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Browns come up short in Detroit

DETROIT —The Browns looked refocused and recharged for most of Sunday's game against the Lions. It wasn't enough to lift them to their first win of the season.

After a bye week to collect itself, Cleveland fell to Detroit, 38-24, at Ford Field despite rushing for a season-high 201 yards against one of the league's best run defenses.

Indeed, running backs Isaiah Crowell, Duke Johnson Jr. and rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer each finished with at least 50 yards on 33 combined carries. But as has been the case this season, self-inflicted wounds, missed opportunities and 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter proved to be the Browns' undoing. In the process, they slipped to 0-9 and 1-24 over the past two seasons. 

In an unexpectedly high-scoring affair, a turning point came when Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford tossed the go-ahead, 29-yard touchdown pass to tight end Eric Ebron, giving Detroit a 31-24 lead early in the fourth quarter.   [



That all happened after Kizer — who put together a plucky effort in his eighth start — left the game with a ribs injury in the third quarter. His replacement, second-year quarterback Cody Kessler, struggled to keep Cleveland's offensive momentum going and was sacked three times.

Kizer, who spoke of growth and reflection during the bye week, combined for 235 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. The second-round pick from Notre Dame returned to action late in the fourth quarter but was unable to overcome a double-digit deficit.

Crowell led Cleveland with 90 yards on 16 carries. Johnson, who continues to be the team's most consistent playmaker, totaled 88 yards on 16 touches. 

The Browns, who have struggled mightily on offense through the first half of the season, raced out to a 10-0 lead, scoring on their first two drives of the game. 

Detroit (5-4) came roaring back with a run of its own and 17 unanswered points. In the process, the Lions found lanes in Cleveland's typically-stout run defense and delivered a game-changing blow when cornerback Nevin Lawson scored on a 44-yard fumble recovery in the second quarter.

After squandering a chance to tie the game before halftime — Cleveland couldn't get a play off as time expired — the Browns marched down the field in impressive fashion in the second half.

They scored on back-to-back drives (85 yards and 80 yards) leaning on Crowell and Johnson, who gashed the league's sixth-best rushing defense time and time again. 

Much like the first half, though, Detroit regrouped and rallied. The Lions scored the game's final three touchdowns, including a 40-yard catch and run by receiver Golden Tate with under five minutes to play.

The Browns host the Jaguars next weekend at FirstEnergy Stadium.

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