It wasn’t the prettiest win for the Cleveland Browns, but they got it, defeating the division-leading Baltimore Ravens 13-3. The Browns improved to 6-8 on the year, keeping their ever-so-slight playoff hopes alive. Let’s get to the full game recap.
The Browns received the ball first, but had to begin at the 11 yard line after a holding penalty on the return team. QB Deshaun Watson managed one short completion to RB Demetric Felton, but then RB Nick Chubb was stuffed on second down and then Watson had no where to throw the ball on third down. Cleveland punted right away with the three-and-out.
Baltimore was in a hole to begin their drive after a backwards fumble, but then on 3rd-and-9, TE Mark Andrews drew a pass interference penalty against CB Martin Emerson to move the chains. After that, Baltimore’s ground game was embarrassing Cleveland with runs of 35 and 16 yards.
Facing a 3rd-and-2 at the 8 yard line, RB Gus Edwards only gained 1 yard. On 4th-and-1, the Ravens went for it, and the defense was able to stuff FB Patrick Ricard for no gain and a turnover on downs.
The Browns’ second drive went much better, with Watson throwing a lot of short completions and allowing receivers to run after the catch. After getting into Baltimore territory, Watson tried a playaction pass while a free blitzer came off the edge, sacking him for a seven yard loss. That hurt the drive from continuing further, but the Browns still got in range for a 47-yard field goal. K Cade York connected on it to give the Browns a 3-0 lead in the second quarter.
On the Ravens’ next drive, a shuffle pass to RB Justice Hill on third down got Baltimore out of a 3rd-and-14 situation as DE Myles Garrett went after QB Tyler Huntley, and then the blocking for Hill was good after that. Just shy of midfield, the drive ended with back-to-back incompletions by Huntley, leading to a punt to the 11 yard line.
The Browns went three-and-out and punted to Baltimore, giving them their best starting field position at the 38 yard line. They got a couple of first downs, but stalled after getting into field goal range, including their second fumble of the night that they recovered on third down. K Justin Tucker came on to connect on a 53-yard field goal, tying the game at 3-3 with 5:31 left in the first half.
Chubb got going with a 19-yard run, just past midfield, on 3rd-and-1 to begin the next drive. Then it was WR Daylen Baldwin, fresh off the practice squad, who caught back-to-back passes of 15 and 13 yards, followed by a 13-yard completion to TE David Njoku 4 yard line. On 1st-and-goal, Watson hesitated a bit to his first read, then tried to fit it inside late to Njoku, but it was incomplete. Chubb was stopped for no gain, setting up a 3rd-and-goal heading into the two-minute warning. Out of the two-minute warning, Watson’s corner fade to Njoku was incomplete. Head coach Kevin Stefanski sent York out to kick a 23-yard field goal, giving the Browns a 6-3 lead.
The Ravens were trying to get into field goal range with a slow drive and burning their timeouts. A 19-yard completion to TE Mark Andrews helped set up a 48-yard field goal by Tucker to end the half, but he MISSED IT! That preserved Cleveland’s 6-3 head, with Baltimore getting the ball to start the third quarter.
WHAT HAVE THEY DONE WITH THE REAL JUSTIN TUCKER— Barstool Sportsbook (@BSSportsbook) December 17, 2022
Baltimore had a nearly seven-minute drive going to begin the second half, , as their running game heated up again with runs of 7, 25, 5, and 7 yards on four straight plays. On a 3rd-and-6 from the 24 yard line, Huntley scrambled for 9 yards to move the chains. Huntley was sacked on first down trying to scramble again, though, and then on 3rd-and-10 from the 15 yard line, Huntley’s quick slant to WR Desean Jackson was intercepted by CB Denzel Ward at the 9 yard line!
