December 20, 2014

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Browns notes: QB Seneca Wallace says loss is his fault

CLEVELAND — Fifteen quarterbacks have now started a game for the Browns since they returned to the NFL in 1999, but Jeff Garcia remains the only one to win his debut.

Seneca Wallace added his name to the list of losers Sunday as Cleveland dropped a 16-14 decision to the Kansas City Chiefs. The eighth-year pro completed 16 of 31 attempts for 229 yards, one touchdown, one interception and a 73.2 passer rating. Unfortunately for Wallace, all of his positive moments were outweighed by one huge negative — a poor second­quarter throw that Kansas City corner­back Brandon Flowers picked off and returned 33 yards for a score.

“My mistake for a touchdown pretty much gave them a win,” said Wallace, who was filling in for injured starter Jake Delhomme. “I threw a ball out to the flat (intended for Chansi Stuckey) that I shouldn’t have. I take full responsibility for us losing this game.

“It’s the mistakes that are killing us, and I had a big part in that today, so we just have to move forward from it.”

Wallace’s statistics would have been better had the Browns’ stone-handed receivers helped him out. Three of his on­target tosses were flat-out dropped, while several others should have been caught.

The longtime Seahawks backup did complete a 65-yard touchdown pass to Joshua Cribbs, which was the longest reception of the latter’s career.

“I felt good today,” Wallace said. “We did some things well that we can grow off of.” With Delhomme’s right ankle still in a walking boot, it’s more than possible Wallace will make a second straight start in Week 3 at Baltimore. Since Cleveland is still looking for its first win, the pres­sure will be even greater in that game.

Wallace, though, remains optimistic about his new team.

“It’s still early in the season and we have a lot of football left, so we can’t let this get us down,” he said. “We’ll look at the tape and figure out what is going on, and try to make those changes.”

Brownie bits

  • Nose tackle Ahtyba Rubin made his first NFL interception after linebacker Matt Roth deflected a Matt Cassel pass at the line of scrimmage. It also marked the first pick by a Cleveland lineman since Kenard Lang on Nov. 30, 2003, at Seattle. “I’m going to keep (the ball) since it’s my first pick (since) high school,” Rubin said. “It’s a pretty good thing to pick a ball off a pretty good quarterback and a pretty good team.” Cornerback Sheldon Brown also had an interception, which was the 20th of his nine­year pro career.
  • Rookie safety T.J. Ward had nine tackles, leading the Browns for the second straight week. Fellow 2010 draft pick Joe Haden made a trio of nice tackles on punt returns.
  • Tight end Benjamin Watson paced Cleveland in catches with four for 62 yards, while Peyton Hillis was its top rusher with 35 yards on eight carries.
  • Coach Eric Mangini, who failed on a replay challenge in the first quarter, got a sympathetic pat on the stomach from owner Randy Lerner following the game.

Special coverage

  • Browns wide receiver Cribbs gained a career-high 74 yards on three receptions and had one rush for 1 yard, but was a non-factor on special teams. The Chiefs chose to squib the ball on kickoffs and used directional punting to avoid Cribbs, limiting him to two total returns for 24 yards. “Obviously, you want to go out there and pound the ball, but (head coach Todd) Haley and (special teams coach Todd) Hoffman thought this gave us the best chance to win,” Kansas City kicker Ryan Succop said.
  • Cleveland’s special teams also were effective against highly touted rookies Dexter McCluster and Javier Arenas. Kansas City’s longest punt return was just 4 yards, while its best kickoff runback went for 20.

Injury update

  • Browns tight end Evan Moore (head) left the game for good shortly after being blasted in the helmet by Kansas City safety Kendrick Lewis. A 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness was assessed. “I did not feel wobbly right away,” said Moore, who returned for one play after the hit. “The symptoms came on.”
  • Cleveland linebacker Kaluka Maiava (right knee) was hurt covering a kickoff return and had already been fitted with a large brace by the time the locker room was opened to the media.
  • Browns defensive end Robaire Smith tweaked an ankle but said he was fine, while linebacker Marcus Benard underwent X-rays for undisclosed reasons.

Out of action

The Browns’ inactives were Delhomme (right ankle), guard Shawn Lauvao (ankle), linebacker D’Qwell Jackson (pectoral), wide receiver Carlton Mitchell, tight end Alex Smith, center Steve Vallos, cornerback Derrick Roberson, and defensive end Derreck Robinson.

Not in uniform for the Chiefs were defensive end Tyson Jackson (knee), tackle Ryan O’Callaghan (groin), safety Jon McGraw (hamstring), cornerback Jackie Bates, fullback Mike Cox, tight end Jake O’Connell, and linebackers Charlie Anderson and Justin Cole.

Extra points

  • A late-arriving crowd of 65,377 was in attendance. Officially, the game was a sellout, as well as the smallest crowd in Cleveland Browns Stadium history.
  • The Browns wore their traditional brown tops and white pants, while the Chiefs were in all-white uniforms.
  • Cleveland and Kansas City are now tied in their all-time series at 10-10-2.

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Contact Brian Dulik at brisports@hotmail.com.