SANTA CLARA, California -- Monday night did not go as planned for the Browns, who lost to the San Francisco 49ers, 31-3, at Levi’s Stadium.
Here are the six plays that significantly influenced the lopsided outcome.
1. Matt Breida’s 83-yard TD run
The Browns received the ball first and saw their drive stall, resulting in a punt. The 49ers spent as little time as possible in scoring their first touchdown of the night.
On a play San Francisco would return to plenty later on, Matt Breida received a handoff and an excellent block from fullback Kyle Juszczyk, then outraced the remainder of the Browns defense for an 83-yard score that saw Breida break 22 miles per hours, per Next Gen Stats. The run ignited an already eager home crowd and served as a preview of what was to come.
2. Richard Sherman intercepts Baker Mayfield
Immediately after the Breida touchdown run, Baker Mayfield and the offense went back to work. Unfortunately, the work included a turnover.
Escaping the pocket in what would become frequent occurrence Monday night, Mayfield threw toward newly activated receiver Antonio Callaway over the middle. Instead of finding the second-year wideout, the ball instead landed in the hands of 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, who made an acrobatic leaping grab to immediately give the ball back to the 49ers.
3. Myles Garrett sack forces 49ers punt midway through second
The Browns hung around for much of the first half despite the mounting sequence of events that would suggest otherwise. Myles Garrett was part of the reason for this, especially when he reappeared in the sack column for the first time since Week 3.
Garrett rushed around right tackle Mike McGlinchey on third-and-3 at the San Francisco 47 and took down quarterback Jimmy Garoppollo, nearly recording a strip sack but settling for a traditional sack. The tackle forced San Francisco to punt with a 14-3 lead, which led to a long Browns drive and the game’s most important play.
Check out photos of the Browns against the 49ers
4. Pass deflects off Antonio Callaway’s hands, intercepted at goal line
Mayfield led the Browns on a seven-play drive that took them from their own 22 to the San Francisco 6 and inspired legitimate hope in the offense for the first time all night, but it was the seventh play that proved to be fatal.
Mayfield dropped to pass and spotted an open Callaway nearing the goal line, firing a pass toward Callaway’s stomach. The ball glanced off Callaway’s open arms upward, where it was intercepted by K’Waun Williams. The turnover cost the Browns a chance to cut San Francisco’s lead to 14-10. They wouldn’t get any closer for the rest of the night.
5. Tevin Coleman TD run just before halftime
Following the interception off Callaway’s hands, the 49ers resumed offensive activities from Cleveland’s 49. It took them just six plays to find the end zone via a Tevin Coleman touchdown run from 19 yards out.
The score completed a 14-point swing in the favor of the 49ers, who took a 21-3 lead and all of the momentum into halftime.
6. George Kittle TD on opening drive of second half
This was the one that made San Francisco’s lead feel monumental.
The 49ers received the opening kick to start the second half and punctuated a night that they’d end up dominating by engineering a nine-play, 90-yard scoring drive. The capper was a 22-yard touchdown pass to tight end George Kittle, who was wide open as he floated toward the end zone. The touchdown put San Francisco ahead 28-3 with almost an entire half left to play. It remained as such for the majority of the final two quarters.