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Browns topple Raiders to end 12-game road losing streak

The SportsXchange

OAKLAND -- The Cleveland Browns can't be called road kill anymore.

Rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden passed for a season-high 364 yards Sunday, and the Browns snapped their 12-game road losing streak with a 20-17 victory over the Oakland Raiders.

Cleveland's road skid ended at the O.co Coliseum, where the slide began Oct. 16, 2011, with a 24-17 loss to the Raiders.

Weeden completed 25 of 36 passes with one touchdown, a 44-yard strike to rookie wide receiver Josh Gordon. Factoring in two interceptions, his passer rating was 88.2. He wasn't around for seven road losses last year, but he understood the importance of ending that streak, as well as winning a road game for the first time in his career and winning back-to-back games for the first time.

"It's big," Weeden said. "Kind of get the monkey off your back. We've been close on the road a couple times against some good teams, and to travel out here, the three-hour time difference, the weather, we were able to find a way to get it done. It's given us confidence moving forward. We still have a young team, and to beat a good team on the road like this can only help us moving forward."

Cleveland (4-8) sent Oakland (3-9) to its fifth straight loss, which is the Raiders' longest skid since a six-game slide in 2007 under Lane Kiffin.

The Raiders were eliminated from playoff contention, but the team's rookie coach, Dennis Allen, had worse news to deal with. His father, former Atlanta Falcon Grady Allen, is seriously ill and in the intensive-care unit at a Dallas-area hospital. Allen left for Texas after the game but expects to be back by Wednesday night to coach the Raiders in their Thursday night home game against the Denver Broncos. Offensive coordinator Greg Knapp will be in charge until Allen returns.

"We got to go back to work and get ready to play for a Thursday night game," Allen said. "Every week is a different week. We're going to get an opportunity to go back out here and play Thursday night. We're going to be ready to play."

Gordon had six catches for a career-high 116 yards and the one touchdown, while teammate Trent Richardson carried the ball 20 times for 72 yards and a score.

Raiders tight end Brandon Myers caught 14 passes, tying Tim Brown's franchise record. He finished with 130 receiving yards and a touchdown. Brown caught 14 passes on Dec. 21, 1997, against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Oakland quarterback Carson Palmer completed 34 of 54 passes for 351 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. His passer rating was 86.3.

"There's nowhere to go but up, unfortunately," Palmer said. "The good thing is we get to play fast. We don't have to think about it for very long. We got to start focusing tonight, we have to start watching tape tonight. See what Denver does, see how much they've changed since the last time we played them. Nothing cures a five-game skid like a win at home on Thursday night against a team like that."

After building a 10-3 halftime lead, the Browns extended their advantage to 13-3 on Phil Dawson's 35-yard field goal with 9:51 left in the third. The Browns appeared ready to take complete control when Weeden connected with wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi for 54 yards to the Raiders' 16. However, the drive stalled at the Oakland 10, and Dawson's 28-yard field-goal attempt was blocked by Raiders defensive tackle Desmond Bryant.

Four plays later, Palmer connected with rookie wide receiver Rod Streater on a 64-yard touchdown pass, cutting Cleveland's lead to 13-10 with 17 seconds left in the third. Streater got behind nickel back Buster Skrine, and Palmer lofted a perfect pass over a leaping Skrine's outstretched hand.

Midway through the fourth, the Raiders marched into Browns territory again and had a first down at the 33. Palmer tried to hit wide receiver Juron Criner deep down the left sideline, and Browns cornerback Sheldon Brown intercepted the pass at the 6.

"Carson threw a few deep balls at me today," Brown said. "On that particular play, I had an opportunity to cover the short field. I lined up in press like I was going to stay down tight. Criner released outside, I bailed out of there. And at that point, I saw Carson throwing the ball, and I just became the receiver and caught it."

Palmer said, "I was trying to take a shot there, go for the touchdown quickly and just didn't put the ball in the right spot, didn't give Juron a chance to make a play on the ball."

Weeden marched the Browns into Oakland territory, hitting Gordon for 11 yards and Benjamin Watson for 22 yards along the way. Weeden gained 3 yards on a fourth-and-inches sneak from the Raiders' 45, giving the Browns a key first down with 4:44 left. On the previous play, Weeden was stopped for no gain on a sneak.

"I had every intention to go for it in that situation, when it's inches," Browns coach Pat Shurmur said. "I thought we had made it on the first, but it's one of those where you can challenge it, but I've been there before. So, used the timeout, discussed it to change the formation, snuck it again."

Weeden's 23-yard pass to tight end Jordan Cameron gave the Browns a first down at the 19. On third-and-1 from the 10, the Raiders were flagged for a neutral-zone infraction. Two plays later, Richardson scored on a 3-yard run, capping a 14-play, 94-yard drive and putting the Browns ahead 20-10 with 3:27 remaining.

"Overall, I think it's probably the biggest drive of the year for us," Weeden said. "We strung together some good plays."

Palmer hit Myers with a 17-yard TD pass with one second remaining, but that was too little, too late.

The Browns took a 3-0 lead on Dawson's 41-yard field goal with 12:59 left in the first half, capping 13-play, 57-yard drive. Weeden's 20-yard strike to Watson gave Cleveland a first down at the Raiders' 28, but the Browns stalled at the 21.

After forcing a Raiders punt, Weeden and the Browns went back to work, starting from their 38. It took them all of two plays and 49 seconds to reach the end zone, Weeden hitting Gordon on a 44-yard touchdown pass.

The drive started with Weeden's 18-yard pass to wide receiver Greg Little. On the next play, Gordon beat Raiders right cornerback Ron Bartell down the left sideline, and Weeden hit him in stride, putting the Browns ahead 10-0 with 10:25 left in the half.

"He was pressed up, kind of gave him a move at the line and just ran around him, on a go route," Gordon said. "The safety wasn't over the top. It was pretty wide open. He just had to throw it at that point. It was a well-executed play."

The Raiders, who were shut out in the first half last week at Cincinnati, finally scored on Sebastian Janikowski's 51-yard field goal with 4:28 remaining in the second quarter.

The Browns quickly drove to the Raiders' 41, but on second-and-6, Weeden tried to hit Gordon deep down the left sideline, and Oakland cornerback Phillip Adams intercepted at the 8.

Janikowski missed wide right on a 61-yard field-goal attempt on the final play of the half.

NOTES: The Browns were hit by news of the suicide Saturday of team employee Eric Eucker, a member of the grounds crew. "This is a terrible tragedy and our heartfelt condolences go out to Eric's family," the Browns said in a statement. "Eric was a good friend and colleague, and an outstanding employee. He will be missed by everyone in the Cleveland Browns' organization." ... Raiders starting running back Darren McFadden and backup Mike Goodson were both inactive due to high ankle sprains, missing their fourth straight games. McFadden and Goodson practiced this week and warmed up before the game but weren't ready to suit up. Allen expects them to play Thursday night against Denver. ... Raiders safeties Matt Giordano and Mike Mitchell, as well as Adams, left the game with concussions. ... Bartell and starting Oakland wide receiver Denarius Moore were benched during the game for poor play. Bartell had to return when Adams was injured. ... Raiders starting defensive tackle Richard Seymour missed his fourth straight game with knee and hamstring injuries. ... Raiders No. 3 quarterback Terrelle Pryor suited up for the first time this year. ... Browns starting free safety Usama Young missed the game with a head injury. Tashaun Gipson started in his place.
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