The Cleveland Browns needed to win out for any chance at a playoff berth, now that percentage is down to 1%. What does this roster have to play for?
For beginners, a roster spot on this club next year. These are professional athletes who live and die by wins and losses. Besides, Cleveland doesn’t have a first-round draft pick for the second year in a row, so tanking doesn’t help.
The Baltimore Ravens are a very good team and are in a dogfight for the division lead with Cincinnati. The offense has not looked good ever since Deshaun Watson returned, and the Ravens’ defense is one of the league’s best.
In the end, despite another lackluster offensive output, Cleveland pulled out a 13-3 victory over their division foes. The win has kept the Browns in the playoff hunt, although by a slim margin.
So who played well for the Browns? Who didn’t?
Fourth down defense - The Ravens had a very good drive going on their first possession but stalled inside the 10-yard line. Facing a third-and-two from the eight, Myles Garrett stopped RB Gus Edwards after just a one-yard gain. Now fourth down needing just one yard, the field goal team, right? Except Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh kept his offense on the field. The ball was given to FB Patrick Ricard who was first stopped by no movement by DT Taven Bryan and then was hit by Jadeveon Clowney with help from John Johnson for no gain. Later, Denzel Ward knocked down a pass on a fourth-and-13 late in the fourth quarter.
S John Johnson - In addition to the fourth down stop assist, Johnson punched the ball out after a 15-yard completion to Demarcus Robinson, and then recovered the loose carom. Early in the third quarter, he laid a lick on RB J.K. Dobbins that de-cleated the talented back which forced a third-and-long. Led all defenders with nine total tackles.
DT Perrion Winfrey - The rookie has been more involved in the run stoppage game, but against Baltimore was in the backfield on numerous passing downs. Teamed up with Myles Garrett on a sack that destroyed a Ravens drive. This young man has really come on in the last three games.
DE Myles Garrett - Had 1.5 sacks and missed out on two others. Was a menace in the offensive backfield mainly in the second half. On Baltimore’s first possession, Garrett slammed RB Patrick Ricard to the turf for a one-yard loss on a third-and-two play. Had three tackles.
CB Denzel Ward - He jumped the pass late as it appeared the receiver was going to catch the short pass. The best portion of this play happened right off the snap. Ward’s man moved to the outside to which Greg Newsome’s man crossed underneath towards the center. Newsome and Ward’s trade-off was smooth and seamless. With just over three minutes left in the game, Ward knocked down a pass at the Ravens’ own 33-yard line intended for James Proche.
S Grant Delpit - The safety was all over the field today and made nine total tackles with two tackles for loss. Came down on the Dobbins long run and was swallowed up, but overall had a good game and has finally learned how to take a man down instead of jumping on him and going for a ride.
Lack of scoring - This offense under Watson has scored a grand total of 29 points in three games. You do the math on the points average per game. The DPJ touchdown catch and run was excellent.
Missed opportunities - In the third quarter Johnson punched out the ball with Cleveland in business at Baltimore’s 25-yard line. Facing a third-and-two, Kareem Hunt gained four yards for an apparent first down except a Donovan Peoples-Jones holding call placed the ball now at the 32 with a third-and-12. The Ravens sent seven to which Watson was sacked. The Browns punted with zero points. Baltimore’s next drive was stopped at Cleveland’s 31-yard line. K Justin Tucker lined up and his 50-yard attempt was blocked by Jordan Elliott. The Browns then drove the field and K Cade York missed a field goal losing more points. Next possession, the Ravens took six plays and went for it on a fourth-and-four from their own 46 only to toss an incomplete pass. 10 plays later, York missed another field goal. Again, nil for points.
Why is it so hard to find a good consistent kicker. Two chip shot field goals and shanks one left and one right. This type of game is the entire reason we drafted him. He’s going to cost us this damn game.— Dan Faber (@dan_faber) December 18, 2022
K Cade York - He made his first two field goal attempts of 47 and 23 yards. Then came another “shank left” kick into the stands for a souvenir, his second such kick of the year. This one was the exact same as when he shanked it badly against Tampa Bay. The problem is that he struck the ball on the right side of the ball which sent the football hard left.
Third-down conversions - The Browns are one of the worst NFL clubs on turning third-down plays into an extension of downs. Was 1-5 in the first half and 4-14 for the game. One of the conversions was because of a penalty that gave them the first. Keeping the football is important and yet this offense continues each game to turn the ball over.
Milk Bones – When the get well card from the insurance company states, “Get well quickly or we will raise your premiums.”
DE Alex Wright - With 13:06 left in the third quarter, Dobbins took the handoff to the rightside, then darted to the outside where he gained 25 yards. Wright had the contain on that side but had driven down on the tackle and was sucked into the middle. With nobody to turn Dobbins into the middle, he simply hit the outside and took off. Earlier in the second quarter, Wright had stuffed Dobbins for a one-yard loss by beating OT Ronnie Stanley which was his only tackle.
Special teams - Punt and kickoff coverage remain excellent with D’Ernest Johnson, Tae Davis, D’Anthony Bell, A.J. Green, and Charley Hughlett making tackles for minimal gain. Baltimore had two kickoff returns for a 20.5 average and one punt return for seven yards. P Corey Bojorquez had another outstanding game with three kicks for a 51.6 average including one that traveled 70 yards and one kick inside the 20. York had good and bad as mentioned earlier.
QB Deshaun Watson - There was some improvement against the Ravens, and also some dismay. His vision with the touchdown pass to DPJ in the second quarter was excellent. However, on another drive inside the 10-yard line, he misread the receiver and tossed it wild. Earlier in the play, TE David Njoku was open on a crossing route. Watson was sacked three times of which one was simply holding onto the ball too long with 4:57 left in the game and needing to milk the clock. Earlier in the fourth quarter, he made a good scramble for a key first down. Made a nice touch pass to Amari Cooper in the second quarter near the sideline that kept a drive going. Finished with 18 completions on 28 passes for 161 yards, and no turnovers.
QB Jacoby Brissett - One play, one sneak, one drive that continued, one more set of downs to help move the clock. Sold!
RB Nick Chubb - Baltimore has a terrific run defense so for most of the game, Chubb was stymied. But in the fourth quarter, he earned his worth as he churned and kept the clock going. Had 99 yards on 21 carries.
What do you think this offense will be like next season when Deshaun has an entire year behind center?
This poll is closed
Expect the old Three Time Pro Bowler to be back
The offense is not scoring points now, and don’t expect that to change next year