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3 things we learned about the Browns

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CLEVELAND — Carson Palmer needed 30 minutes of game time to get warmed up on Sunday, but once the 13-year veteran got going there was no stopping him or his Arizona Cardinals in their game with the Cleveland Browns.

The Cardinals overcame a shaky first half by scoring 24 unanswered points in the final two quarters to rally past the Browns 34-20 and raise their record to 6-2.

Palmer threw three touchdown passes in the final 30 minutes after uncharacteristically overthrowing his receivers on three deep throws in the first half.

“We had more energy in the second half,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. “We had better tackling defensively. Offensively we started making plays. We had three wide-open touchdown passes in the first half we don’t normally miss.”

Quarterback Josh McCown threw three touchdown passes in the first half to help the Browns take a 20-7 lead, but the Cardinals fought their way back, starting with a 37-yard field goal by Chandler Catanzaro on the final play of the first half.

The Browns (2-6) have lost five of their last six games.

“It was a frustrating day,” Browns coach Mike Pettine said. “It’s hard to explain all of went wrong in the second half. We did some good things defensively taking the ball away. We just really couldn’t get things going.”

The Cardinals survived four turnovers to get the win. The Browns turned the ball over twice.

Browns cornerback Joe Haden and safety Donte Whitner both left the game with concussions.

What we learned about the Browns:

1. Head coach Mike Pettine says Browns quarterback Josh McCown is “as tough as nails,” and he’s right. McCown, playing with an injured shoulder and sore ribs, threw three touchdown passes in the first half. He was battered in the third quarter but continued to play until being lifted for Johnny Manziel with 2:16 left.

2. The Browns secondary is going to be severely tested in Cleveland’s game Thursday against the Cincinnati Bengals. Cornerback Joe Haden and safety Donte Whitner suffered concussions in the second half Sunday. Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer exploited those injuries. Johnson Bademosi is expected to play safety and Pierre Desir will probably play cornerback against the Bengals.

3. Linebacker Craig Robertson played for the first time after missing four games with an ankle injury. He made a difference in the run defense with five tackles. Cardinal’s running back Chris Johnson rushed for 109 yards, but he took 30 carries to get it. Arizona averaged 3.1 yards a carry. The Browns had been giving up 5.1 yards a try.

Etc.:

–K Travis Coons missed an extra-point attempt with 4:50 left in second quarter after the Browns took a 20-14 lead on a touchdown pass from quarterback Josh McCown to wide receiver Brian Hartline. It was the first miss of the season by the Browns rookie kicker after connecting on 14 field goals and 13 extra points.

–QB Josh McCown threw three more touchdown passes, but he completed only 18 of 34 passes for 211 yards. Notably he passed for only 89 yards in the second half when the Browns were kept off the scoreboard and McCown was battling a rib injury.

–RB Isaiah Crowell led the Browns running backs with just 14 yards on 10 carries. McCown was actually the leading rusher with 18 yards. Crowell had 21 rushing yards at halftime. The Browns totaled 39 yards on the ground in 20 carries.


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