The Cleveland Browns got a win on Saturday afternoon and an early Christmas present Saturday night.
Their 20-17 victory over the San Diego Chargers was their first of the season, ensuring that they won't become the second team in NFL history to go 0-16. And a late two-point conversion by the San Francisco 49ers allowed the Browns (1-14) to retake top position for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft.
The Browns' win had put the 49ers in the driver's seat for the NFL's only reward for a terrible season. But the 49ers (2-13) stormed back from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Rams, and then went for the win after pulling within 21-20 with 31 seconds remaining. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick ran in the conversion to give the 49ers a 22-21 victory.
The unlikely series of events was a reminder that the 49ers hold the tiebreaker with the Browns in draft order, should it come to that. The NFL uses reverse order of strength of schedule in those situations, and entering Week 16, the 49ers (.513) were well below the Browns (.565).
If the 49ers missed the 2-point conversion and lost the game they would have had a 75% chance for the No. 1 overall draft pick. pic.twitter.com/LSvE1FgZd9
— Sharon Katz (@skatz23) December 25, 2016
The Browns can clinch the No. 1 spot with a loss in Week 17 at the Pittsburgh Steelers. The only way the 49ers will pick first is if they lose to the Seattle Seahawks next Sunday and the Browns beat the Steelers.