And just like that, the season has changed. The Ravens were the talk of the NFL after their first two wins, and everyone kept talking about the Browns’ offensive struggles. Yet, after four games, the Browns are 2-2 and in first place in the AFC North after defeating Baltimore 40-25.
The Browns received the opening kickoff, but QB Baker Mayfield was sacked on first down, forcing an early punt. When the Ravens got the ball, QB Lamar Jackson was sacked by DE Olivier Vernon on their second play, helping lead to a three-and-out.
Cleveland’s second drive is where they struck. An illegal contact penalty helped extend the drive on a third down incompletion, but as a whole, Mayfield showed great presence in the pocket and hit his targets. On 3rd-and-3 from the 9 yard line, Mayfield found a wide open TE Ricky Seals-Jones on a crossing route for a touchdown to give Cleveland a 7-0 lead.
In the second quarter, the Browns were putting together another good-looking drive. On first down near midfield, they tried a triple reverse that saw WR Odell Beckham Jr. dodge a tackle and heave it deep for WR Damion Ratley. Unfortunately, the pass went right threw Ratley’s hands for an incompletion.
Two plays later on 3rd-and-3, Mayfield was picked off when he threw a quick hitter to WR Jarvis Landry on an RPO — but Landry appeared to stop his route when seeing two defenders in the area.
After the interception, Baltimore’s offense came to life with a 29-yard run by Jackson. Down at the goal line, Jackson found WR Miles Boykin wide open off of a playaction fake for a 9-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-7 with just under two minutes to play in the first half.
On the kickoff, WR Taywan Taylor took the ball out and only got to the 13 yard line. On second down, though, Mayfield found Landry on a crossing route — he spun out of a tackle, and then almost comically stumbled his way 50 yards for a 65-yard gain, down to the 22 yard line.
Cleveland had to go for it on 4th-and-1 with about 30 seconds left at the 8 yard line, due to a bad spot on a Landry catch-and-run. Mayfield’s quarterback sneak got the first down. Ultimately, Cleveland still had to settle for a 24 yard field goal to go into the half with a 10-7 lead.
Jackson’s escapability was a problem to begin the second half, as he quickly drove Baltimore into field goal range. The Browns’ defense got a stop, though, and forced K Justin Tucker to tie the game at 10-10 with a 41-yard field goal.
On 2nd-and-8 of the Browns’ next drive, the Ravens blew a coverage big time, leaving Seals-Jones uncovered up the seam. His catch-and-run went for 59 yards into the red zone.
On the next play, RB Nick Chubb changed direction after the handoff and broke several tackles en route to a 14-yard touchdown to put Cleveland up 17-10 with 9:41 to go in the third quarter.
The Ravens responded with run play after run play, working to near perfection. As they were marching toward the red zone, though, S Jermaine Whitehead delivered an unexpected hit to the side of RB Mark Ingram, jarring the football loose. DE Chad Thomas alertly jumped on top of it for the recovery. It was the first turnover that Baltimore has had all season.
Cleveland capitalized in a major way. After a drop by Beckham, Seals-Jones’ breakout day continued with a sideline catch to move the sticks. After a crazy play with four personal foul penalties (all offsetting), a creative option play pitch forward to Landry went for 29 yards, down to the 2 yard line. One play later, Chubb punched it in for his second touchdown of the day, giving Cleveland a 24-10 lead with 0:53 left in the third quarter.
Baltimore responded with their second touchdown drive of the game. It was capped off by a 3rd-and-goal play from the 8 yard line, when Jackson found TE Mark Andrews wide open for a touchdown after some miscommunication between LB Joe Schobert and FS Damarious Randall. That made it a 24-17 game, but Ravens head coach John Harbaugh decided to go for two. DE Myles Garrett jumped offsides, moving the try to the 1 yard line — which Ingram punched in to make it 24-18 with 9:51 to go in the game and only a six point lead.
A false start began the Browns’ next drive, but then Chubb dazzled Browns fans across the country with an 88-yard dash off of a pitch play for his third touchdown of the game! The two-point conversion was no good, making it a 30-18 game with 9:35 left in the game.
On the Ravens’ next drive, they went pass-happy, and it didn’t work. On 4th-and-3, backed up in their own territory, they went for it. Jackson and Andrews weren’t on the same page, and the pass fell incomplete for a turnover on downs. It led to a 43-yard field goal by K Austin Seibert to make it a 33-18 game with 6:56 to go.
On the next drive from midfield, Jackson took a deep shot to Andrews, but Whitehead did a fantastic job with recovery speed and leaping over the tight end for the interception. It was Jackson’s first pick of the season.
Jermaine Whitehead with the INT❗️ pic.twitter.com/lO6UdjEnke— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) September 29, 2019
Cleveland punted after a three-and-out, but on Baltimore’s next drive, the Browns brought a blitz. Whitehead hit Jackson as he tried to throw, causing a duck that was tipped by DL Devaroe Lawrence, and then Lawrence caught the tip for an interception.
ANOTHER ONE!— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) September 29, 2019
Devaroe Lawrence with the INT! pic.twitter.com/do3VtG0gdV
The Browns ran the ball with RB Dontrell Hilliard on their next drive, and he had success too, eventually punching it in from 1 yard out to make it a 40-18 game with 2:14 to go.
The Browns just basically blitzed Jackson every down on the final drive. It worked for a bit, but Jackson, with 30 seconds left, found WR Willie Snead. He broke a tackle and went 50 yards for a touchdown to end the game with a score of 40-25.
This feels incredible, and sets up for a Monday Night Football showdown with the San Francisco 49ers next week. Let’s go Browns!
- QB Baker Mayfield: 20-of-30 for 342 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT.
- RB Nick Chubb: 20 carries, 165 yards, 3 TD. 3 catches, 18 yards (4 targets).
- WR Jarvis Landry: 8 catches, 167 yards (10 targets).
- WR Odell Beckham Jr: 2 catches, 20 yards (7 targets).*
- TE Ricky Seals-Jones: 3 catches, 82 yards (3 targets). 1 TD.
- S Jermaine Whitehead had a huge game after everyone had been slamming him. He played a big role in all 3 of the Ravens turnovers — forcing the first fumble, making the first interception, and blitzing and hitting Jackson’s arm on the second interception.
- *Coverage or attention to Beckham was responsible for a couple of the Browns’ big plays.
- The Browns out-gained the Ravens 530 yards to 395 yards.