Turnovers loom large in Oakland’s loss at Cleveland
By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
CLEVELAND — Brian Hoyer completed 19-of-28 passes for 275 yards and a touchdown, as the Cleveland Browns forced three turnovers to upend the Oakland Raiders 23-13 Sunday afternoon in Week 8 action.
Andrew Hawkins caught a game-high seven passes for 88 yards, including a four-yard touchdown pass from Hoyer to push Cleveland’s lead, 16-6 at 14:51 mark in the fourth quarter.
Browns’ strong safety Donte Whitner leveled Raiders’ running back Darren McFadden late in the third quarter, forcing McFadden to fumble which was recovered by cornerback Joe Haden to give Cleveland the ball clinging to a 9-6 lead. Haden led Cleveland with eight tackles.
Running back Ben Tate finished with 15 carries for 26 yards and a touchdown for Cleveland (4-3), who bounced back after falling to the Jaguars 24-6, in Jacksonville in Week 7. Cleveland was horrendous on third down, converting 2-of-12 opportunities, while gaining 15 first downs.
Paul Kruger sacked Raiders quarterback Derek Carr three times, and recorded a forced fumble.
Oakland (0-7) have now lost their 13 straight game dating back to last season, but this loss is tough to swallow.
Whenever Carr wasn’t under pressure, he actually threw the ball well, completing 34-of-54 passes for 328 and a 10-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Andre Holmes in the fourth quarter to make the score 23-13. Oakland controlled the time of possession, 34:52 to 25:08, but fumbled the ball four times, two by Carr.
The Raiders’ 32nd ranked running attack had its moments, but still couldn’t muster its first 100-yard runner of the season with the aforementioned McFadden finishing with 59 rushing yards on 12 carries. Oakland ran the ball early well in the game, but appeared to abandon the run as Cleveland’s defense started to clamp down as the game wore on.
With Cleveland leading 3-0 in the first quarter and Oakland’s opening drive stalled, the Raiders outsmarted themselves by faking a field goal that lead to place kick holder Matt Schaub throwing an interception to Browns safety Tashaun Gipson.
That was the sign of things to come for Oakland who remains 0-for-2014, and may have squandered one of their best chances to win a football game this season.
The Silver & Black continue their two-game road trip with a voyage to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Super Bowl Champion, Seattle Seahawks in Week 9.
Seattle gritted out a 13-9 victory over the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte Sunday to improve to 4-3 behind quarterback Russell Wilson’s 20-of-32 passing for 199 yards, one touchdown and one interception performance.
Coupled that with games divisional games against Denver, San Diego, and Kansas City, Oakland could be 0-11 by Thanksgiving.
Defensively, linebackers Sio Moore and Miles Burris each recorded nine tackles to lead Oakland.