Going into this game with division foe Baltimore, and as bad as they have played recently, the Browns were only one game out of first place in the AFC North. A win Sunday would allow them to gain at least one game.
Both clubs live-and-die with the run game. Cleveland was leading the league in rushing yards before the Ravens game while Baltimore was ranked seventh. Of course, RB Nick Chubb holds the bulk of the rushing yardage while QB Lamar Jackson is the opponent’s greatest running threat.
At the final gun, Baltimore came out the winner 23-20.
So who played well for the Browns? Who didn’t?
P Corey Bojorquez - Excellent game for the strong-legged punter. His first kick traveled 59-yards after a three-and-out. On the Browns’ next possession Bojo boomed one 76-yards which came six inches from being downed at the six-inch line. Later after a stalled drive that consumed seven plays and 42-yards to Baltimore’s 46, he pooched the ball just 38-yards but was downed at the eight. Last year’s leading punter had a 54.9 yards per kick average. Today, Bojo netted 57.7. Nice field position weapon. Will expect the AFC Special Teams Player-of-the-Week award to hang nicely in Number 13’s locker.
DE Isaiah Thomas - Filling in for Jadeveon Clowney at left end for most of the game, the rookie played well at times, especially in the second half. He pounced on the loose football with just over three minutes remaining which gave the Browns new life. The key was falling on the ball instead of trying to be the hero and pick up the carom. One minute earlier he had stonewalled Patrick Ricard for no gain on a third-and-one. On the first play of the fourth quarter, he batted down the pass which fell close to an interception.
Defense stopping third downs - In the first half, the Ravens went 0-3 on third downs. The final two quarters did not see much success either as Baltimore was 4-8.
TE David Njoku - Caught all seven of his targets for 71-yards before he injured his ankle. He left the game in the third quarter and was ruled out. At the time, he led all receivers. Has become QB Jacoby Brissett’s favorite target and made some clutch catches. Converted a key third-and-12 in the third quarter and ran over two defenders after dodging DT Broderick Washington at the line of scrimmage. His first-quarter catch of 22-yards placed the Browns at Baltimore’s 18. On the next possession, he cradled a 10-yard reception and the Browns were now at the Ravens’ 15.
Lack of running game - The Browns were the league’s leading rushing team, with RB Nick Chubb topping all runners. Yet, in the first half, he was given the ball five times for 15-yards with a touchdown. No, really. It wasn’t until late in the third quarter and into the final drives was Chubb given any meaningful carries which he delivered on bursts of 12 and 22-yards. His fewest number of yards on any carry in the second half was four yards. He consistently bullied defenders for added yards after contact. Where was he in the offensive game plan in the first half? All game, Kareem Hunt received just five carries. What?
S Grant Delpit - In the second quarter Ravens QB Lamar Jackson did a head bob and Delpit loves head bobs so he missed a key tackle (Editor’s note: the stomach never moves). His holding all on TE Mark Andrews was a head-scratcher on the replay as it appeared Delpit was using an arm bar and not much else, but the penalty for a first down stuck anyways. On the Devin Duvernay punt return, as he cut back it was Delpit and D’Ernest Johnson who each missed the tackle before he headed up the sideline. There was 10:38 to play in the third quarter when Ravens TE Mark Andrews did a head bob to which Delpit bit (once again) and then when straight down the field. Delpit was beaten so he grabbed Andrews to which the hold was called and gave Baltimore a first down. Six plays later they scored a touchdown. With 3:24 left in the game, Delpit did make a shoestring tackle which would have been six.
Run defense - Contain was not an issue today, but arm tackling and not keeping gaps were. DT Taven Bryan had his moments and even his first sack as a Brown, but he was often moved out of harm’s way. Same for Jordan Elliott who had just two tackles despite runners gaining valuable real estate in the area he began with. Baltimore finished with 160 yards with two touchdowns on the ground.
OT Jedrick Wills - Most of the pressure on QB Jacoby Brissett came from the leftside of the line. On different occasions, LB Patrick Queen was lined up in the gap between guard and tackle to which Wills took his defensive end on the outside instead of blocking down on Queen and leaving the DE the responsibility of the blocking back. Queen got three tackles-for-loss and a sack out of the missed reads. Meanwhile, Wills’ man was able to put constant pressure it seemed the majority of times Brissett dropped back to throw.
On a third-and-eight, Houston was able to strip Brissett of the ball for the sack/strip/fumble which Baltimore recovered which led to the Ravens setting up camp at Cleveland’s 25. Eight plays later the Ravens scored seven. With 2:17 left in the game and the Browns needing three to tie, Wills allowed Houston to shave the edge and almost had a sack, but instead, Brissett was able to negate the grab and gain seven yards which kept them in field goal range.
Defense stopping fourth downs - Ravens converted two of two fourth-down attempts, including one for a touchdown.
Phantom calls - It is noted here regarding the two offensive penalties late in the game against the Browns. The pass interference call against WR Amari Cooper was nothing more than an armbar instead of a push-off. The angle from the SkyCam confirmed this while the referee had a sideways view. This negated a huge gain and almost guaranteed points losing by three. The false start call on the field goal attempt should have been offsides that struck OL Jedrick Wills who was hit on the cadence bark and not movement by OG Michael Dunn. Both penalties were crucial calls.
Milk Bones – because “stressed” spelled backward is “desserts”
CB Martin Emerson - The rookie had some good moments filling in for the injured Denzel Ward. On the first play of the second half, he came off the edge and beat Ravens’ tackle Morgan Moses for his first NFL sack. The touchdown pass to Rashod Bateman on Baltimore’s next possession was simply Emerson not getting his head around when the ball was in flight or else he could have batted or intercepted the pass.
He missed a tackle on a key third-and-two with 1:28 to go in the third but drew an unnecessary roughness penalty the play before. With just over 12 minutes to play, Jackson had gotten the edge and was headed upfield when Emerson pushed the quarterback out-of-bounds. Had four total tackles, one sack, and one tackle for loss.
Special Teams - K Cade York was perfect on extra points and was 2-3 in field goals, with the lone miss of a blocked kick. LS Charley Hughlett, usually very steady, rolled the pass to holder Corey Bojorquez which luckily came in a straight line to which Bojo was able to corral the loose ball, and Cade was successful. Bojorquez had an excellent game with three kicks for a 57.7 average. Donovan Peoples-Jones can’t juke anyone on punt returns as evidenced by his two returns for 14-yards. Reserve LB Dakota Allen had a holding call in the second quarter which put Cleveland back to their own 12. S D’Anthony Bell came inches from a punt down at the six-inch line. Allowed Ravens KR Devin Duvernay to ramble 46-yards on a second-quarter punt which ended in three points - the difference in the game.
RB Nick Chubb - Not a great game with just 16 carries for 91 yards and a touchdown along with two catches for 16-yards. Second half Chubb was a lot better than first half Chubb.
LB Deion Jones - The newest member of the defense had a mixed bag in his first game with Cleveland. Early in the fourth quarter he read the run play but was blocked out of his gap which then became a first-down conversion.
He was able to hit Jackson on the fourth-and-one but Jackson’s momentum gained the first down. He was also the recipient of a nasty stiff arm by Jackson which had “welcome to the AFC North” written all over it. With 3:20 left in the game, it was Jones that slammed RB Kenyon Drake for a one-yard loss. Finished with five total tackles and one tackle for loss.
What will be Cleveland’s record when Deshaun Watson is eligible to play against the Texans in Week 13?
This poll is closed
6 or 5 wins
4 or 3 wins