ATLANTA (AP) — Dee Alford intercepted a Jacoby Brissett pass with less than a minute left and the Atlanta Falcons held on for a 23-20 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

The Falcons (2-2) spoiled the Georgia homecoming of Cleveland’s Nick Chubb, who ran for 118 yards and a touchdown while his high school team watched.

Youngho Koo’s 45-yard field goal, his third of the game, with 2:28 left gave the Falcons the lead.

The Browns (2-2) drove past the 50, but on third-and-23, Alford picked off Brissett’s pass intended for David Bell.

“It was a bad decision because he chose it,” Brissett said.

Brissett, filling in for the Browns’ starter while Deshaun Watson is serving an 11-game suspension for alleged sexual misconduct, completed 21 of 35 passes for 234 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions.

“He did some good things,” Brown coach Kevin Stefanski said. “He wants to lose like I want to play back. It’s a really frustrating part of this game when you don’t get it, so we’ll look at it and build from it.”

Atlanta’s Marcus Mariota passed for just 139 yards with an interception. He called the game “a total team win.”

“I think being able to play all three phases like that is really important for us,” Mariota said.

Stefanski guessed he lost points in Cleveland’s opener. On fourth-and-3 from the Atlanta 4, Stefanski left his offense on the field and Brissett, forced to scrimmage, threw an incomplete snap.

“I need to own a big part of it,” Stefanski said. “A lot of things you wish you could take back.”

Brissett said he appreciated the opportunity to go for the touchdown.

“We respect Kevin for that trust,” Brissett said.

The Falcons relied on a balanced running attack led by rookie Tyer Allgaier, who had 10 carries for 84 yards. Caleb Huntley and Cordarrelle Patterson each ran for a touchdown.

“When you can run the ball and they know you’re going to run it, that speaks volumes for your guys,” Falcons coach Arthur Smith said.

Chubb, with his Cedartown (Ga.) High School team watching from the stands, broke free down the left sideline and booted a 28-yard touchdown that gave Cleveland a 20-17 lead and pushed it over 100 yards. Chubb started the day as the NFL’s leading rusher. In the offseason, he worked out with his high school team, about an hour away from Atlanta.

Atlanta tied the score on a 21-yard field goal by Ku.

Huntley had just one carry this season before capitalizing on a second-half opportunity. Huntley, who was on the practice squad before making the active squad Saturday, had eight carries for 54 yards, including a 5-yard scoring run that gave the Falcons a 17-13 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Cleveland more than doubled Atlanta’s total offense in the first half, 245 to 120 yards, but had to settle for a tie at halftime.

Browns tight end David Njoku’s fumble was lost after tying the game. Falcons safety Jaylin Hawkins forced a fumble that was recovered by linebacker Rushan Evans at the Cleveland 31.

Patterson scored 11 yards three plays later to give the Falcons a 10-0 lead.

The Browns tied it on Brissett’s 5-yard field goal and Cade York’s 29-yard field goal.

A week after he had a career-high 141 yards against Seattle for the second time in three weeks, Patterson ran for 38 yards on nine carries. He was limited in practice most of the week by a sore knee.


Rookie Alex Wright and Isaac Rochell were replacements on Cleveland’s defense. Jadeveon Clowney missed his second straight game with an ankle injury. The Browns ruled out Myles Garrett on Saturday, who is recovering from injuries suffered in a car accident on Monday. Garrett injured his shoulder, bicep, suffered several cuts and bruises, and broke a blood vessel in his left eye when he lost control of the car at speed.

Taven Bryan (hamstring) also did not play.


Browns backup Jerome Ford left the game in the first quarter with an ankle injury.


Browns: Host the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.

Falcons: At Tampa Bay on Sunday.