Josh McCown earns respect of Cleveland Browns teammates

CLEVELAND -- If there were any of his teammates questioning his toughness, Cleveland Browns quarterback Josh McCown earned their respect during the course of a 25-20 loss to the Baltimore Ravens at FirstEnergy Stadium Sunday.

McCown withstood several hard hits into the turf and stayed in for the entire game, completing 20 of his 33 passes for 260 yards with two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions in the loss to the Ravens.

“I’d go to war with that guy anytime,” Browns offensive lineman John Greco said. “The guy gets the [stuff] knocked out of him seven, eight times a game and keeps getting up and making throws. Credit to him. We have got to keep him clean.

“I’d go to war with that guy any day of the week. He has proven himself as a leader each day, every year, every year that I’ve played with him. Keep fighting with that guy.”

The Browns came out firing on all cylinders against the Ravens, and scored on their first three possessions on the way to a 20-2 lead with more than four minutes left to play in the first quarter.

Rookie wide receiver Corey Coleman got things started when he hauled in a 31-yard touchdown pass from McCown and gave the Browns a 7-0 lead over the Ravens with 9:45 to play in the first quarter of the home opener.

Facing a third-and-10 after gaining back the 10 yards from an offensive pass interference penalty, McCown took the shotgun snap from center Cameron Erving, dropped back in the pocket and lofted the pass deep down the left side of the field.

McCown and the Browns went three for three in third-down conversion attempts on the opening drive of the game, and in his first start in 10 months, the veteran quarterback completed three of his four throws for 67 yards with the touchdown.

Prior to the scoring play, McCown completed a 28-yard pass to running back Duke Johnson Jr.

“Josh is unbelievably tough and is a great leader for this team,” Coleman said. “He battled the whole game.”

Following an 85-yard touchdown run from Isaiah Crowell, the Browns’ defense ratcheted up the pressure and forced an interception of Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco. Four plays later, they turned the miscue into a touchdown, as McCown completed an 11-yard pass to Coleman.

“I feel like Josh did a great job,” Crowell said. “I feel like we have got to protect him more. Period. That’s it.”

Linebacker Demario Davis added, “McCown did a wonderful job of stepping in and leading the offense. Those guys came out on fire, and I was happy with the way they played. When the offense gives you 20 points, we have to find a way to come away with a win.”


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