The Baltimore Ravens, with the Super Bowl XLVII team in attendance, hang on to win a close contest against the Cleveland Browns, 23-20. Here’s a game and drive summary of what unfolded on Sunday. Though some of the demons have been exorcised, seeing as they did win after leading by 10 points heading into the fourth quarter, it wasn’t pretty. The counterpoint: that’s to be expected in a gritty AFC North bout.
After the Ravens won the coin toss and deferred, the defense which was introduced to start the game were molly-whopped by the Browns’ offensive line and running back Nick Chubb, who had five carries for 18 yards and gained 14 yards on a screen pass. He eventually strolled in for a two-yard touchdown. Not an ideal start when Terrell Suggs, Ed Reed and Ray Lewis are in attendance.
light work when you have this O-line— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) October 23, 2022
: #CLEvsBAL on CBS
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The Ravens’ opening drive saw the return of running back Gus Edwards. Confidence in Edwards to step right in, even after not playing a down in 645 days, was shown as Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman ran three-straight runs with Edwards, including a 3rd & 3. Edwards got the first. However, the red zone issues continued as they sputtered out around the 20-yard line and Justin Tucker knocked through the first three points for the Ravens.
The Browns had an option to answer shortly thereafter, but a crucial sack by rookie safety Kyle Hamilton kept them to a field goal. This field goal will be important for later...
FIRST SACK FOR @kyledhamilton_ ❗️❗️— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 23, 2022
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The Browns’ pass rush came to life in the second quarter with defensive ends Jadeveon Clowney and Myles Garrett generating back-to-back pressures. But with the offense and defense struggling, special teams made a play to get things going. Namely, punter Jordan Stout. But, an absolute bomb by punter Jordan Stout put the Browns at their 10-yard line and sparked the team according to Head Coach John Harbaugh.
“We were kind of fighting for field position there and we’ve been on Stout a little bit in practice. We’ve had some fun with him,” Harbaugh said. “He’s got a great attitude and he’s just a supremely confident guy. You just knew he was going to have a game like that.”
As if the Browns’ backs weren’t against the wall, linebacker Patrick Queen blew up first- and second-down runs from Kareem Hunt, pinning them to their one-yard line. Queen credited Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald’s playcalling for his success on the plays.
“Mike called a great call,” Queen said. “Just let me freak, so just went out there and made plays so that was it. Shout out Mike.”
After pinning back the Browns offense, the Ravens made their second special teams splash as Devin Duvernay returned the ball 46 yards on the ensuing punt return.
DEVIN DUVERNAY ALERT— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 23, 2022
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However, another failed red zone drive ended in a 37-yard field goal from Tucker.
The Browns quickly went three-and-out on account of a holding penalty and in a shocking turn of events, the officiating crew picked up a flag on linebacker Odafe Oweh for what would’ve been roughing the passer. Harbaugh gave props to the officiating crew after the game.
“I tell you I give [Referee] Shawn [Smith] a lot of credit because that’s not something you see very often,” Harbaugh said. “I think for them to have the wherewithal—I don’t know what the right word is exactly, just the desire to get it right. To take the time and see what it really was instead of just keeping the flag on the ground, was good. And not just because it was us, but because it wasn’t roughing the passer.”
It appeared the offense finally found their juice as Lamar Jackson found wide receiver Rashod Bateman over the middle for a catch-and-run to move the chains. Then, in the arms of Gus Edwards, the pigskin found pay-dirt in the end zone. Edwards said he’ll be hanging onto the first touchdown ball as a keepsake.
THE GUS BUS IS BACK❗️❗️❗️— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 23, 2022
Tune in on CBS! @GodsGiftGus13 pic.twitter.com/XMA7aPiv5i
The Ravens closed out the half with outside linebacker Justin Houston notching back-to-back sacks to keep kicker Cade York from attempting to tie it up 13-13 before halftime.
After a swift three-and-out by the Ravens’ offense, the defense got the ball back on a 3rd & 13 where defensive end Calais Campbell strip-sacked Brissett and linebacker Odafe Oweh recovered the ball just outside the red zone.
