The Browns got the taste of victory they've craved for weeks Sunday, and it was a result of a defensive awakening and one of their best rushing performances in years.
Cleveland sacked San Francisco's Blaine Gabbert a season-high nine times and kept the 49ers outside of the red zone until less than 2 minutes remained in the game. Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson powered the Browns to a season-high 230 rushing yards to take some pressure off quarterback Duke Johnson Jr. in Cleveland's 24-10 victory at FirstEnergy Stadium.
The Browns' win snapped a seven-game losing streak and served as quite the pick-me-up on an unseasonably warm day by the lake. San Francisco moved to 4-9.
Cleveland's 230 rushing yards were 114 more than it's had in any game this season and the most since it had the same number Nov. 7, 2010, against the Patriots. Crowell had 145 with 104 coming on two carries - a 50-yarder in the first half and a 54-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Manziel was solid in his fourth start of the season, completing 21-for-31 passes for 270 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Brian Hartline was his favorite target, catching eight passes for 107 yards, and Gary Barnidge added five for 84 and a touchdown.
Seven different Browns were involved in the nine sacks. Rookie Nate Orchard led the way with the first two of his NFL career, and Armonty Bryant had the same to add to his team lead.
Hanging on to a 10-3 lead, the Browns took command near the end of the third quarter on a lengthy scoring drive that saw Manziel make a number of tough throws to pick up first downs. The quarterback capped the eight-play, 78-yard possession with a third-and-goal throw to Barnidge with 14 seconds left in the quarter.
On the next possession, it was all Crowell and the running game. A Manziel scramble moved the Browns out of the shadow of their own goal post and moved the chains, Johnson followed with a 16-yarder and Crowell broke off his 54-yard sprint down the right sidelines. Crowell punched in his second touchdown of the game on a 3-yard carry with 8:48 to play.
The Browns survived two turnovers and a few missed opportunities to take a 10-3 lead into the half.
Cleveland's touchdown drive featured a heavy dose of running, as Crowell broke off his longest run of the year, a 50-yarder, and Johnson added a 19-yard run to put the Browns deep in 49ers territory. Crowell capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run, his second of the season, with 5:38 to play in the first quarter.
Travis Coons overcame a blocked field goal early in the first quarter to nail a 26-yarder midway through the second quarter to stake Cleveland to a 10-point advantage.
The Browns defense, meanwhile, dropped Gabbert five times and limited the 49ers to two first downs. San Francisco's only points came on a Phil Dawson field goal that was set up by a 35-yard Quinton Patton punt return. The 49ers failed to capitalize on two Browns turnovers -- a Glenn Winston fumble and a Manziel interception late in the first half.
The Browns travel to Seattle next week.