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Cleveland at Atlanta

Cundiff field goal leads Browns past Falcons 26-24

By PAUL NEWBERRY
AP Sports Writer
  •  

ATLANTA (AP) After being suspended for Cleveland's first 10 games, Josh Gordon had no trouble remembering how to play the game.

Fortunately for the Browns, Brian Hoyer was able to forget some costly mistakes.

Gordon turned in a huge performance in his first game of the season, catching eight passes for 120 yards, and Hoyer shook off three interceptions to lead a drive in the final minute that set up Billy Cundiff's 37-yard field goal as time expired Sunday, giving the Browns a 26-24 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.

''I knew the guys weren't going to quit on me,'' Gordon said. ''I definitely wasn't going to quit on them.''

Taking advantage of the last of Hoyer's picks, the Falcons drove for Matt Bryant's 53-yard field goal with 44 seconds remaining to seize the lead.

Turns out, they left too much time on the clock.

Hoyer completed four straight passes, including a 24-yarder to Gordon down the middle of the field. The last of the throws went to Miles Austin, who took it to the Falcons 19. The Browns (7-4) hustled to the line, spiked the ball with 5 seconds left, and sent on Cundiff for his fourth field goal of the game.

''Nothing to lose, really,'' Hoyer said. ''Go out and play fearless. That's all I have at that point.''

After serving his punishment for violating the league's substance abuse policy, Gordon started for Cleveland and was targeted a game-high 16 times.

''How did I hold up? Pretty good,'' he said. ''The adrenalin will keep you going.''

The Falcons (4-7) came in on a two-game winning streak and improbably tied for first with New Orleans in the woeful NFC South.

With another fourth-quarter meltdown, Atlanta dropped to 0-7 against teams outside its division.

Georgia native Isaiah Crowell scored a pair of touchdowns for the Browns, but it was Gordon who had the biggest impact.

His longest catch was the last one, taking the Browns to the Atlanta 45. Hoyer followed with a 15-yard completion to tight end Gary Barnidge, who bounced off a couple of tacklers to pick up some extra yards. Austin's 11-yard reception gave Cundiff an easy look.

''All we had to do was keep them from kicking that field goal,'' Falcons linebacker Paul Worrilow said. ''You've got to make a play at that point.''

Cundiff also hit from 33, 37, and 32 yards.

Hoyer, who was 23 of 40 for 322 yards, nearly gave it away for the Browns. The first of his picks turned the momentum in Atlanta's favor, leading to a touchdown that put the Falcons ahead 14-13 at halftime when it looked as though Cleveland might have a commanding lead.

In the fourth quarter, the Browns had first-and-goal at the Atlanta 6 and a chance to make it a two-score game when Hoyer, after scrambling out of trouble, inexplicably threw it up for Gordon in the back of the end zone instead of just tossing it away. Desmond Trufant made a leaping interception to keep Cleveland's lead at 23-21.

Atlanta was forced to punt with just under 4 minutes left, and Hoyer made another huge mistake. This time, he floated a deep pass down the sideline, only vaguely in Gordon's direction, and Dezmen Southward came up with his first career interception.

''I'm so disappointed in myself right now,'' Hoyer said. ''That's not how I play. I don't throw dumb interceptions.''

Matt Ryan guided the Falcons into Bryant's range, but there were again clock-management issues for a team that blew a game against Detroit by not running off enough time in the closing minutes.

On third-and-2 at the Cleveland 35, Ryan's pass was batted down to stop the clock.

The Browns had enough time to win it.

Crowell, who spent one troubled year at the University of Georgia before being kicked off the team, scored on runs of 11 and 26 yards.

Ryan threw for 273 yards and a pair of TDs, going to Julio Jones on a 24-yarder and Jacquizz Rodgers from 8 yards. Steven Jackson scored Atlanta's other TD on a 1-yard run, giving the Falcons a shot after the Browns dominated the third quarter for a 23-14 lead.

Ryan also had an interception and a fumble on back-to-back possessions in the first half, leading to a pair of Cleveland field goals.

Notes: Cundiff came up short on a 60-yarder at the end of the first half, and Devin Hester nearly took it back for an Atlanta touchdown. He went 75 yards before being dragged down at the Cleveland 31. ... Cleveland S Tashaun Gipson was taken off on a cart after injuring his right leg in a collision with teammate Joe Haden. Gipson will have an MRI on Monday.

---

AP NFL websites: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Sun. Nov. 23Final
7610326
Atlanta
(4-7)
7701024
BrownsFalcons
Pass: B. Hoyer (23-40, 322) M. Ryan (27-43, 273)
Rush: I. Crowell (12-88) S. Jackson (13-34)
Rec: J. Gordon (8-120) R. White (9-96)
Scoring Summary
1ST QUARTER
TDJulio Jones catches a 24 yard pass from Matt Ryan (Matt Bryant kick is good). Drive: 10 plays, 57 yards in 4:26.
TDIsaiah Crowell runs for 11 yards (Billy Cundiff kick is good). Drive: 10 plays, 80 yards in 4:20.
2ND QUARTER
FGBilly Cundiff makes 33 yard kick. Drive: 6 plays, 14 yards in 1:37.
FGBilly Cundiff makes 37 yard kick. Drive: 5 plays, 21 yards in 1:55.
TDJacquizz Rodgers catches a 8 yard pass from Matt Ryan (Matt Bryant kick is good). Drive: 7 plays, 50 yards in 1:57.
3RD QUARTER
FGBilly Cundiff makes 32 yard kick. Drive: 11 plays, 66 yards in 5:14.
TDIsaiah Crowell runs for 26 yards (Billy Cundiff kick is good). Drive: 9 plays, 70 yards in 4:58.
4TH QUARTER
TDSteven Jackson runs for 1 yard (Matt Bryant kick is good). Drive: 14 plays, 80 yards in 6:15.
FGMatt Bryant makes 53 yard kick. Drive: 7 plays, 20 yards in 1:58.
FGBilly Cundiff makes 37 yard kick. Drive: 7 plays, 61 yards in 0:44.

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Players of the Game
Atlanta

R. White
Rec 9
Yds 96
Avg 10.7
TD 0
Cleveland

I. Crowell
Rush 12
Yds 88
Avg 7.3
TD 2
 
Cleveland
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
B. Hoyer23/4032203
J. Gordon0/1000
RushingATTYDSTDLG
I. Crowell1288226
T. West1462020
B. Hoyer31209
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
J. Gordon8120024
A. Hawkins593040
M. Austin664013
G. Barnidge223015
T. Gabriel113013
T. West1909
T. Benjamin0000
J. Dray0000
B. Hoyer0000
R. Agnew0000
Atlanta
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
M. Ryan27/4327321
RushingATTYDSTDLG
S. Jackson133417
J. Rodgers31607
D. Freeman5706
M. Ryan2604
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
R. White996032
J. Jones568124
D. Hester450016
L. Toilolo21709
S. Jackson217010
H. Douglas21407
J. Rodgers31118
D. Freeman0000
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
KC 20 Final
OAK 24
TB 13 Final
CHI 21
CIN 22 Final
HOU 13
JAC 3 Final
IND 23
GB 24 Final
MIN 21
DET 9 Final
NE 34
TEN 24 Final
PHI 43
STL 24 Final
SD 27
ARI 3 Final
SEA 19
MIA 36 Final
DEN 39
WAS 13 Final
SF 17
DAL 31 Final
NYG 28
BAL 34 Final
NO 27
NYJ 3 Final
BUF 38