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5 Observations: WR Brian Hartline suffers season-ending injury at end of big game

1. WR Brian Hartline suffers season-ending injury at end of big game

In the midst of his most productive game in two years, Browns wide receiver Brian Hartline saw his 2015 season come to an end when he broke his collar bone.

Hartline hit the turf hard on his eighth and final catch of the game. The injury will require surgery, Browns coach Mike Pettine said.

"That is a big blow," Pettine said. "That tempers it a little bit because here is a guy that does everything right and gives us all that he has. That is a tough one."

Hartline finishes his first season in Cleveland with 46 receptions for 523 yards and two touchdowns. He had eight catches for 107 yards Sunday, his first 100-yard game since Dec. 1, 2013.

Since he returned from a concussion Nov. 15, Hartline caught 30 passes for 341 yards. He was targeted 42 times during that stretch.

"You are not just losing his production," Pettine said. "This is a guy who is a leader in the locker room, a leader in the meeting rooms. He is a leader on the practice field, and then gameday, he is a guy that wants a ball."

2. Other injuries of note

Defensive back K'Waun Williams injured his shoulder but "checked out OK" after the game, Pettine said.

"We'll just go ahead and double-check it tomorrow but not anticipating an issue there," Pettine said.

Running back Glenn Winston suffered a concussion.

Wide receivers Andrew Hawkins and Taylor Gabriel and defensive backs Justin Gilbert and Joe Haden were not active Sunday because of their respective concussions.

3. Happy to be back

San Francisco kicker Phil Dawson called Sunday a "pretty special day" back in the stadium in which he played for 14 years as a member of the Browns.

Dawson was honored with a brief video segment before the game and during a break in the first quarter. He waved to the crowd and patted his heart when a camera focused on him.

"On behalf of myself and my family, I just have to thank the Browns for that tribute and the fans for the response," Dawson said. "I don't think I have words to express how thankful I am for that. Very special day and very difficult to stay with my normal routine because of all the emotions and all the well wishes that were there at every turn.

"When I'm an old man and my memory's starting to fade, I just hope the good Lord allows me to always hold on to this one because this is one of the rare ones."

4. Block talk

After a perfect start to the season, Browns kicker Travis Coons had a field goal blocked for the third consecutive week.

San Francisco's Quinton Dial swatted Coons' 42-yard attempt midway through the first quarter. All three of the blocks have come on kicks attempted from more than 40 yards.

"It was a low kick," Pettine said. "I know (special teams coordinator Chris Tabor) went and got with Travis after that and ensure from a technique standpoint. He did a good job for the rest of the game getting good lift on the ball. Even when it happened live, my first thought was that that kick was low. We will see the tape and study it and hopefully learn from it."

Coons hit all of his extra points and connected on a 26-yard field goal in the second quarter to move to 20-of-23 on the season.

5. Turning point?

Understandably overlooked among a slew of other plays was a potential momentum-shifting play that was nullified by a penalty.

Leading 10-3 and faced with third-and-26 from the Browns' 4-yard line, Johnny Manziel dropped back deep into the end zone and couldn't get off a pass before he was sacked by San Francisco's Corey Lemonier for an apparent safety. The play would have made the score 10-5 with 3:24 to play and given the ball back to San Francisco with potentially decent field position.

The ball stayed with the Browns, though, as Lemonier was flagged for a facemask. The penalty resulted in a first down for the Browns at the 19-yard line. Cleveland proceeded to convert a few more first downs before Manziel threw his only interception of the game. The 49ers went three-and-out on the ensuing possession and punted.

No harm, no foul.

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