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What We Learned from 49ers vs. Browns

View photos from the 49ers Week 14 matchup with the Cleveland Browns.

CLEVELAND – A sluggish performance ensured that the San Francsico 49ers would not win their first road game against the Cleveland Browns in three-plus decades.

Nov. 11 of the 1984 regular season stands as San Francisco's last road win in Cleveland after the Browns were victorious, 24-10, at home on Sunday.

The visiting 49ers failed to establish any offensive momentum against a Johnny Manziel-led club. As a result, Cleveland snapped a seven-game losing streak and put San Francisco at 4-9 on the year, also guaranteeing a losing record for the 49ers in 2015.

Here's what we took away from the non-conference matchup.

49ers Out-scored in Second Half

Facing a 3rd-and-goal at the 2, Manziel drilled a short out pass to tight end Gary Barnridge for a touchdown. The key scoring play capped a 8-play, 78-yard touchdown drive to make it a 17-3 game with :14 left in the quarter.

The 49ers were unable to respond and punted back to the Browns with 13:35 left to play.Cleveland resumed to march down the field. Isaiah Crowell ripped off a 54-yard run to put the Browns 1st-and-goal at the 5-yard line. On 3rd-and-goal, the 49ers were flagged for defensive holding which led to a 3-yard Crowell touchdown run.

The 49ers found the end zone for the first time just after the two-minute warning when Blaine Gabbert hit Jerome Simpson for a 6-yard score. The pass capped an eight-play, 94-yard drive.

Browns Turnovers Yield no First-half Points for 49ers

Ian Williams forced a fumble on Cleveland running back Glenn Winston late in the first quarter. The turnover was recovered by Ahmad Brooks and advanced eight yards before he was tackled at the 49-yard line.

Daniel Kilgore entered the game at center on San Francisco's third possession of the game. Facing a 4th-and-1 at Cleveland's 30-yard line, Jim Tomsula elected to go for it. Gabbert was sacked by rookie linebacker Nate Orchard on a play-action play that was designed for rookie tight end Blake Bell. Gabbert simply did not have enough time to throw down the left sideline to his receiver who ran a wheel route. Gabbert was sacked nine times on the day, which was especially shocking considering that Gabbert was sacked eight times in his four previous starts.

With the ball, Cleveland drove 56 yards on 10 plays to hit on a 26-yard field goal. The Browns led 10-0 with 9:04 left in the second quarter.

Manziel, however, was intercepted by Jaquiski Tartt late in the first half. Manziel launched an ill-advised, cross-body throw which the rookie safety correctly diagnosed. Tartt added 25 yards on the return to get San Francisco into Cleveland territory. Still, the 49ers went three-and-out and punted back to the Browns.

Both turnovers could have given the road team momentum, but neither play sparked a scoring drive from San Francisco.

Defensive Lineman Blocks FG Attempt
Manziel led the Browns into 49ers territory on the game's opening, but Cleveland's drive sputtered after a few errant throws from the second-year passer.

When it was time for Travis Coons to attempt a 42-yard field goal, San Francisco got excellent interior push and defensive tackle Quinton Dial blocked the field goal.

It was Dial's second career block and second of the season (Week 6 at St. Louis ), making him the first 49ers player to record multiple blocked kicks in a single season since Lawrence Pillars accomplished the feat in 1983.

Dial's play was also another example of his emergence in 2015. He posted nine tackles in last week's game and four tackles and a sack on Sunday to go along with his point-saving play.

Injury Report

Alex Boone was rolled up on a short run by Shauhn Draughn. Marcus Martin, who was replaced at center by Kilgore, entered the game in place of Boone.

Boone was announced as questionable to return to the game. He was later downgraded to out.

Running back Kendall Gaskins suffered a head injury on a special teams play in the second half and was also announced as questionable to return in the third quarter.

Jimmie Ward left the game in the fourth quarter with an elbow injury and was listed as questionable to return.

Milestone for 81

With a 14-yard catch to close out the third quarter, Anquan Boldin became the first player in NFL history to total at least 50 catches and 600 receiving yards in each of his first 13 seasons.

Golden Nuggets

  • Long-time Browns kicker Phil Dawson was honored with a video tribute during a TV timeout in the first quarter.
  • Arik Armstead recorded his second career sack on Manziel in the second quarter.
  • Corey Lemonier started at right outside linebacker for Aaron Lynch, who was ruled inactive due to the concussion he sustained in Week 13.
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