|Date of game: 11/23/2014
Recap: Atlanta vs. Cleveland
Atlanta, GA (SportsNetwork.com) - Billy Cundiff kicked a 37-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Cleveland Browns to a 26-24 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.
Cundiff's winner came after the Falcons took the lead on Matt Bryant's 53-yard field goal at the other end of the field.
But Atlanta left 44 seconds on the clock -- Matt Ryan threw an incomplete pass on third down to stop it before Bryant's kick -- and Cleveland had all three of its timeouts.
Brian Hoyer, who threw interceptions on back-to-back possessions in the fourth quarter -- including one in the end zone -- completed four passes for 61 yards to set up Cundiff's winning kick.
One of the passes was to Josh Gordon for 24 yards. Gordon returned from a 10- game suspension to make eight catches for a game-high 120 yards.
The Browns (7-4) bounced back from last week's loss to Houston and haven't dropped back-to-back games this season.
"This is as big a team win as we have had," said Browns coach Mike Pettine. "There were times we tried to give this one away and fought back and made plays in the end. I told (our players) afterward I couldn't be more proud."
The Falcons (4-7) had a two-game winning streak snapped.
Hoyer finished 23-of-40 for 322 yards and three interceptions. Isaiah Crowell rushed for 88 yards and two touchdowns in the win.
Ryan was 27-of-43 for 273 yards, one interception and touchdown passes to Julio Jones and Jacquizz Rodgers.
Cundiff kicked a 32-yard field goal on the first series of the second half gave the Browns a 16-14 lead.
Crowell's slashing 26-yard touchdown run on Cleveland's next series -- he cut right, then left, then back to the right side -- pushed the advantage to 23-14.
Atlanta responded with a 14-play, 80-yard drive and pulled within 23-21 on Steven Jackson's 1-yard touchdown with 9:31 remaining in the game.
Desmond Trufant, covering Gordon, intercepted Hoyer in the back of the end zone on a first-down throw from the Atlanta 6-yard line, giving the Falcons possession with 4:51 remaining, but they punted.
Hoyer was intercepted for the third time when his overthrown pass near the right sideline was picked off by Dezmen Southward, giving Atlanta the ball back with 2:42 remaining and leading to Bryant's kick.
"This was a tough loss for our team because it felt like it was our game to win," said Trufant. "You have to give the Browns a lot of credit because they found a way to come out on top. I felt like we made a lot of plays in the game but I guess it was not enough. We just couldn't stop them from scoring the last-second field goal."
On the winning drive, Hoyer picked up four first downs with two 11-yard passes to Miles Austin, a 24-yard throw to Gordon and a 15-yard completion to Gary Barnidge, then spiked the ball to stop the clock.
"It's great to win but I'm really disappointed in myself," said Hoyer. "I feel like I let my team down even though we won. That's not how I play. Obviously it's great to get a win and be 7-4, but I have to do a better job."
Pettine lauded his quarterback's ability to deliver after the interceptions.
"If you are going to be a big-time quarterback in this league, you have to be able to ... compartmentalize and move on to the next play," he said. "I think that speaks volumes about his mental toughness."
Earlier, Jones scored his first touchdown since Week 3 on a 24-yard catch over the middle to give the Falcons a 7-0 lead 9:07 into the game.
Gordon made his first two catches of the season on the ensuing possession, totaling 34 yards to help set up Crowell's 11-yard touchdown run.
Back-to-back turnovers by Ryan led to six Cleveland points for a 13-7 lead.
Joe Haden intercepted a pass to the sideline intended for Jones, leading to Cundiff's 33-yard field goal, and Cundiff added a 37-yarder after Paul Kruger sacked Ryan to force a fumble in Atlanta territory.
Kemal Ishmael picked off an underthrown pass by Hoyer to set the Falcons up at midfield with three minutes left in the first half and Ryan hooked up with Rodgers on an 8-yard touchdown to give the Falcons a 14-13 lead at halftime.
Cleveland lined up for a 60-yard field goal at the end of the half. Cundiff was short and Devin Hester, who has an NFL-record 20 career return touchdowns, returned it 75 yards before he was finally tackled by offensive lineman Joel Bitonio at the Cleveland 31.
Gordon had four catches for 70 yards in the first half.
The star receiver made his season debut after serving a suspension for another violation of the NFL's substance-abuse policy. His initial season-long ban was reduced to 10 games in September after the league and players union agreed on changes to their policies on substance abuse and performance-enhancing drugs.Game Notes
The Browns lead the all-time series 11-3 ... The Falcons host NFL-leading
Arizona next week ... The Browns are scheduled to play at Buffalo next Sunday
... Browns defensive back Tashaun Gipson was carted off the field early in the
fourth quarter with a knee injury after colliding with teammate Haden.