The Cleveland Browns came into the Week 4 game against the Baltimore Ravens as an important early-season divisional matchup. Both clubs were 2-1-0 and in a three-way tie with the Pittsburgh Steelers for first place.
It appeared the Browns have a good team before kickoff. But a closer look reveals that they beat a mediocre Tennessee Titans squad and an ailing Cincinnati Bengals team yet lost to a bad Steelers roster that Cleveland gave away with too many mistakes to count. And everyone knows, you can’t win games when you turn over the ball repeatedly. So, they should have been 3-0-0 against mediocre teams.
The Ravens are once again a very good football team. Before kickoff, Baltimore had the 11th-ranked offense while Cleveland’s defense was ranked #1. At least Cleveland can say their defense was ranked Number 1 this year because Baltimore shellacked their run defense and put up big numbers in every category en route to a 28-3 beatdown.
In the end, the Browns’ offense could not move the ball while their defense couldn’t stop
QB Lamar Jackson nor cover their tight end. With starting QB Deshaun Watson sidelined, it was predicted that this Cleveland offense could not function correctly.
So who played well for the Browns? Who didn’t?
Special teams - K Dustin Hopkins nailed his 53-yarder like it was easy. P Corey Bojorquez was exceptional today with an astounding eight punts for 373 yards. When your punter outdistances your offense by over 100 yards, you know it is a bad day. Bojo’s average was 46.6 yards per kick and boomed one for 67 yards plus one kick inside the 20 which landed at the seven. The kickoff coverage team was excellent with D’Anthony Bell, Charley Hughlett, Anthony Walker, Pierre Strong, Mike Ford, and Cam Mitchell doing the dirty work.
LB Sione Takitaki - Had several good plays at key moments. Nailed RB Gus Edwards for a short gain in the first quarter when he looked like he was going to get a large gain. With 6:01 left in the second quarter, Ravens RB Justice Hill darted through the line and tried to juke Takitaki who nabbed him after a seven-yard gain. He got Edwards for a three-yard loss midway the fourth quarter which set up a third-and-nine.
The first five Ravens offensive possessions - The first two were not only three-and-outs but impressive for the defense as they gained just 10 yards combined. Baltimore scored a touchdown after the DTR interception, but the game resumed as the defense forced another three-and-out before forcing a fumble. After three punts in five possessions, the game looked to be well in hand.
LB Anthony Walker - Seemed to be everywhere today. Led all tacklers with nine.
No quarterback, no offense - In his first NFL start, Dorian Thompson-Robinson proved one thing: he is a rookie, and therefore plays like a rookie. Very little about his game was good. How many overthrows were counted? At least one because he tossed it 12 yards over the head of WR Donovan Peoples-Jones into the waiting arms of Ravens’ safety Geno Stone who returned it to Cleveland’s 38. Six plays later, Baltimore upped the score to 21-3. The game started off well for DTR when he hit TE David Njoku for a first down on a third-and-five on their opening drive. Then, DTR tossed an illegal forward pass.
Four minutes later he was intercepted when his throw was behind WR Amari Cooper then tipped by nickel back Arthur Maulet to which CB Brandon Stephens caught it and returned it to the Browns’ 10. One play later, Baltimore scored their first points. With 2:52 left in the first half, DTR overthrew on a third-and-six and was almost intercepted. Early in the third quarter, LB Patrick McQueen dropped a sure interception. With 7:05 left in the third quarter, DTR hit CB Ronald Darby in the hands, but he mishandled the errant pass. Early in the fourth quarter on a pass intended for Cooper, Ravens’ LB Roquan Smith almost had him a pick on a third-and-12. His third interception was in mop-up time. Finished going 19-36 for 121 yards with three picks with zero touchdowns. Also had four rushes for 24 yards and was sacked four times. He was the preseason darling, but now he isn’t playing against second-teamers.
Third-and-long - When the Browns needed a good drive, suddenly a penalty or a loss would push them back and put the offense in third-and-long frequently. 11 of 15 third downs were for five yards or greater. Some, are much greater like 15, 21, and 31 yards. Eesch....
LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah - With 1:58 left in the first quarter, JOK had RB Edwards for a loss but slid off the runner’s pads for some positive yardage. Then early in the second quarter, he missed another tackle for loss of RB Justice Hill who then gained seven yards. On a third-and-six at Baltimore’s 42, JOK missed RB Melvin Gordon on the safety valve pass who then sped down the sideline for 23 yards. On that third-and-nine to the Ravens’ FB Patrick Ricard with just under eight minutes left in the game, that was JOK’s man who rumbled past the first down marker. Three plays later Baltimore scored again. It was JOK who missed the tackle on TE Mark Andrews at the three-yard line before he scored.
Covering the tight end - Baltimore had several playmakers out of this game. No matter. Their top two guys have been WR Zay Flowers and TE Mark Andrews. Knowing this, Andrews was open mostly all game. His touchdown catch in the back of the end zone, he was all alone but made a great catch point grab with a superbly placed pass. With 5:56 left in the game, as Jackson rolled out to his left, Andrews had a seven-yard buffer, caught the ball in full gallop, dodged S Juan Thornhill’s attempted tackle at the seven, then juked JOK at the three before jogging into the end zone for his second TD catch. Had only five catches, but all he was doing was getting open. Did the memo not get sent out about this weapon?
CB M.J. Emerson - Not a good day for the talented cornerback. With 2:11 left in the first quarter, Emerson missed a tackle on Flowers. With 36 ticks remaining in the first half, as Jackson scrambled behind the line on a second-and-29, he found Flowers wide open after Emerson abandoned him and then had to recover for a Ravens first down at Cleveland’s 11. Two plays later was Andrews’ back-of-the-end zone catch. Had just four tackles.
Untimely penalties - Just as the Browns were starting something productive, here came the yellow flags. Illegal shift, holding, false start, pass interference, more holding, backward pass, and more false starts. Four other penalties were refused.
Offensive line - Just like in the Pittsburgh game, the quarterback had very little time to throw and almost never went through his progressions. What has happened to the Browns’ pass blocking? And gaining just 93 yards on the ground will not get this team very far. Had 13 rushing yards in the first half. OG Wyatt Teller did not play well as did LT Jedrick Wills. Better get this fixed over the bye week. This group had two holding calls plus two false starts, of which one was refused.
Second-half offense - Punt, punt, punt, interception, punt, interception. Any questions?
Milk Bones – Before you marry a person, you should first make them use a computer with slow internet to see who they really are
DE Ogbo Okoronkwo - Had a good pass rush in intervals. His sack was midway through the third quarter when he sped past LT Daniel Faalele and caught Jackson before he could process the heat. Ogbo made several inside rushing tackles, one for a loss.
DE Myles Garrett - Had his moments, but was not a dominant player. His one sack came right before halftime as he beat LT Patrick Mekari who had zero chance. Garrett did almost have three other sacks, but the elusive Jackson managed to get free or was able to toss the ball away.
Do you think the Browns will be a playoff team?
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