Cleveland defense rocks Ravens, 13-3

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns

The Browns defense stuck with zone coverage all day, and still the Ravens had no answer for cracking it.

Meanwhile Deshaun Watson threw a touchdown pass in his home debut for Cleveland, leading the Browns to an ugly 13-3 win on Saturday over the Baltimore Ravens, who need injured star quarterback Lamar Jackson to get back quickly.  In his third game after serving an 11-game NFL suspension for alleged sexual misconduct, Watson wasn’t spectacular. But he did enough to help the Browns (6-8) keep their miniscule playoff hopes alive while knocking the Ravens (9-5) off stride.

Baltimore had won six of seven. But the loss knocked the Ravens out of first in the AFC North, dropping them a half-game back of Cincinnati pending the Bengals’ game at Tampa Bay on Sunday.

Watson, who connected with Donovan Peoples-Jones on a 3-yard TD pass in the third quarter, left FirstEnergy Stadium with a game ball tucked under his right arm.  Watson finished 18 of 28 for 161 yards, and added 22 on the ground. He’s still not close to playing like a three-time Pro Bowler or franchise QB, but there’s no doubt he’s getting better every time.

“He’s trending upward, which we knew he would do,” said Browns star Myles Garrett, w ho had 1 1/2 sacks. “He’s a baller.”

Browns rookie Cade York made two field goals — and missed two tries — but outkicked Ravens All-Pro Justin Tucker, the league’s most accurate kicker, who missed a 48-yarder and had another attempt blocked by Cleveland defensive tackle Jordan Elliott.

Jackson missed his second straight game with a knee injury, and the Ravens aren’t the same without his dynamic playmaking ability.

Tyler Huntley, who was only cleared from concussion protocol a few days ago, started again for Jackson but couldn’t get Baltimore going. Huntley went 17 of 30 for 138 yards, but threw a critical interception inside Cleveland’s 10 in the third.

Baltimore’s J.K. Dobbins ran for 125 yards, and the Ravens rolled up 198 yards rushing. But forced to throw while playing from behind in the fourth, Huntley couldn’t come up with a big play.

“We have to just have a better passing game, basically,” coach John Harbaugh said with Huntley sitting nearby. “It’s not a good enough passing game right now across the board to do the things that we’re hoping to do. So, that will be priority one.

“Every area can get better at something in certain things, but from an offensive standpoint, that’s something that we have to go to work on, and we will.”

After Denzel Ward intercepted Huntley, Watson directed a 91-yard scoring drive, delivering his TD strike to Peoples-Jones with 2:10 left in the third.

Team Stats
1st Downs 17 19
Passing 1st downs 6 10
Rushing 1st downs 10 8
1st downs from penalties 1 1
3rd down efficiency 5-12 5-15
4th down efficiency 0-3 2-2
Total Plays 61 64
Total Yards 324 283
Total Drives 9 9
Yards per Play 5.3 4.4
Passing 126 140
Comp-Att 17-30 18-28
Yards per pass 3.8 4.5
Interceptions thrown 1 0
Sacks-Yards Lost 3-12 3-21
Rushing 198 143
Rushing Attempts 28 33
Yards per rush 7.1 4.3
Red Zone (Made-Att) 0-2 1-4
Penalties 3-25 3-32
Turnovers 2 0
Fumbles lost 1 0
Interceptions thrown 1 0
Defensive / Special Teams TDs 0 0
Possession 26:52 33:08

Game Leaders

Passing Yards
T. Huntley

T. Huntley

17-30, 138 YDS, 1 INT
D. Watson

D. Watson

18-28, 161 YDS, 1 TD
Rushing Yards
J.K. Dobbins

J.K. Dobbins

13 CAR, 125 YDS
N. Chubb

N. Chubb

21 CAR, 99 YDS
Receiving Yards
M. Andrews

M. Andrews

3 REC, 31 YDS
A. Cooper

A. Cooper

4 REC, 58 YDS
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