Ravens come up empty against inspired Cleveland Browns...

Ravens come up empty against inspired Cleveland Browns...


Ravens come up empty against inspired Cleveland Browns...


You could see it in the emotional close-ups on the CBS TV broadcast of the game—Browns players (including guys on the sideline) were totally into every play of this game. It was a collegiate team atmosphere on the Browns bench. They wanted this upset win over the Ravens.

And they got it— 12-9 in overtime.

After almost 70 minutes of stifling the stumbling Ravens offense, it came down to this:

Greg Joseph‘s low, line-drive kick somehow went through the uprights.

Baker Mayfield, who QB’ed an efficient game for the Browns under pressure, opened his mouth in disbelief. “Did we win?!!”

Yes, Baker, y’all did it…with a lot of help from Ravens mistakes and a general malaise in playcalling from Baltimore’s offensive brain trust, led by OC Marty Mornhinweg.

After Mayfield made a clutch third-down throw to help drive the Browns (2-2-1) into position, Joseph, who was cut by Miami this summer and signed after Week 2 following Zane Gonzalez’s release, came through to give Cleveland its first AFC North win in 19 tries.

“I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to look at the kick or not, so I turned around at the last second and saw it was pretty low,” said Mayfield, who passed for 342 yards and a touchdown in his second NFL start. “It wasn’t a pretty kick but it went in. It also wasn’t a pretty win, but it counts.”

The Ravens (3-2) had plenty of chances, but Joe Flacco threw a costly interception in the first half and the Browns blocked one of Justin Tucker‘s field goal tries.

In his first start at home, Mayfield threw a 19-yard TD pass to Rashard Higgins, but his biggest play was a 39-yard completion to rookie Derrick Willies on Cleveland’s winning drive.

“Baker just makes plays, man, and he knows what to do in tough situations,” Browns guard Joel Bitonio said.

The Ravens, who got another strong effort from their defense, also had a chance to win it in the final minute of regulation, but wide receiver Michael Crabtree couldn’t hold onto Flacco’s pass in the back of the end zone.

“I should have made that catch,” Crabtree said. “The game would have been over. I put that on me. If I have to catch 2,000 balls a week in practice, I’m going to have to do that.”

Tucker then tied it with a 32-yard field goal with 52 seconds left.

On their third possession of OT, the Browns started at their own 5-yard line and were at their 18 facing a third down when Mayfield zipped a pass over the middle to Willies, who didn’t have any catches coming in and was playing after Higgins went out with a knee injury.

Duke Johnson ripped off a 15-yard run and had two more short carries before the Browns sent in Joseph, a college walk-on who was released by the Dolphins after training camp but got a another chance after Gonzalez missed four kicks in a Week 2 loss at New Orleans.

Cleveland’s win was also the Browns’ first in 37 tries on a Sunday, and it gave Jackson his first victory inside the division in three seasons.

Flacco finished 29 of 56 for 298 yards and one interception, but Baltimore’s offense struggled to get into a rhythm all day.

“We had our chances,” Flacco said. “In these kind of games when you have little chances, you have to be able to take advantage of them. The couple that we had, we probably just didn’t execute well.”

Browns rookie cornerback Denzel Ward continues to dazzle. The No. 4 overall draft pick intercepted Flacco in the first half on a tipped ball on a questionable playcall near the goal line (thanks, Coach Marty!), and then blocked Tucker’s 48-yard attempt on the final play of the first half.

Ward has three interceptions this season, and he’s impressed his teammates with his toughness. “The dude was everywhere again,” Browns defensive end Myles Garrett said. “He’s just on top of guys at all times.”

The Browns have an above-average defense (when they’re not playing the Raiders), but the Ravens left at least 17 points on the field due to miscues and mind-boggling playcalls in the red zone.

Cleveland was called for 10 penalties, while Baltimore was only whistled for four, and one of them came in overtime and wiped out a big run by Alex Collins.

1st Downs 25 20
Passing 1st downs 14 13
Rushing 1st downs 10 6
1st downs from penalties 1 1
3rd down efficiency 4-16 6-19
4th down efficiency 1-1 0-1
Total Plays 84 76
Total Yards 410 416
Total Drives 15 15
Yards per Play 4.9 5.5
Passing 294 304
Comp-Att 29-57 25-43
Yards per pass 5.0 6.3
Interceptions thrown 1 1
Sacks-Yards Lost 2-4 5-38
Rushing 116 112
Rushing Attempts 25 28
Yards per rush 4.6 4.0
Red Zone (Made-Att) 0-3 1-3
Penalties 4-41 10-66
Turnovers 2 1
Fumbles lost 1 0
Interceptions thrown 1 1
Defensive / Special Teams TDs 0 0
Possession 33:42 36:16

Game Leaders

Passing Yards

J. Flacco29-56, 298 YDS, 1 INT
B. Mayfield25-43, 342 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT

Rushing Yards

A. Collins12 CAR, 59 YDS
C. Hyde17 CAR, 63 YDS

Receiving Yards

M. Crabtree6 REC, 66 YDS
J. Landry5 REC, 69 YDS

Full Box Score

It was an all-around frustrating performance for the Ravens made even more difficult to take because, as The Baltimore Sun’s Jen Badie put it, “this could have been a Ravens victory.”‘Major Regression’ for the Revamped Offense: Despite finishing with 410 yards of total offense, the Ravens attack didn’t get into sync throughout the afternoon. “This was a major regression for the revamped offense,” Bo Smolka wrote.

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