim Brown’s franchise record for catches in a game.
Oakland showed signs of life late in the third quarter when Desmond Bryant blocked a 28-yard field goal attempt by Phil Dawson.
Four plays later, Streater made a good adjustment on a deep pass from Palmer that cut Cleveland’s lead to 13-10. But that’s as close as the Raiders got.
After getting outscored by 90 points during what general manager Reggie McKenzie recently described as a “terrible November,” the Raiders didn’t get off to a much better start in December.
They punted on their first four possessions of the game and fell behind 10-0 as Dawson kicked a 41-yard field goal early in the second quarter and Gordon beat Ron Bartell deep on a 44-yard touchdown pass later in the second.
Sebastian Janikowski got Oakland on the board with a 51-yard field goal, but was wide right on a 61-yarder at the end of the half.
Notes: Dawson had made a career-high 29 straight FGs before the block. … Janikowski kicked his 40th FG of at least 50 yards, tied with Morten Andersen for fourth most all time. … The attendance of 43,641 is lowest at Oakland since the Raiders drew 32,218 on Oct. 3, 2010.
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AP Sports Writer
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals didn’t flinch.
No, all they had to do was bide their time and wait for the San Diego Chargers to cough up another fourth-quarter lead.
Dalton scrambled up the middle for a 6-yard touchdown with 4:11 left for the go-ahead score and the Cincinnati Bengals won their fourth straight game, 20-13 over the punchless San Diego Chargers on Sunday.
The Bengals also kept coming after Philip Rivers, forcing two turnovers in the final 3:54.
“We kept overcoming adversity and we didn’t flinch,” coach Marvin Lewis said. “We just went out there and went back to work. … We weren’t perfect. But we had to keep playing and make adjustments and keep coming.”
The Bengals (7-5) remained tied with Pittsburgh in the race for the AFC’s second wild-card berth. The Steelers and Bengals are two games behind the AFC North-leading Baltimore Ravens, who lost to Pittsburgh.
The Chargers (4-8) lost their fourth straight game and for the seventh time in eight games, and remain mathematically, but not realistically, alive in the wild-card chase.
The Chargers are on the cusp of missing the playoffs for the third straight season, which is all but certain to cost coach Norv Turner his job, and it could get general manager A.J. Smith fired, as well.
With four games left in Turner’s sixth season as head coach, the Chargers are assured of their third non-winning season in the past five years. They were 8-8 last season and in 2008.
Denver clinched the AFC West title with a 31-23 victory against Tampa Bay. The Broncos haven’t lost since overcoming a 24-0 deficit at halftime at San Diego on Oct. 15 to beat the Chargers 35-24.
The Chargers were shut out in the second half after taking a 13-10 halftime lead. They didn’t score an offensive touchdown for the third time this season.
Trailing 13-10, the Bengals started the winning drive on their 45 and ate up 7:42.
On second-and-goal, Dalton pump-faked right and then ran up the middle, dived for the end zone and got the ball across for a 17-13 lead. Dalton said the Bengals called a screen but it was well-defended.
“I thought I was going to be able to throw it quick somewhere. But I wasn’t able to, then I just found a lane and was able to get in.
“Not everything is going to go exactly as you plan. It’s what you do when everything breaks down. It was a big play that we needed at that point.”
Philip Rivers had two turnovers in the final 3:54.
On the first Chargers’ possession after Dalton’s TD, defensive end Carlos Dunlap sacked Rivers, forced a fumble and recovered at the 13 to set up Mike Nugent’s 24-yard field goal for a 20-13 lead.
Rivers was then intercepted in the end zone by Reggie Nelson on fourth-and-10 from the Bengals 17 with 49 seconds left.
“We were flat as hell the second half,” Chargers fullback Le’Ron McClain said.
“Tonight for the most part, we didn’t turn it over until the last two,” Rivers said. “We’re fighting like crazy to score. We’re in a rut and all we can do is keep playing.”
Keeping the Chargers’ offense out of the end zone was “really big,” Dunlap said. “That’s huge because this team can put up a lot of points. They have a lot of scorers and great players on their offense. So for us to shut them out, that speaks volumes for our defense and that’s just the foundation of what we want to do as a defense.”
The Bengals overcame three turnovers, including two interceptions by Dalton. One of them was returned 31 yards for a touchdown by Demorrio Williams.
The Bengals took the game’s opening kickoff and moved 91 yards, capped by Dalton’s 19-yard pass to tight end Jermaine Gresham for a 7-0 lead.
Dalton threw an incompletion on fourth-and-9 from the Chargers 35, but Chargers cornerback Shareece Wright was called for holding and the drive continued at the San Diego 30.
The Chargers had a nice drive of their own and had a first-and-goal from the Bengals 7.
But Rivers fumbled when he was hit going back to pass. Tight end Antonio Gates recovered at the 16. The Chargers reached the 2-yard line but had to take Nick Novak’s 20-yard field goal that pulled them to 7-3.
Two plays into the next Bengals drive, Williams intercepted Dalton and returned it 31 yards down the left sideline to give the Chargers a 10-7 lead. It was Williams’ second interception returned for a touchdown this season.
The Bengals drove deep on the Chargers again and had a first-and-goal on the 5. A.J. Green was wide open in the end zone but Dalton overthrew him. BenJarvus Green-Ellis gained 4 yards to the 1, but an incomplete pass forced the Bengals to settle for Nugent’s 19-yard field goal and a 10-10 tie.
San Diego made it to the Bengals 1 with a second before halftime and had to settle for Novak’s 19-yard field goal for a 13-10 lead.
NOTES: San Diego is 21-23 since its last playoff appearance, a home loss to the New York Jets following the 2009 season. … Bengals CB Dre Kirkpatrick sustained a concussion in the fourth quarter. … Chargers RT Jeromey Clary had a knee injury in the first quarter and didn’t return. … Gates hasn’t caught a TD pass in three straight games and remains one shy of tying Lance Alworth’s team career record of 81. … Williams also returned an interception for a touchdown in the Chargers’ last win, 31-13 against Kansas City at home on Nov. 1. … Robert Meachem, who was expected to help replace Vincent Jackson in the Chargers’ offense, had zero passes thrown to him for the second straight week. It was his fifth game without a catch. … The Chargers have been blacked out in Southern California for the second straight week and third time this season.
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