The Browns (4-8) fell to the Jacksonville Jaguars (3-9) 32-28 today at FirstEnergy Stadium. Below is our game day blog.
Final: Jaguars 32, Browns 28
The fourth quarter was as wild of a quarter of football as you’re bound to see. Leading 21-20, center Alex Mack snapped it high over Weeden’s head, who was in the shotgun. Weeden had to kick the ball out of the end zone, resulting in a safety and a 22-21 Jaguars lead. Jacksonville then added a 25-yard field goal to lead 25-21. Back up at his own 5-yard line, Weeden hit Josh Gordon, who spun around and raced 95 yards for a touchdown with 3:55 left in the game to give the Browns a 28-25 lead. The Jaguars, though, put together a 9-play, 80-yard drive, capped by Cecil Shorts’ 20-yard touchdown reception over Joe Haden with 40 seconds left. Weeden's hail mary try at the end of the game was knocked down. Gordon finished the game with a franchise record 261 yards and two touchdowns on 10 catches. Weeden was 24-of-40 for 370 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.
End 3Q: Browns 21, Jaguars 20
Weeden recovered from his first-half collapse on the Browns’ initial second-half drive, finding Greg Little from 4-yards out for a go-ahead touchdown. Though on that drive Gordon took a big hit going for a ball near the sideline and left the game for most of the quarter. He returned with just over a minute remaining in the quarter and caught a 10-yard pass on his first snap. The defense, meanwhile, held the Jaguars to two three-and-outs.
End 2Q: Jaguars 20, Browns 14
Josh Gordon has just about been unstoppable in the first half. He has six catches for 125 yards and a touchdown—a 21-yarder in the second quarter that gave the Browns a 14-7 lead—and has continued his torrid pace from the second half of last week’s game with Pittsburgh. Brandon Weeden was off to a good start to this game but late in the second quarter fell apart, throwing two interceptions on back-to-back throws. The first, to safety Johnathan Cyprien, led to a Maurice-Jones Drew 8-yard touchdown pass to Mercedes Lewis on some trickery by the Jaguars. That tied the game at 14-14. Weeden's second interception, to cornerback Dwayne Gratz, led to a 44-yard field goal by kicker Josh Scobee. Weeden, just before the half, was stripped of the ball in a lost fumble. That made three turnovers in less than three minutes. Scobee then hit a 36-yard field goal to close the half. Linebackers Eric Martin (head) and Brandon Magee (chest) are each out of the game.
End 1Q: Browns 7, Jaguars 7
The Browns’ offense didn’t waste much time on Sunday. On the first offensive snap, quarterback Brandon Weeden threw it up to wide receiver Josh Gordon, who came down with it for a 42-yard gain at the Jaguars’ 5-yard line. Two players later, running back Willis McGahee punched in a touchdown from the 1-yard line. The Jaguars’ offense, led by a nice rushing attack, answered with a touchdown drive of their own, capped by an 18-yard pass from Chad Henne to Clay Harbor. Josh Gordon later added a 23-yard catch and is now over 1,000 yards for the season. Linebacker Eric Martin is questionable to return with a head injury.
Inactives: Browns – Quarterback Jason Campbell (concussion), inside linebackers Craig Robertson (sprained right knee) and Tank Carder (sprained shoulder), offensive tackle Martin Wallace (illness), guard Garrett Gilkey, nose tackle Ishmaa’ily Kitchen and offensive tackle Reid Fragel. Notes: Robertson, a starter, will miss the second consecutive game. He entered this weekend listed as doubtful. Campbell and Carder, Robertson’s primary backup, were ruled out Friday after suffering injuries last week in a 27-11 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Jaguars – Quarterback Ricky Stanzi, wide receiver Stephen Burton (concussion), running back Justin Forsett (foot), cornerback Jamell Fleming, guard Jacques McClendon, wide receiver Jeremy Ebert and defensive end Jeremy Mincey.
Lineup changes: Browns – Brandon Weeden will start at quarterback in place of Campbell, and rookie Darius Eubanks will start at inside linebacker in place of Robertson. Note: Eubanks will start an NFL game for the first time. Jaguars – None announced.
Ryan Lewis’ top storylines: 1. Browns coach Rob Chudzinski on Wednesday named Brandon Weeden the starting quarterback as Jason Campbell deals with the concussion he suffered against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Weeden has completed just 51 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and seven interceptions and has a quarterback rating of 66.0. Among qualifying quarterbacks, only the New York Jets’ Geno Smith (62.1) has been worse. 2. The Browns can probably be written off from the AFC playoff picture. A loss to the lowly Jaguars would be the final nail in the coffin. With a win, the Browns would still be a game behind the Baltimore Ravens (6-6) after their win over the Steelers (5-7) on Thanksgiving Day. The Tennessee Titans, San Diego Chargers, New York Jets and Miami Dolphins all enter the day at 5-6. 3. This game also carries implications toward the NFL Draft. The Browns, through their record and strength of schedule, currently own the No. 8 overall pick in next May’s draft. The Jaguars would have the No. 2 pick. A Browns loss would pull them closer to a top-five selection. 4. Wide receiver Josh Gordon is coming off the best game in franchise history — 14 catches, 237 yards and a touchdown — against the Steelers. He has 988 yards this season and is on pace to break Braylon Edwards’ team record for receiving yards in a season (1,289 yards in 2007). With another 100-yard game, Gordon would join Gary Collins (1965) and Webster Slaughter (1989) as the only Browns receivers with three consecutive 100-yard games. 5. The Browns’ defense is a bit banged up. Cornerback Buster Skrine is probable with a rib injury. Should he be limited or unavailable, Chris Owens would likely step into the starting lineup and rookie cornerback Leon McFadden would take over nickel back duties. At inside linebacker, starter Craig Robertson (knee) is doubtful and backup Tank Carder is out with a shoulder injury. Darius Eubanks could receive the start.
Preview stories via Ohio.com: 1. Josh Gordon clears hurdles with Browns’ record in striking distance. 2. Matchup of the week: Browns cornerback Joe Haden vs. Jaguars wide receiver Cecil Shorts. 3. Five key numbers to know for Sunday. 4. Predictions from Nate Ulrich, Marla Ridenour and Ryan Lewis. 5. Quote of the week. 6. How they rank. 7. NFL acknowledges officials missed crucial call in Browns’ loss to Steelers by levying $15,750 fine for hit on Jason Campbell. 8. Notebook: Injuries open door for rookie linebacker Darius Eubanks' first NFL start. 9. New Browns quarterback Alex Tanney eager for first real shot to show NFL he’s more than just trick-shot artist. 10. As Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden returns to starting lineup, he’s trying to stay upbeat amid negativity from fans. 11. Notebook: Safety T.J. Ward has no regrets about comments after loss to Steelers. 12. Browns pluck trick-shot artist Alex Tanney off Cowboys’ practice squad to serve as backup quarterback.