CLEVELAND, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – It took 22 seasons for the Browns to finally play a game as meaningful and significant as Monday night against the Ravens.
It lived up to the hype, and then some.
Cleveland rallied from 14 down, Lamar Jackson had to step away due to cramps in the second half, the two teams combined to score 20 points in the final two minutes, Justin Tucker kicked a 55-yard field goal into the Dawg Pound with 2 seconds remaining and the game ended with a safety and 5-point loss for the Browns, 47-42.
Jackson carved up Cleveland’s defense on the ground for 124 yards and two touchdowns and completed 11 of 17 passes for 163 and a score in the win. The Ravens racked up 493 total yards of offense and the Browns were hapless to stop them for much of the night.
Nick Chubb ran 17 times for 82 yards and a pair of scores in the loss, just the fourth of the season while Kareem Hunt led the Browns 77 receiving yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for a score.
The win pulls the Ravens within a game of the Browns in the standings at 8-5 and positions them to overtake Cleveland by virtue of the tiebreaker should they win out and the Browns lose one more time. Baltimore has the 1-12 Jaguars, 5-8 Giants and 2-10 Bengals remaining while Cleveland wraps with the Giants, winless Jets and 11-2 Steelers.
Baker Mayfield finished 28 of 47 for 343 yards with a pair of touchdowns, an interception and a rushing score.
The Browns wasted no time jumping in front marching 11 plays and 81 yards to open the game capped by Chubb’s eighth touchdown run of the season, right up the middle from 7 yards out, to give the Browns a 7-0 lead. The drive included Chubb catching a 12-yard pass from Landry following a lateral from Mayfield.
Jackson answered racking up 31 yards on four carries on the Ravens’ first possession and capped it with a 5-yard touchdown run also up the middle to tie the game with 3:04 remaining in the opening quarter.
Baltimore gifted the Browns 44 yards on four penalties, including a roughing the passer and a pair of pass interference flags, on Cleveland’s second possession which resulted in a Cody Parkey 39-yard field goal try that sailed wide left to open the second quarter to keep the game tied at 7.
Olivier Vernon and Sheldon Richardson blew up Baltimore’s second possession with back-to-back sacks of Jackson. Richardson upped his total to 4 1/2 in 2020. Vernon dropped Jackson later in the second quarter to give him 7 this season to slow .
With just under 10 minutes to play in the half Myles Garrett went to the medical tent after walking off the field with trainers gingerly holding his right arm. He returned despite suffering an elbow injury but Baltimore took advantage of his brief absence to take their first lead.
The Ravens started gashing the Browns defense early in the second quarter ripping off five plays of at least 10 yards during an eight-play, 80-yard march. Gus Edwards finished it off with an 11-yard touchdown run to put the Ravens on top 14-7 with 7:49 left in the half.
Chubb countered with his second touchdown run of the night, from 14 yards out, to tie the game at 14 with 4:16 left in the half. The run capped a quick seven-play, 75-yard drive that saw Landry convert a third-and-7 with a 10-yard catch and Donovan Peoples-Jones haul in a 37-yard pass from Mayfield deep to the Baltimore 22 to set up the score.
An offensive pass interference on Peoples-Jones wiped out a third down conversion to Landry followed by a questionable intentional grounding penalty on Mayfield, who accurately argued his right hand was hit by Ravens defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, helped set Baltimore up with a chance to score before half.
Jackson’s third completion of the night – 17 yards to Mark Andrews – set up his second rushing TD to give the Ravens a 21-14 lead with 30 seconds remaining in the half. Jackson had 78 yards rushing on 7 keepers in the first 30 minutes.
Jackson started the second half with a bang – a 44-yard run set up Johnson’s second TD run of the night – 19 yards with 12:47 left in the third quarter for a 28-14 lead.
Kareem Hunt plowed in from 5 yards out to pull the Browns within 28-20 with 9:06 remaining in the third quarter. It followed a nice 27-yard reception off a double move to the 5 for Hunt. Parkey pushed the PAT wide of the uprights after an 11-play, 75-yard drive, his second missed kick of the night costing the Browns a total of 4 points.
Mayfield's interception streak ended at 187 attempts when Ravens linebacker Tyus Bowser jumped in front of a ball intended for Rashard Higgins and returned it 17 yards to the 1.
Former Ohio State Buckeye J.K. Dobbins plowed in for the 1-yard touchdown to extend Baltimore’s lead to 34-20 with 4:21 remaining in the third. Justin Tucker’s PAT was blocked by defensive tackle Vincent Taylor to keep it a 14-point spread.
Landry kept the Browns next possession alive with a 12-yard catch on fourth-and-4 at their own 46. Cleveland went for it again on fourth down at the Ravens 21 when Mayfield found Higgins wide open for the touchdown to pull within 34-26.
Stefanski elected to go for 2 and the call paid off when Mayfield’s pass bounced off Hunt's hands into the arms of Peoples-Jones to make it 34-28.
Trace McSorley took over at quarterback with after Jackson went to the locker room to get an IV for cramps and the Ravens went 3-and-out in the blink of an eye.
Mayfield and the Browns capitalized and took the lead with 6:33 remaining in the fourth quarter on his 5-yard touchdown run. Parkey’s PAT was successful after a delay of game penalty to make it 35-34.
McSorley lost 3 on a third and 2 after slipping and injuring himself at the 2-minute warning paving the way for Jackson's heroics.
Jackson threw a 44-yard touchdown on fourth-and-5 to Marquis Brown with 1:51 remaining and Dobbins walked in the 2-point conversion for a 42-35 advantage.
Hunt reached over the goal line with 1:04 remining on a 22-yard pass from Mayfield and Parkey’s PAT tied the game, but Cleveland left too much time on the clock.
Jackson needed just three snaps to move the Ravens into field goal range and Tucker split the uprights with 2 ticks left.
The Browns desperation hot potato play ended with Landry losing the ball out of the back of the end zone for a safety.