The Browns are at a crossroads. What was supposed to be a showdown for the division crown, now has developed into a survival game for Cleveland.
The Ravens are a really good team and over the years have given the Browns fits. At 6-5-0, any loss makes the playoff seed positions just that much further into the rear view mirror. Now, each contest is a “must” win. In the end, Cleveland bowed 16-10.
So who played well for the Browns against Baltimore in a key Sunday Night matchup? Who didn’t?
Defense! Defense! Defense! - With eight minutes to go in the game, the heavily-favored Ravens only had a 13-10 lead. The defense came to play and four interceptions later had given the Cleveland offense numerous opportunities. Baltimore QB Lamar Jackson had his moments scrambling, but he didn’t kill the defense with any huge gains. And look at how many players chased Jackson on a passing down including DE Jadeveon Clowney and DT Malik McDowell. The effort seemed endless.
Second quarter goal line stand - The Ravens drove down the field with their third possession of the game after converting a fourth-and-two when the Browns had too many men on field. This 18-play drive was about to conclude with a first-and-goal at Cleveland’s three. RB Devontae Freeman made it second-and-goal on the one. Ravens RB Latavius Murray was then smothered by Myles Garrett and Malik Jackson for no gain. On third down, Garrett then deflected Lamar Jackson’s pass which set up a fourth down on the one and at first appeared they were going for it, but a false start penalty pushed them back which forced another field and a 6-0 lead instead of perhaps 10-0.
LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah - The rookie was everywhere tonight and was seen with several QB hurries on the delayed blitz. Was credited with a half-sack when he blitzed off the leftside, then slid inside when Jackson attempted to step up in the pocket. With 4:23 left in the game, it was JOK who ran from his leftside to nail Jackson for a loss. As the third quarter was winding down he nailed Hollywood Brown with an awesome open field tackle. Finished with 12 total tackles, one QB hit, one tackle for loss plus the half-sack.
Thieves who save the day - Baltimore had little problem going up and down the field and just consumed massive play clock in the first half. Fumbles by Jarvis Landry and Baker Mayfield kept giving the ball back to the Ravens when Cleveland had great field position. The only saving grace were interceptions by Denzel Ward, Grant Delpit and Ronnie Harrison. John Johnson’s pick in the second half should be an instructional tool for the younger defensive backs to turn their heads around and locate the ball. Nice work fellas.
DE Myles Garrett - An early sack of Ravens QB Lamar Jackson was purely Superman. First, Baltimore TE Mark Andrews chipped him and then passed him off to fullback Patrick Ricard who is ranked Number 2 at his position. After Garrett leaned enough for Ricard to let loose, he was met by LT Alejandro Villanueva (yes, the former Steeler) who hit Garrett only once before the league’s sack leader laid Jackson out. With 4:25 to go in the second quarter, Garrett teamed up with Malik Jackson for a key third-and-one for no gain at the one.
Special Teams - K Chase McLaughlin had a good string going, now has missed a field goal in consecutive games as he missed one 46-yarder then doinked in another 46-yard attempt that hit the left upright. An Illegal Formation penalty on the punt team called in the first quarter was luckily declined, but then back to punt again halfway through the second quarter there were 12-men on the field right before the snap. PR Demetric Felton could not get any traction all night with one return for minus-3 yards. KR JoJo Natson was invisible with his lone return down at the 15. Punter Jamie Gillan had a decent night and was called on to boot six punts for a 43.5 average with two kicks downed inside the 20.
Anemic offense - Going into this game, Baltimore was 2nd in the league against the rush but 20th in pass defense. Although the Browns are the best rushing team, running against the home team proved to be daunting and was a complete failure. The first half produced 131 total yards with only 21 on the ground, two fumbles lost, two sacks allowed, three punts, a missed field goal, 11:30 of total time used and a mere three points. The second half showed some life, but still only netted 262 yards of offense for the game, allowed three sacks, one almost interception plus lost two fumbles both in scoring position. Horrible, horrible day for the “O.”
Fourth down plays - The Ravens in their first drive of the second half went for a fourth-and-one at their own 45-yard line and as expected went “QB Power Left” for the first down. In the same drive, they were gifted a fourth-and-two with a stupid Defensive Too Many Men on Field which netted five yards. The end result was a field goal. Another fourth down attempt was thwarted, but only by their own false start.
Lack of use of their playmakers - Didn’t Kareem Hunt look good while he was in there? Hasn’t DPJ suddenly become the deep threat? Yet neither was used very much. DPJ just two catches for 10-yards. Hunt would bust out and gain nine yards, then would sit out two quarters.
Tackles Blake Hance and Jedrick Wills - The Ravens were constantly in the backfield on passing downs for most of the game. Hance, who came in for the healthy-now-out again Jack Conklin, could not handle Tyrus Bowser who the TV announcers raved about all game. No wonder. As far as Wills, his man Justin Houston was in jail break mode quite a bit as well. Bowser had three QB hits, one tackle for loss plus an ill-timed sack. With 1:55 left in the game and only down three, a first down play sent Kareem Hunt to Hance’s side on a sweep. As Hance pulled, his whiffed on his man and the only defensive contact he made was when one defender fell on him.
Final drive - Down by six, 1:10 to play on their 25-yard line, with no time outs. What would seem impossible is just the chapters waiting to be written for legends. Mayfield short-arms pass. Jarvis Landry diving grab but dropped. Austin Hooper well-covered, both hands on the ball but dropped. Needing 10 and under duress on fourth down, Mayfield hits David Njoku who was only six-yards into his route before being stopped short by two yards. Mayfield is now 2-8 all-time when needing a touchdown to win a game in the final two minutes.
2021 season - With the loss, Cleveland’s chances of making the playoffs went down to 9%.
Milk Bones – when you meet the right person at the wrong time
S Ronnie Harrison - Key interception in the second quarter. Early in the third with Jackson running for his life, Harrison completely lost where Andrews had meandered into open field for a huge 39-yard gain. Three plays later Baltimore scored a touchdown. Harrison did lead all defensive players with 14 total tackles.
WR Jarvis Landry - Led all receivers with six receptions for 111 yards. His fumble midway in the second quarter was on the Ravens’ 34-yard line and was assuredly at least a field goal attempt. On the final drive dropped a key pass. Was excellent in the short passing game.
S Grant Delpit - Another exceptional play for an interception in the first half, then lost where TE Andrews was in a desperation pass by Jackson for a touchdown early in the third which extended Baltimore’s lead to 13-3.
WR Ja’Marcus Bradley - The youngster just makes the most of his opportunities. Caught both of his targets including one he muscled away from Marlon Humphrey in the third. Finished with just 18-yards but unlike other offensive receivers, had zero drops.
What was the main problem with the offense today?
This poll is closed
Nick Chubb was not "on"
Lack of use of Kareem Hunt
Lack of use of DPJ
No down field play maker
Offensive line issues