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Browns vs. Ravens Final Score: Cleveland plays like crap in 38-6 loss to begin 2020

The Kevin Stefanski era gets off to a rough start.

Cleveland Browns v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

I didn’t think Cleveland would beat Baltimore in the opener, and you know that the Ravens always have a chance to turn a game into a rout. I had hoped it wouldn’t be as bad as it was, though, as the Browns were blown out 38-6 to begin the Kevin Stefanski era. Special teams were a disaster all-around, and Jackson had no issue carving up the Browns’ defense through the air. Let’s get to the recap of the game.


1st Quarter

On the Cleveland Browns’ first offensive drive of the season, QB Baker Mayfield and company strung together a few good plays before things fell apart, thanks to new Ravens DE Calais Campbell. Campbell batted down two consecutive passes, including a 3rd-and-12 play in which he dropped back, allowing the deflection to land in the diving arms of CB Marlon Humphrey for an interception.

Baltimore used the running game to move down to the goal line, and then QB Lamar Jackson found TE Mark Andrews wide open for a 5-yard touchdown. Andrews did have to make a great one-handed catch, but it gave the Ravens a 7-0 lead mid-way through the first quarter.

The Browns went three-and-out on their second drive, and then P Jamie Gillan lined up for his first punt of the year on 4th-and-4. After he got the snap, Gillan took off along the right side for a fake punt, but Baltimore was ready for it, stopping him and taking over with a short field. This time, Cleveland’s defense, led by DE Myles Garrett, forced a three-and-out to hold Baltimore to a 41-yard field goal by K Justin Tucker. That gave the Ravens a 10-0 lead.

On Cleveland’s next drive, the offense got hot, starting with a 16-yard strike to WR Jarvis Landry, and a 29-yard run by RB Nick Chubb and a 22-yard run by RB Kareem Hunt down to the 2 yard line. Hunt almost fumbled the ball on 1st-and-goal, but then on 2nd-and-goal from the 1 yard line, Mayfield found TE David Njoku wide open for a touchdown. K Austin Seibert missed the extra point off the left upright, making it a 10-6 game near the end of the first quarter.

The Ravens answered with a 47-yard bomb to begin their next drive from Jackson to WR Marquise Brown, despite good coverage from S Andrew Sendejo.


2nd Quarter

At the start of the second quarter, Baltimore faced a 3rd-and-short. They handed the ball to the fullback, who fumbled after immediate contact from DT Larry Ogunjobi, and DE Myles Garrett to recover.

Cleveland drove with an impressive mix of runs and passes, despite being backed up after the recovery. Near midfield, a couple of personal foul penalties gave teams the momentum back-and-forth. First, Matthew Judon hit Mayfield in the back late for a roughing the passer call, and then after that, a false start, facemask penalty on WR Odell Beckham, a sack, and a delay of game made it a 3rd-and-41. Gillan punted on fourth down, a 59-yard boot that was downed at the 1 yard line.

Pinning Baltimore back didn’t matter. They drove 99 yards like clockwork, finishing the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run by RB J.K. Dobbins to give Baltimore a 17-7 lead with just under three minutes to go in the first half.

After the two-minute warning, Mayfield hit Njoku for a 28-yard jump ball up the left side, over the smaller CB Tavon Young, to get into field goal range. Cleveland faced a 3rd-and-2 from the 23 yard line with 0:50 left in the half. After taking a timeout, Beckham was open for a short gain, and he flat out dropped it because he started moving his eyes upfield. Then, making matters worse, Seibert missed from 41 yards out and now Baltimore had a chance to drive.

Of course, just like last year, Baltimore took the short clock and still moved down the field to tack on a touchdown before the end of the half, hitting Andrews for a 9-yard score with six seconds to go in the half to lead 24-6. That’s an incredible swing in the game; if Beckham doesn’t drop the pass from earlier, the drive could’ve continued and it may have been a 17-13 game at the half.


