Alright, the high from the game has finally worn off, and now it’s time to get into the meat and potatoes of this game. The Cleveland Browns fought hard and offensively played a very good game against the Baltimore Ravens. Unfortunately, it came down to the last possession.
There was a lot of good, a chunk of bad, and some WTF moments in this game, so let’s get into it.
What Went Right
The offense as a whole, if we’re being honest.
The Browns outpaced the Ravens by more than 100 total yards. Baker Mayfield was making every kind of throw he was asked to make against a great secondary, and the rushing attack lived up to its billing. Mayfield’s athleticism also helped keep a few drives moving, and even scrambled for a rushing touchdown.
Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt were making their own plays as well. Chubb had two rushing touchdowns. Hunt had one of his own and added a receiving touchdown while leading the team in receiving yards. Jarvis Landry also continues to prove why he is Mayfield’s favorite option for tough catches throughout the game, along with a nice trick play that was ran in the first quarter. The offensive line played almost perfectly, allowing no sacks, only a few pressures all game, and mauling in the run game.
The defense didn’t do an amazing job, but capitalized early to notch multiple sacks on Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson and gave the impression that they would stay locked down for most of the game.
That didn’t happen, obviously, so lets get into…
What Went Wrong
Defense… That’s it.
The defense couldn’t do the No. 1 thing I asked of them, which was containing Jackson. Instead, they allowed two rushing touchdowns to him, and allowed him to rush for 124 yards. Not only that, they couldn’t stop a runny nose along the line, allowing Gus Edwards to score two rushing touchdowns and J.K. Dobbins scored one as well. To top it all off, the one stop the defense needed, they choked, allowing Jackson on a scramble to find Marquise Brown for a wide-open touchdown.
After that, the defense had one more chance to stop Jackson, and instead, the Ravens offense got into position for Justin Tucker to kick the game-winning field goal.
I like shootouts in football, but not when I have to talk about it because it means there was almost no defense.
Speaking of kickers… Cody Parkey had two inexcusable misses from manageable kicking positions. Anything over 50 yards is excusable to an extent, but Parkey missed an extra point and a pretty easy field goal that turned out to be huge for this game.
Now let’s get into…
First things first: the Browns have to be reading this stuff because I’ve repeatedly mentioned my love for trick plays, and they’ve called at least one in multiple consecutive games now.
The very first drive of the game, they called a trick play where Landry looked downfield to throw and instead threw back across the field to Chubb on a screen for a first down. It was a great play design that was also built to pick at the weakness of the Ravens to defend screens.
Another “WTF” was the pure stress and excitement due to this game. It truly was “Game of the Year”-level play from both offenses. When Jackson was missing but seemingly came back just in time, it truly was a sight to see.
This game is in my top-five in terms of greatest games I have ever gotten to witness live, and one of the greatest rivalry matchups I have seen as well.
Most expect a tough and physical game between divisional rivals, not shootouts.
Looking ahead, the Browns will be expected to play a physical game in Week 15 against the New York Giants and their top-rated defense.