Browns Stars Call Out 49ers Over Pregame Fight After Upset Win

Defensive end Myles Garrett of the Cleveland Browns reacts after beating the 49ers.

Getty Defensive end Myles Garrett of the Cleveland Browns reacts after beating the 49ers.

The Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers got into a pregame scuffle ahead of their clash on Sunday, setting the tone for what was a physical affair.

The Browns pulled off the upset, squeaking out a 19-17 win with backup quarterback PJ Walker, handing the 49ers their first loss of the season. After the game, Browns safety Juan Thornhill — who was front and center in the confrontation — had some words for the 49ers, specifically Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams.

“I’m going to stand my ground. I fear no man. I say that every time,” Thornhill said from his locker. “I don’t care how big he is, who he is — it doesn’t matter to me. I’m a fighter forever.”

Thornhill said the reason for the hostile encounter was the 49ers standing in their space during warmups, staring them down.

“As a DB unit, we are working out, doing our drills. We see the whole team looking at us, taking up our space. They were basically telling us to get out of the way,” Thornhill said. “I thought that was disrespectful and set us off for sure.”

Other prominently involved in the scrap included Browns wide receiver Elijah Moore, defensive end Myles Garrett and 49ers star Deebo Samuel.

Myles Garrett Saw Fight as a Form of Disrespect

The 49ers had reason to enter their matchup with the Browns with a little swagger in their step. The NFC West powerhouse was fresh off a 42-10 beatdown of the Dallas Cowboys and was one of two undefeated teams left in the NFL.

Garrett saw the pregame scuffle as a bit disrespectful on their home turf but also credited the 49ers for their mentality.

“Maybe a little bit,” Garrett said when asked if it was disrespectful. “Two teams as strong-willed as us, bound to have some skirmishes here and there. They wanted to win just as bad as we wanted to win.”

Garrett didn’t end up with a sack against the 49ers but his impact was felt through his pressure, which was impressive considering he dealt with Williams for most of the afternoon.

Juan Thornhill After Browns Upset: ‘Do You Believe Now?’

Thornhill also had a message on the Browns’ official social media accounts that channeled his inner Deion Sanders.

“Y’all didn’t believe. Do you believe now? They are going to ask us how we did it and you can’t do it. Because we are the best in the world,” Thornhill said. “I appreciate the Dawg Pound for showing up and making noise. Let’s go baby.”

The Browns entered the game as a 9.5-point underdog, without the services of Deshaun Watson. Cleveland’s defense picked up the slack, stymying the 49ers offense and nearly every turn. San Francisco had just 215 yards of offense, with a large chunk of that coming on their final drive as they attempted to kick the game-winning field goal.

Cleveland also had a bit of luck on their side. A questionable unnecessary roughness penalty aided their eventual go-ahead drive and Walker avoided disaster after nearly tossing an interception in the end zone.

The Browns also were the beneficiaries of 49ers rookie kicker Jake Moody missing a 41-yard go-ahead field goal with less than 10 seconds left which sealed the win.

“Coach said all week they were going to throw a couple punches and I think they threw a couple of really good punches at the end,” Thornhill said. “The football gods were on our side. He missed the field goal and I’m happy we got this win.”

The Browns moved to 3-2 with the win and will face an Indianapolis Colts team next week that fell 37-20 to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

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