Bottom line: McCown did enough in the second half to keep the Johnny Manziel mania away for another week. The Browns fell behind 20-3 and 27-10 but cut the lead to seven behind second-half touchdown throws to Travis Benjamin and Gary Barnidge. In the final minute, McCown had the Browns at the 30-yard line as they pushed to tie the game, but Raiders veteran Charles Woodson snuffed out the threat with an interception.
There was unrest from the home fans in the first half as the Browns played poorly, but in the second half, McCown and the offense had some of the excitement back. It's tough to bench a 300-yard passer. There’s little reason to think McCown won’t be the starter Sunday in San Diego.
What it means: The first three games of this season were supposed to be winnable for the Browns. But after losing to the Jets and Raiders, the Browns are 1-2 with games against San Diego, Baltimore, Denver, St. Louis, Arizona, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh in the next seven weeks.
What were they thinking? The Raiders led just 3-0 when they lined up to punt with 9:38 left in the first half. With Benjamin returning and Oakland kicking from its 25, the Browns figured to get good field position. The Browns went for the block and brought four rushers clean at Marquette King. But they missed, and when Barkevious Mingo hit King, the Raiders had a first down at the 40. The block would have been nice, but given Benjamin’s ability, it seems the Browns out-thought themselves.
One reason to panic: The Browns were supposed to be built with a strong defense. They also were supposed to stop the run. The defense hasn’t been strong, and the Jets, Titans and Raiders have run the ball down the Browns' gullet. It’s been embarrassing, really, as the Browns have given up 154, 166 and 155 yards rushing the first three games. Any claim that the Browns have a good defense, much less a dominant one, is fraudulent when opposing teams run so easily.
Dubious trifecta: For good measure, the Browns' defense gave up a 300-yard passing game, a 100-yard running game and a 100-yard receiving game. Oakland's Derek Carr threw for 314, Latavius Murray ran for 139 and Amari Cooper had receptions for 134.
Fantasy watch: Benjamin found his way into the end zone with a 4-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter. He had just four receptions but has four receiving TDs in three games.
Ouch: Inside linebacker Craig Robertson left the game in the third quarter with an ankle injury. Cornerback Joe Haden (ribs) and free safety Tashaun Gipson (groin) also left but returned to finish the game.