The offense took advantage. The drive almost stalled early on, but on third down when Watson was being sacked, DE Justin Houston grabbed his facemask for a 15-yard penalty, promptly followed by an 11-yard run by Chubb. Watson then had back-to-back completions to WR Amari Cooper of 16 and 28 yards. Later in the drive, on 3rd-and-goal from the 3 yard line, Watson threw a short pass to WR Donovan Peoples-Jones out of the backfield, but he then cut inward after the catch to catch the two defenders next to him off balance for the touchdown. That gave the Browns a 13-3 lead with 2:10 remaining in the third quarter.
The defense kept the Browns’ momentum going. On the first play of the next drive, Huntley completed a 14-yard pass to WR Demarcus Robinson, but as he was being tackled, S John Johnson punched the ball out for a fumble, and he also came up with the recovery! Cleveland took over at the Ravens 40 yard line.
The Browns’ drive started well with an 8-yard run by Hunt, but then Watson threw a pass in the dirt intentionally on second down (even though he could’ve run for it), and then on 3rd-and-2, the run by Hunt was called back due to a hold. Watson was sacked on third down, and Cleveland punted, with P Corey Bojorquez pinning the Ravens back at the 8 yard line with 0:43 left in the quarter.
Unfortunately, the Ravens gained a ton of ground in that short time, starting with a 38-yard by Dobbins, and following it with a 19-yard catch-and-run by WR Devin Duvernay to start the fourth quarter 35 yards away from the end zone. Much like they’ve done all afternoon, though, Baltimore couldn’t finish the drive. They sent Tucker out to try a 50-yard field goal, and DT Jordan Elliott blocked it! Tucker fell on the loose ball back at the Ravens 48 yard line.
The Browns couldn’t take advantage of their good field position again, though. A third down scramble by Watson gained 17 yards to get the team into field goal range, but then they faced a 4th-and-1 later from the 20 yard line. Rather than going for it, they sent York in for a 38-yard field goal, and he just completely hooked it from the get-go, keeping it a 13-3 game with 10:52 remaining.
For as much as Cleveland’s offense was sputtering, though, the Ravens wanted to one-up them. They picked up one first down, but then had two straight incompletions to set up a 4th-and-4 from their own 46 yard line. They decided to go for it, and on the moving pocket, Huntley’s pass to the sideline was incomplete for a turnover on downs.
This time, the Browns utilized the ground game: 6 yards with Chubb, 3 yards with Chubb. After Watson was stopped for no gain, QB Jacoby Brissett came in on 4th-and-1 for the quarterback sneak. Brissett picked up 3 yards for a first down. Then, Chubb had runs of 8 yards and 4 yards to set up 1st-and-10 from the 22 yard line. After Hunt picked up 1 yard on second down, it was 3rd-and-6, and then Watson took a 9-yard sack to keep the clock rolling. York came on with a chance at some redemption, this time for a 46-yard attempt. He pushed it right the entire way, though, no good again.
Baltimore took over at the 36 yard line with 4:24 to go and one timeout. That’s when Garrett showed up, registering sacks on back-to-back plays. A short completion to Andrews set up 4th-and-13, and Baltimore had to go for it. Huntley’s pass sailed and could’ve been intercepted by Ward, but the knockdown was the better play there for a turnover on downs.
The offense took over again at the Ravens’ 33 yard line, now with just 3:06 remaining. Chubb had runs of 6 and 11 yards to send the game to the two-minute warning, where Watson could kneel it out from there.
It’s nice to get a division win, and to win period. But it is still frustrating that the offense has a total of two touchdowns in Watson’s three starts, isn’t it? Watson played fairly well again today, but still...two touchdowns?
Next up, the Browns play the New Orleans Saints on Christmas Eve in a very winnable game.
- QB Deshaun Watson: 18-of-28 for 161 yards, 1 TD. 6 rushes, 21 yards.
- RB Nick Chubb: 21 carries, 99 yards (4.3 YPC). 0 catches (2 targets).
- WR Amari Cooper: 4 catches, 58 yards (6 targets).
- WR Donovan Peoples-Jones: 4 catches, 31 yards (4 targets), 1 TD.
- DE Myles Garrett: 2 sacks.
- S John Johnson: 9 tackles, 1 forced fumble.