What Moments Cost the Browns Against the Ravens
In what was arguably the game of the season for the NFL, the Browns came agonizingly close in a 47-42 loss to the Ravens. While there were some obvious problems with the Browns game, such as the fact that the defense gave up 45 points (with the final two coming off of the end of game safety), the Browns came back from down 14 points in the second half. They were much aided in their comeback due to Lamar Jackson’s brief exit due to cramps. A couple of key moments cost the Browns and they’ll have to improve in the postseason that they still have an 87% chance of taking part in.
The first major mistake of the Browns game was the missed field goal by Cody Parkey at the start of the second quarter. The Browns were fortunate to have the drive continue, as the Ravens had committed 44 yards worth of penalties, including a defensive pass interference on fourth down. However, when the Browns sent out Parkey, who was 17/19 on the season, he pulled the kick to the left. While there were gusts of wind that went up to 18 miles per hour, the eventual 55-yard field goal that Ravens kicker Justin Tucker hit showed that it was certainly possible to make field goals.
At the end of the first half, the Browns had the ball with a chance to go take the lead into halftime. On third and three, Baker Mayfield appeared to have found Rashard Higgins for a 14-yard gain. This would have set the Browns up inside the Ravens territory, with a great chance to bring momentum into the locker room. However, Donovan Peoples-Jones was called for offensive pass interference and on the new third and 13, the Browns were called for intentional grounding, even though Mayfield’s arm was hit as he went to throw. Due to the Browns being forced to punt, the Ravens got the ball back and would go on to score a touchdown.
On the Ravens touchdown drive at the end of the first half, the play that was the back-breaker was one of those ‘Houdini’ moments that only Lamar Jackson can produce. On a third and 10, the Browns looked to have Jackson wrapped up, but he escaped to his left, before dropping in a pass to tight end Mark Andrews, who found a pocket in the Browns secondary. This took the air out of the stadium, as well as allowing the Ravens to find the end-zone on the next play.
The Browns were able to pull within one score on their first offensive drive of the second half, before getting off the field, after Lamar Jackson missed some of his only passes on the night. However, Baker Mayfield put all his money that Tyus Bowser couldn’t get between Mayfield and Rashard Higgins and Bowser made a ridiculous one-handed catch, as well as an impressive return to set the Ravens up at the one-yard line. The Ravens instantly turned Mayfield’s major miscue into six points, restoring the Browns’ two-score deficit.
The Browns pulled ahead thanks to a bold two-point conversion call, as well as two touchdown drives. They looked to be in a very good position, as Ravens backup QB Trace McSorely had entered the game and was yet to find any momentum. On a pivotal third and two, McSorely slipped and went down with a knee injury. This would have put the Ravens in a very tricky situation, as Jackson and McSorely were the only quarterbacks on the roster. However, Jackson returned to the game for the fourth down. If the Browns had gotten the stop, they could have run out the clock on a major victory. However, Jackson found a wide-open Marquise Brown for a touchdown.
The final moment that cost the Browns a chance for a victory was Kareem Hunt’s touchdown. While scoring a touchdown was a must for the Browns on the drive, they had a minute and 40 seconds to score, as well as three timeouts, they could’ve managed the clock to stop the Ravens from having a chance to score. The Browns spent the entire drive rushing to the line and they should’ve managed their time better. In the victory over the Texans, Nick Chubb gave up a late touchdown. If Kareem Hunt had gone down in bounds here against the Ravens, they might have forced overtime.
While the Ravens went down and kicked a field goal to win the game, there weren’t really any major plays that the Browns could have been able to change. While it is very disappointing to lose a close game, especially when the Browns make some major mistakes, it is encouraging that the Browns were able to take a good team such as the Ravens to the end, even with these mistakes.