Yet another week without offense continued for the Browns Sunday, as Frank Gore ran for 134 yards and a touchdown to lead the San Francisco 49ers past the Browns 20-10.
Alex Smith completed 15-of-24 passes for 177 yards and a score for the 49ers (6-1), who have won five straight games for the first time since 2001. The Browns drop to 3-4, but did break their 8 quarter streak without a touchdown when Josh Cribbs caught a TD in the fourth quarter.
The touchdown got the Browns back in the game at 17-10, but the Niners were able to put a drive together and end it with a 26-yard field goal from David Akers to put them back up by 10 for the win.
“It’s fun to be on a roll,” said Smith. “It’s why you play, it’s why you put in all the time and sacrifice.”
Michael Crabtree caught five passes for 54 yards and a touchdown and Braylon Edwards returned from a Week 2 knee injury to tally 42 yards on four catches in the win.
Colt McCoy threw for 241 yards — including the 45-yard touchdown to Cribbs — and an interception for the Browns, who were without running back Peyton Hillis for the second straight game.
The team also lost the services of Montario Hardesty, who left the game with strained calf injury. Losing him meant the carries went to Chris Ogbonnaya.
The 49ers thoroughly dominated the first half, controlling the ball for 18:58 and holding the Browns to just 93 total yards.
Gore personally outgained Cleveland over that span, rushing for 103 yards and converting a McCoy fumble into a four-yard touchdown run.
“Frank just has a will to keep going,” said 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh. “He is a great competitor, a consummate team player and the guys up front feed off of him.”
David Akers added a 29-yard field goal and Crabtree caught a two-yard touchdown pass before the Browns finally broke through on Phil Dawson’s 52- yard field goal at the end of the half.
Cleveland moved to the San Francisco 34-yard line midway through the third quarter, but McCoy threw into double coverage and was intercepted in the end zone by Dashon Goldson.
It was the only drive of the quarter for either team that didn’t result in a punt.
The Browns finally found the end zone in the fourth, as McCoy converted a 4th- and-1 with a sneak, then found Cribbs for a 45-yard touchdown with 6:17 remaining.
The 49ers, though, emerged from their second-half slumber, reeling off an 11- play, 67-yard drive. Akers’ 26-yard field goal capped the march with 1:56 remaining, effectively sealing the final margin.
The Browns were outgained 348 to 290, and were not able to keep the ball like they did a week ago against the Seahawks in the 6-3 win. The Niners held the ball for 32:50 to 27:10 for the Browns.
Next Sunday the Browns will be in Houston, as they play the 5-3 Texans at 1pm.