The Cleveland Browns gutted out a gritty win over the San Francisco 49ers in Week 6. Impressively, it was former practice squad quarterback P.J. Walker who helped lead the team to the victory as he filled in for Deshaun Watson.
Walker's day was a bit of a mixed bag, with some nice throws and a few mistakes, but that was expected given such a short turnaround.
However, Walker's miscue in the fourth quarter was simply inexcusable, and head coach Kevin Stefanski held his QB accountable after the game.
After San Francisco took the 17-16 lead, Cleveland had likely one chance to find the go-ahead score. Some big runs by running back Jerome Ford, coupled with two huge 15-yard penalties by the 49ers, put the Browns in the red zone with two minutes remaining.
The clear goal at this point was to bleed the clock with a field goal being a chip-shot from here. However, Walker inexplicably forced a pass to Amari Cooper on a rollout on 2nd-and-9 with 1:55 left in the game.
The throw was incomplete, which stopped the clock. Even worse, it helped save San Francisco a timeout for its upcoming final drive, which wouldn't have been the case if Walker simply tucked the ball and ran inbounds to keep time ticking.
Stefanski treaded carefully to not fully bury his quarterback while reminding the veteran of basic football knowlegede. The Browns head coach said Walker "knew he was not supposed to throw that ball." Yet, Stefanski also praised Walker for being "a fighter" during the team's win.
Given the circumstances that led to Walker's rise to backup QB this week and eventual starter, it's no wonder he was a little shaky, especially against a ravenous 49ers defense. This was the kind of slip-up that nearly cost the Browns the win, though, so he'll need to learn from this moment moving forward.
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