Blame who you want, but with the late decision to have QB Deshaun Watson sit today (shoulder), the Cleveland Browns’ offense ended up being awful. Rookie QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson got the start, and he looked every bit like a fifth-round rookie who wasn’t close to being ready. Although the Browns’ defense kept them in the game for a quarter, they were finally out-matched during the second quarter, and that’s all the Ravens needed to come away with an easy 28-3 victory. Let’s get to the full game recap.
The Ravens got the ball first, and Cleveland’s defense forced a three-and-out after QB Lamar Jackson couldn’t find anyone on third down and ran out of real estate as he was rolling to the sideline. After Baltimore’s punt, QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson took the reigns on his first start for the Browns. He made a couple of completions, including a 15-yard catch-and-run to TE David Njoku, to get close to midfield. On the next third down attempt, he couldn’t connect with WR Elijah Moore along the right sideline, leading to a punt.
On the Ravens’ next drive, after beginning with a 7-yard pass play, DE Myles Garrett came around the edge to sack Jackson on second down for a loss of 5 yards. A false start pushed them back even further to a 3rd-and-13, and Baltimore only managed a dumpoff before having to punt.
Cleveland took over their next drive at their own 38 yard line. The drive started good with a 7-yard run by RB Jerome Ford, but then DTR tried to go deep on second down. A rusher was in his face and he couldn’t step into it, and was lucky it wasn’t intercepted. Then on third down, he tried to force a pass on the slant and it was behind, tipped, and then picked by CB Brandon Stephens, who got up and returned it 52 yards to the 10 yard line.
After the interception Jackson faked and took it himself up the middle for a 10-yard touchdown run, giving the Ravens a 7-0 lead.
What ensued on the Browns’ next drive was chaos. After a first down run by RB Kareem Hunt and eventually a 3rd-and-1 situation, TE Harrison Bryant motioned under center. He took the snap and pitched it back to DTR, who launched one deep (but again inaccurate) to WR Amari Cooper. The defender still committed a pass interference penalty on Cooper, getting the ball down to the 19 yard line.
The next play was an end around to Moore, but the Ravens had the play sniffed out. Instead of taking the 5 yard loss, Moore turned around and tried to reverse field, leading to a 20-yard loss instead. On 2nd-and-30, DTR ran, but then tried a lateral flip to Bryant that went out of bounds, and DTR was called for an illegal forward pass on that attempt. When the drive was all said and done, it was still salvaged by a successful 53-yard field goal by K Dustin Hopkins to make it a 7-3 game.
The Browns’ defense responded with another three-and-out, including the latter two plays being tackles for loss by defensive backs. After the Ravens’ next punt, DTR would take back over at his own 28 yard line.
Cleveland went three-and-out and had to punt right back to Baltimore, as they would take over at the 18 yard line. On Baltimore’s next drive, the defense looked pedestrian for the first time this season. Baltimore got three straight first downs on the ground, through the air, and then via a pass interference penalty, to get into Cleveland territory. On a 2nd-and-3 handoff, though, the exchange between Jackson and RB Justice Hill missed, leading to a loose football that was recovered by DT Maurice Hurst at the Browns’ 39 yard line.
DTR got one first down to Njoku this time, but on his next 3rd-and-4th attempt, his sideline pass was tipped at the line by DL Kyle Van Noy. P Corey Bojorquez came on and punted from midfield, and it was downed at the Ravens’ 7 yard line.
The Ravens then continued the momentum from their previous drive, mostly with runs on the ground: although a nice play by Jackson to get the ball across the field to TE Mark Andrews for a 36-yard catch-and-run helped too. The Ravens didn’t even face a third down on the drive, going 93 yards in 4:24 to extend the Ravens’ lead to 14-3.
The Browns’ offense still couldn’t find a rhythm, going three-and-out again and punting right back to the Ravens at the 26 yard line. The Ravens were driving again against the Browns and looked to be ready to score again, but then Garrett delivered a 9 yard sack, and a hold on the next play made it 2nd-and-29 from midfield. Jackson said, “no worries,” had tons of time to throw in the pocket, rolled out, and then found WR Zay Flowers for 43 yards to the 11 yard line with 0:25 to go.
A few plays later, on 3rd-and-6 from the 7 yard line, Jackson found Andrews in the back right corner of the end zone, just over the out-stretched hand of the defense to give them a 21-3 lead heading into the half.
The Browns got the ball to begin the third quarter. After DTR ran for one first down, he was sacked for a loss of 11 yards on first down, almost threw a pick on second down, and then on third down, fumbled for an 18-yard loss. On 4th-and-39, the Browns punted, and Baltimore would then begin their opening drive of the half with great field position at the Browns’ 46 yard line.
The defense was able to start making plays again that were reminiscent of their dominant ways, although Baltimore may have also been holding things back a bit. The rest of the quarter just kept seeing the Ravens pin the Browns back, DTR unable to move the offense, and punting right back to Baltimore.
Near the start of the fourth quarter, there was an old “typical Browns” moment where they were going to punt on a 4th-and-11 backed up in their own territory, but Baltimore had 12 men on the field. That made it 4th-and-6, so Kevin Stefanski sent the offense back on the field…only for them to false start, sending the punt unit right back out there.
Later in the quarter, with the offense facing a 3rd-and-10 near midfield, DTR airmailed a pass and was picked off, returned into Cleveland territory again.
The Ravens capitalized with the first score of the second half, as Jackson hit Andrews for an 18-yard touchdown to make it a 28-3 game.
Up next, the Browns head into their bye week. They are 2-2 and will hope to regroup, get Watson’s should healthy, and then return home for a physical match-up against the San Francisco 49ers.
- QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson: 19-of-36 for 121 yards, 3 INT.
- TE David Njoku: 6 catches, 46 yards.
- DE Myles Garrett: 2 tackles, 1 sack.