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Browns stun Ravens with comeback, win huge AFC North matchup 33-31

The Browns were down big in the first quarter, but hung tough and defeated the Ravens on the road.

Cleveland Browns v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images

What a comeback! After a terrible start to the game, the Cleveland Browns rallied to defeat the Baltimore Ravens 33-31, and stay very much in the hunt in the AFC North. Let’s get to the full game recap.

1st Quarter

The Browns got off to the worst start that you can for a game — on the first pass attempt from QB Deshaun Watson, he tried to swing it out to the running back in the flat, only for rushing S Kyle Hamilton to tip and pick the ball for a 19-yard touchdown, giving the Ravens a 7-0 handicap.

After the offense got the ball back, Watson was off target and the offense quickly had to punt. Then, the Ravens’ offense made mince meat of the Browns’ defense on their first drive, with it being capped off by a 39-yard touchdown run by RB Keaton Mitchell to put Baltimore up 14-0 less than five minutes into the game.

On the ensuing kickoff, RB Pierre Strong got the ball out to the Browns’ 33 yard line. Two runs by RB Jerome Ford picked up a first down, but on the next play, Watson’s downfield pass for WR Amari Cooper was too long, unlike his passes a week ago against Arizona. A couple plays later, Watson finally got his first completion of the game as he found WR Elijah Moore along the left sideline for 19 yards into Baltimore territory.

On the next play, WR Cedric Tillman delivered a blindside block to DE Kyle Van Noy, and after the play, Van Noy drew a 15-yard penalty for mixing it up with Tillman. A dropped pass by TE David Njoku set up 3rd-and-7 from the 18 yard line, but Watson’s pass for Tillman in the end zone was covered and incomplete. K Dustin Hopkins came on to get the Browns on the board with a 36-yard field goal to make it a 14-3 game.

On Baltimore’s next drive, a second down play saw QB Lamar Jackson bump into his running back on the handoff, leading to a loss and setting up 3rd-and-10. S Juan Thornhill came up with the third down stop, but CB Denzel Ward was flagged for illegal contact on WR Odell Beckham and a first down. A couple plays later, Mitchell gained 32 yards on a screen play up the left sideline. Jackson nearly hit Mitchell on third down for a wheel route touchdown, but LB Sione Takitaki had tight coverage to help force the incompletion. K Justin Tucker hit a 37-yard field goal to make it a 17-3 game.

Cleveland went three-and-out on their next drive after Watson quickly took a sack from DE Jadeveon Clowney on 3rd-and-2.

2nd Quarter

The Ravens went three-and-out to start the second quarter, the first time the defense was able to get them off the field without a score. After a couple of runs by Ford for another first down, Watson ripped a completion to Cooper over the middle for 17 yards to get to midfield. A couple plays later, facing a 3rd-and-6, Watson scrambled and ran for a first down along the right sideline. Ford then broke a tackle and race up the right sideline for a 28-yard gain to the 13 yard line.

A hold by RT James Hudson set the offense back on the next play, though, to 1st-and-20, and ultimately they had to settle for a 28-yard field goal to make it a 17-6 game.

Jackson got the Ravens’ next drive started with a 16-yard completion to WR Zay Flowers along the left sideline. Flowers followed that up with a 14-yard catch-and-run, beating CB M.J. Emerson again. A few plays later, on 3rd-and-2, a false start pushed Baltimore back to a 3rd-and-7. The defense brought the house and Flowers beat S Juan Thornhill, but Jackson overthrew his receiver, forcing Baltimore to send the punt unit out. However, Cleveland had 12 men on the field, so on 4th-and-2, John Harbaugh sent the offense back onto the field. Cleveland sacked Jackson, but Emerson was flagged for defensive holding, leading to a fresh set of downs.

The defense later came up with another third down sack, and this time it stood. Baltimore brought out Tucker for a 55-yard field goal, and it was BLOCKED by DT Jordan Elliott! LB Anthony Walker scooped up the ball and returned it 27 yards to the Ravens’ 38 yard line.

A 4-yard run by Ford set up 2nd-and-6 at the two-minute warning. Watson found Cooper wide open short over the middle, and he sprinted down to the 6 yard line for a 28-yard gain.

On 1st-and-goal from the 6 yard line, Watson tried to keep the ball but was his for a 1 yard loss, setting up 2nd-and-goal from the 7 as he held his ankle a bit gingerly. Ford took the next handoff to set up 3rd-and-goal from the 5 yard line. On third down, Watson couldn’t find anyone and threw the ball away. Hopkins came on and hit a 23-yard field goal to make it 17-9 with a minute to go.

On first down, Jackson scrambled but as he got near the sideline, CB Mike Ford leveled him, sending him out of bounds. On the next play, Jackson tried to throw the ball up the right sideline but it was intercepted by Ford!

