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Browns rally late but can't overcome early penalties, problems in 27-20 loss to Raiders


CLEVELAND — There were chants for the backup quarterback, missed opportunities, a crucial penalty and a late comeback that fell short.

In other words, like most home games for the Browns.

Quarterback Josh McCown rallied Cleveland in the fourth quarter but was intercepted by Charles Woodson with 38 seconds left as the Oakland Raiders snapped an 11-game road losing streak Sunday with a 27-20 win over the Browns.

Making his home debut after sustaining a concussion in the opener, McCown couldn't keep the momentum that Johnny Manziel created last week and the Browns (1-2) didn't make enough big plays to slow down the Raiders (2-1).

"Just not good enough in all three phases," Browns coach Mike Pettine said. "Can't fall behind in the NFL and then expect to play well late and win. You leave yourself zero margin for error and that's what happened to us. We have to play better in all phases, that's clear. We need to play better before we talk about potentially how good we can be."

Oakland's Derek Carr threw two touchdown passes, Latavius Murray rushed for 139 yards and Oakland rolled up 469 total yards — 155 rushing — against a Browns defense that hasn't lived up to expectations.

"There were times out there where we looked like a scout team," Pettine said.

This wasn't the home debut McCown was hoping for. The 36-year-old, whose younger brother Luke started on Sunday for New Orleans, passed for 341 yards and two touchdowns but was sacked five times. He needed X-rays afterward but wouldn't disclose where he was hurting.

Despite a sluggish start that prompted chants of "John-ny, John-ny" from some disgruntled fans in the first half, McCown had a chance for redemption in the closing seconds.

He drove the Browns from their own 2 to Oakland's 35, but on 3rd-and-14 McCown was a hair late on a sideline pass to Travis Benjamin, giving the crafty Woodson enough time to make a break and snatch the ball, sealing the Raiders' win.

PHOTO: Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Malcolm Smith (53) puts pressure on Cleveland Browns quarterback Josh McCown (13) before making a sack in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Aaron Josefczyk)
Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Malcolm Smith (53) puts pressure on Cleveland Browns quarterback Josh McCown (13) before making a sack in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Aaron Josefczyk)

"I was trying to hold Charles with my eyes and I got him where I wanted to, I just didn't put enough on the ball," McCown said.

McCown's performance will likely lead to more cries from Manziel's supporters for the Browns to start the second-year QB, who threw two long TD passes to Benjamin in his first career win last week against Tennessee. Pettine decided to go back to McCown because he felt the 12-year veteran gave the Browns the best chance to win.

That didn't happen, so the McCown or Manziel debate is not likely to quiet down.

"There were "Johnny" chants?" McCown said. "I understand the situation that I'm in and this part of it. He's an exciting young player that I know people want to see play. I have to just focus on where we are and what we're doing. We had our own problems and our own issues just trying to move the ball and so that's really where my focus is.

"You have to block that stuff out. You can't allow that to become a part of it because then it snowballs."

Pettine said he never considered bringing in Manziel for McCown, who was just 7 of 15 for 104 yards at halftime.

"You can't put a player in a situation where he feels like he's playing with a short leash," Pettine said. "We want our quarterback to play well, we have to play better around him."

Cleveland's special teams made two costly mistakes.

In the second quarter, a roughing-the-kicker call gave the Raiders a fresh set of downs and Carr capitalized with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Andre Holmes, giving Oakland a 10-0 lead.

And after the Browns got within 27-20, Benjamin, who had a 78-yard punt return for a TD last week, fumbled while trying to fair catch a punt with 4:01 left. Oakland recovered, ran time off the clock and then pinned the Browns back at their 2, forcing McCown to go the length of the field.

NOTES: TE Gary Barnidge set career-highs with 6 receptions for 105 yards. ... Pro Bowl CB Joe Haden left with a rib injury in the third quarter but returned. ... WR Dwayne Bowe was inactive after not appearing on the injury report all week. He's been slowed by a hamstring injury.

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PHOTO: A Cleveland Browns fan reacts during the second half of the team's NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Aaron Josefczyk)
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