3rd Quarter

The Browns’ defense forced a three-and-out to begin the second half, capped off with a third down sack by CB Tavierre Thomas, leading to a punt. The Browns tried to force feed the ball to Beckham on the next drive, but it wasn’t too pretty. One missed catch on a low ball, three penalties on the defense to extend the drive, a pass that was almost picked off, and a sideline pass that he was out of bounds on. Cleveland committed another facemask penalty on the ensuing punt, setting Baltimore up near midfield. Jackson continued to roll, eventually connecting with WR Willie Snead for a 19-yard touchdown pass to give Baltimore a commanding 31-6 lead mid-way through the third quarter.

The Browns continued to run a pass-heavy offense since they were playing from behind. On 4th-and-4 from the 28 yard line, the Ravens’ blitz finally broke through, and Mayfield was sacked for a loss of 14 yards and a turnover on downs. The Ravens punted on their next drive, and then on the final play of the third quarter, as Chubb was trying to churn out a few extra yards over the middle, Baltimore was able to rip the ball away for a fumble and recovery.


4th Quarter

With the short field, the Ravens continued to pile it on, this time capping things with a 2-yard dive by Dobbins to put Baltimore up 38-6. It was reported that LT Jedrick Wills Jr. suffered a leg injury and had to go to the locker room, which has implications on the short week. Kendall Lamm replaced him at left tackle. After getting to midfield, the Browns turned it over on downs, followed by another Baltimore punt, this time mid-way through the fourth quarter. Both teams did nothing more to close things out.


Up Next

This game got away from the Browns, but you have to move on to be ready for the short week on Thursday against the Bengals. Cleveland can’t become the first 0-2 team in the 2020 season, can they?


Quick Hitter Stats

  • QB Baker Mayfield: 21-of-39 (54%) for 189 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT.
  • RB Nick Chubb: 10 carries, 60 yards (6.0 YPC). 1 fumble. 1 catch, 6 yards (1 target).
  • RB Kareem Hunt: 13 carries, 72 yards (5.54 YPC). 4 catches, 9 yards (6 targets).
  • WR Odell Beckham: 3 catches, 22 yards (10 targets).
  • TE David Njoku: 3 catches, 50 yards (3 targets). 1 TD.

Quick Hitter Notes

  • The chemistry between QB Baker Mayfield and WR Odell Beckham Jr. still sucks, it was a repeat of last season.
  • Why was WR KhaDharel Hodge the No. 3 receiver again over WR Rashard Higgins?
  • Baltimore really exploited the fact that CB Tavierre Thomas was the nickelback.
  • Cleveland’s run defense was decent, but you get the impression that they committed to stopping it to force QB Lamar Jackson to beat them through the air. Jackson was up to the challenge and was awesome with his passes. I’ll stop criticizing his passing ability, the guy is awesome.
  • Special teams gets a big ‘F’ for the Browns. Missed field goals, didn’t convert the fake punt, giving up good returns, committing two 15-yard penalties on defensive special teams, etc. The only saving grace was P Jamie Gillan’s punt to the 1-yard line, which Baltimore then promptly drove 99 yards for a touchdown.
  • Who had TE David Njoku on their scorecard as having the best game?
  • I thought the Browns’ offensive line did a solid job, both in pass protection and in run blocking. The injury to LT Jedrick Wills is concerning, obviously. If Cleveland wasn’t facing a team like Baltimore that can puts the game out of reach easily, the Browns would’ve stuck to their element of running the ball heavy to set up openings in the passing game.
  • This seems appropriate:

Poll

How would you grade the Browns’ Week 1 offense?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    A
    (24 votes)
  • 0%
    B
    (4 votes)
  • 6%
    C
    (84 votes)
  • 31%
    D
    (424 votes)
  • 60%
    F
    (822 votes)
1358 votes total Vote Now

Poll

How would you grade the Browns’ Week 1 defense?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    A
    (21 votes)
  • 1%
    B
    (16 votes)
  • 10%
    C
    (128 votes)
  • 25%
    D
    (329 votes)
  • 61%
    F
    (780 votes)
1274 votes total Vote Now

Poll

How would you grade the Browns’ Week 1 special teams?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    A
    (28 votes)
  • 0%
    B
    (6 votes)
  • 2%
    C
    (33 votes)
  • 8%
    D
    (105 votes)
  • 86%
    F
    (1097 votes)
1269 votes total Vote Now