After a hard-fought loss to the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday, the 2-1 Baltimore Ravens had a chance to take control of the AFC North with a win over the Cleveland Browns in Week 4. The opposite ensued as Baltimore was embarrassed in front of their home crowd by a divisional rival.
Things seemed promising for the defense early as they forced a three-and-out on Cleveland’s first drive of the game. Third-year outside linebacker Tyus Bowser sacked quarterback Baker Mayfield on third down, forcing a punt. Unfortunately, the Ravens did not find any success either on their first offensive drive as a sack from Olivier Vernon set them back far behind the sticks, leading to a punt.
The vaunted defense of the Ravens set the tone for the day on the next drive as they failed to get off the field, allowing the Browns to march down the field for a 13-play scoring drive. Tight end Ricky Seals-Jones found the end zone after the defense failed to account for him on the play. The Browns had an early 7-0 lead.
A couple of drives later, the defense stepped up when cornerback Maurice Canady intercepted Mayfield.
The turnover led to Baltimore’s first score of the day. A 29-yard run form quarterback Lamar Jackson started the drive which ended with him finding rookie wide receiver Myles Boykin for the touchdown.
The game was tied with 1:55 left in the first half. The Ravens would receive the ball to start the second half. It wasn’t time to head to the locker rooms yet, however, as wide receiver Jarvis Landry broke multiple tackles that turned into a 65-yard gain from a screen pass. Cleveland was then able to tack on another three points with a field goal, taking the 10-7 lead into halftime.
Baltimore responded on the opening drive of the third quarter with a field goal of their own, tying the game up again. Unfortunately, it only took three plays for the Browns offense to retake the lead. Seals-Jones found an opening behind the defense for a 59-yard gain and running back Nick Chubb scored from 14-yards out. Cleveland led 17-10.
The Ravens had no problem running the ball on the next drive, but a fumble from Mark Ingram killed all momentum as the Browns took over. The long day continued for Baltimore’s defense as they allowed yet another long scoring drive. Chubb found the end zone for the second time to cap off the drive, extending the Browns lead to 24-10.
Jackson and the offense still had fight though. After a long drive, Jackson threw his second touchdown of the day, this time to tight end Mark Andrews. The score was cut down to 24-18 after a successful two-point conversion from Ingram on the ground.
Down by only six points now, with the game there for the taking, the Ravens had to get stop on defense. An utter nightmare unfolded right before the crowd’s eyes as Chubb ran for an 88-yard touchdown on their first play. With the game on the line, much like a week ago, the defense wilted. The score was now 30-18 with a little over nine minutes remaining in the game.
Cleveland essentially put the game out of reach with another field goal after a turnover on downs from Baltimore. Things only got worse as Jackson threw interceptions on the next two drives. The first was a deep pass intended for Andrews while the second was batted from his hand and intercepted by a defensive lineman.
The Browns showed no mercy as they scored again. It was running back Dontrell Hilliard this time. The game was out of hand now at 40-18. Jackson fought until the end though by connecting with wide receiver Willie Snead IV for a 50-yard touchdown in garbage time.
The game ended with a score of 40-25. The defense was gashed for the third week in a row. The Ravens now fall to 2-2 on the season and lose the lead in the AFC North. With two divisional opponents over the next two weeks, however, they have an opportunity to bounce back.