That gave the Browns a shot to try to tack on some more points with not much time remaining. They only got in range for a 60-yard field goal attempt for Hopkins, but they took a timeout and tried a Hail Mary with P.J. Walker instead. His pass was well short of the end zone, ending the half.

3rd Quarter

The Ravens drove the ball into Cleveland territory to start the second half. Facing a 3rd-and-6 from the 40 yard line, Jackson zipped a pass to Beckham over the middle, just past the out-stretched hand of Ford. That gamble allowed Beckham to go 40 yards for a touchdown, extending Baltimore’s lead to 24-9.

Cleveland’s offense grinded things out on their next drive, completing a series of third down pass plays, including a catch-and-run by TE David Njoku with defenders surrounding him, to get to the Ravens’ 33 yard line.

That was followed by a 9-yard completion to Njoku, setting up 2nd-and-1. Hunt took the next pitch and gained 13 yards to the 11 yard line.

A 3-yard run by Hunt set up 2nd-and-7. A 5-yard completion to Cooper over the middle made it 3rd-and-2, with it being four-down territory. On 3rd-and-2, Hunt plowed through a tackle on the right for a 3-yard touchdown!

That made it 24-15, with the decision of whether to go for one or two. They went for the two-point conversion. Watson dropped back to pass, but the middle opened up and he took it himself for the conversion to make it 24-17.

Unfortunately, to begin the Ravens’ next drive, TE Mark Andrews broke wide open for a 36-yard gain. A few plays later, DE Myles Garrett and LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah sacked Jackson to set up a 3rd-and-17 back at the Cleveland 46 yard line. Garrett sacked Jackson on the following play too, forcing a punt as the third quarter ended.

4th Quarter

Disaster struck again to open the fourth quarter, as WR James Proche muffed the punt and allowed Baltimore to recover at the 12 yard line.

Cleveland’s defense was hoping to force a three-and-out, but on 3rd-and-9, Jackson’s incomplete pass was negated again by a defensive hold, this time on CB Greg Newsome, to make it 1st-and-goal at the 6 yard line. On the next play, a hold on the Ravens made it 1st-and-goal from the 16 yard line. A few plays later, on third down again, Jackson rolled right and his pass to the end zone was picked off by S Rodney McLeod — but another hold, this time on JOK, gave Baltimore a fresh set of downs, now 1st-and-goal from the 5 yard line.

This time, Baltimore punched it in — first a 4-yard run by RB Gus Edwards, and then Edwards punching it in on the next play to make it a 31-17 game. It was a 7-play, 17-yard drive that lasted 3:17 for Baltimore.

After a sack began the Browns’ next drive, Watson found Cooper for 25 yards over the middle, and a couple plays later, Njoku had a catch-and-run for 23 yards.

A pass interference call on the next play set up 1st-and-goal from the 10 yard line, as Cleveland continued trying to work quick. Two plays later, Watson broke free from the rush and found WR Elijah Moore for a 10-yard touchdown, making it a 24-17 game with 8:57 left in the game.

The Browns’ defense then stunned the Ravens as DE Ogbo Okoronkwo tipped a pass high into the air, and Newsome caught it on the run for the pick six to make it 31-30!

Special teams woes in the second half continued, though, as out of no where, Hopkins pulled the extra point wide to the left, no good, to keep Baltimore on top 31-30 with 8:16 to go.

The defense forced another stop, punting with about 5 minutes remaining. The ball went to the end zone for a touchback, with the game in the hands of the offense, needing a score of any kind. The drive began with a false start on Hudson, making it 1st-and-15. Njoku caught a pass for 11 yards, and then Ford carried for a couple yards to set up 3rd-and-2. Watson completed a sideline pass to Ford to move the chains, but the offense still needed to pick up the pace a bit.

Watson was hit from behind and fumbled on the next play. Wyatt Teller recovered to keep it with the Browns, but now it was 2nd-and-19. Watson got a 17-yard completion to Cooper, setting up 3rd-and-2 at the Browns’ 39 yard line heading into the two-minute warning.

Ford got the carry up the middle to pick up a first down. Watson scrambled for 16 yards on the next play, breaking a series of tackles as the Browns burned their second timeout after the play, now on the verge of field goal range.

The ground game continued churning forward, setting up Hopkins to try to make up for his earlier miscue.

From 41 yards out, the field goal was GOOD, and the Browns won 33-31!

Up next, the Browns take on the Steelers in Cleveland.

Quick Hitters

  • QB Deshaun Watson: 20-of-34 for 213 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT. 8 rushes, 37 yards.
  • RB Jerome Ford: 17 carries, 107 yards.
  • RB Kareem Hunt: 10 carries, 32 yards, 1 TD.
  • WR Amari Cooper: 6 catches, 98 yards.
  • TE David Njoku: 6 catches, 58 yards.
  • DE Myles Garrett: 1.5 sacks.