If you've got 99 problems, @DafeOweh is one. @Ravens take over on the 24!— NFL (@NFL) October 23, 2022
: #CLEvsBAL on CBS
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Of course, with the Ravens in the red zone, they narrowly miss the end zone after Bateman was stopped on the one-yard line. The Ravens—namely Harbaugh, have been called out for the over-aggressive decisions in these scenarios. But, Harbaugh stuck to his confidence in Edwards and the running game, and brought in reinforcements with tight ends Nick Boyle and Josh Oliver along with fullback Patrick Ricard to push the pile. They handed the ball of to Edwards rumbled in for his second touchdown.
GUS BUS KEEPS ROLLING— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 23, 2022
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A meandering drive where the Browns remembered they have the best rushing offense in the NFL put them back into the red zone. But, the Ravens’ defense bottled them up once more and they settled for a 37-yard field goal.
Ravens: 20 | Browns: 13
It’s uncommon to see the Ravens utilize screens effectively, though they’ve hit more often this season. This time, a fullback screen to Ricard gained 19 yards to help move the chains, even with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on wide receiver James Proche.
It was once more that Roman believed in Edwards on 3rd & 3, handing him the rock. He gained six and helped get Tucker in field position for a 55-yard field goal as they entered the fourth quarter.
Ravens: 23 | Browns: 13
The Ravens, once more, entered the fourth with a 10-point lead. Tension in the stadium grew, and exacerbated when running back Kareem Hunt army-crawled in the end zone seven plays later. It took only 2:24 for the Browns to march 75 yards downfield.
crawling for every inch @budlight | #BudLightCelly pic.twitter.com/ybnnIfq3DU— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) October 23, 2022
The offense then put together a clock-killing drive that was reminiscent of the 2019 rushing offense, bullying the Browns into submission. But, a fumble by running back Justice Hill let them back in.
"CLEVELAND HAS GOT IT!"— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) October 23, 2022
Jeremiah punches it out to force the TO pic.twitter.com/6wCvUTbpMh
With 3:12 remaining and one timeout, the Browns began their drive at their 16-yard line. A minute later, they were across midfield with 2:03 attempting a 56-yard field goal. But the but a false start penalty pushed the Browns back to a 61-yard attempt. Some folks believe nobody on the Browns jumped, but Harbaugh saw differently.
“Yeah! The left tight end. The left tight end moved for sure,” Harbaugh said. “I also felt like they were trying to draw us offsides with double cadence. What the centers do a lot of the time is they’ll move the ball. [Charley Hughlett,] I thought he picked the ball up. You can’t pick the ball up. You’re really not allowed to move the ball in a hard fashion to draw somebody offsides but that’s what I thought it was but then they also said that it was the left tight end moved. So, they kind of got themselves on it.”
After being backed up, York remained on the field for a 61-yard try which was blocked by Ravens linebacker Malik Harrison, who felt he was going to get one after their first field goal.
DEFLECTED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 23, 2022
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“Yeah, definitely,” Harrison said. “I think it was maybe the first one [where I thought I’d get an opportunity to block the field goal]. I didn’t jump [or] put my hand up but I felt the ball be like right near my face so I’m like, ‘Alright, you know he kicking it low.’”
Harrison thinks him slimming down this offseason had something to do with his block.
“I just used my abilities to jump high,” Harrison said. “You know, now [that] I’m slim I got the most bounce on the team.”
The Ravens couldn’t notch a first down with the Browns knowing what was coming. They were forced to punt it back to the Browns with 24 seconds remaining. But, Brissett couldn’t find anything on the first two downs and on third down, he completed a crosser to Peoples-Jones, who then lost a fumble to Geno Stone, who also recovered the ball. After the game, Houston said this is the kind of win they needed.
“I think it helps,” Houston said. “It helps build momentum. I think what we’ve been going through is just growing pains. I prefer to go through them in the beginning of the season than the end. We all know you just got to get hot at the right time. I love our team.”