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Ravens vs. Browns: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

A Saturday night debacle

Baltimore Ravens v Cleveland Browns Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Baltimore Ravens lost their first game in the division on Saturday, falling to the Cleveland Browns by a score of 13-3. It was a season-worst offensive outing for the Ravens in terms of points scored, but a continuation of their recent struggles on that side of the ball.

After briefly tying the game in the second quarter, the Ravens wound up trailing for the remainder of the evening. Let’s unpack the defeat by looking at what was good, bad and ugly from the action in Cleveland.

The Good

1-2 punch in the backfield

For the second straight game, the Ravens’ rushing offense dominated on the strength of a rejuvenated J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards. Dobbins turned 13 carries into 125 rushing yards, a week after running for 120 on the ground. This marks the second highest mark of his career.

Dobbins had runs of 38, 24, 16 and 12 yards. His 38-yard breakoff late in the third quarter may have been a house call, but Dobbins’ breakaway speed is clearly still a work-in-progress. Edwards played second fiddle but was again efficient with 55 rushing yards on seven carries. The “Gus Bus” had a 25-yard run of his own on the opening drive of the game.

Red zone defense

The lone Browns’ touchdown in the third quarter came after the Ravens gave up a fourth down conversion deep in their red zone. However, the Ravens’ defense otherwise held strong to prevent touchdowns.

In the second quarter, a 71-yard Browns’ drive plateaued after the Ravens buckled down to get a stop at their own four yard line. Holding them to only a field goal just before halftime was key. The Browns ultimately converted on 33% of red zone tries and had to settle for four field goal attempts.

The Bad

Missed field goals

For just the second time in his career in the regular season, Justin Tucker missed two field goals in one game. The first was a 48-yard attempt just before halftime that went wide left of the uprights. Then, early in the fourth quarter, a 60-yard drive ended with Tucker’s 50-yard try being blocked.

Tucker’s inaccurate 48-yard kick is an outlier, obviously, as No. 9 is usually all but automatic from under 50 yards. If anyone deserves a pass for an off game, it is Tucker. Nevertheless, not having an additional six points certainly didn’t help the Ravens.

The Ugly

Fourth down efficiency

The Ravens attempted three fourth-down conversions in this game and were unsuccessful each time. On their first drive of the game, after driving 71 yards in 10 plays, Pat Ricard was stuffed short on a fourth-and-one fullback dive attempt on Cleveland’s seven yard line. That sort of set the tune for the rest of the afternoon.

In the fourth quarter, they turned the ball over on downs on back-to-back possessions. James Proche dropped a would-be first down pass on 4th-&-4 with just under ten minutes remaining. Then, facing a desperation 4th-&-13, Tyler Huntley was almost intercepted targeting Proche again on a deep pass.

Lack of aerial passing attack

The Ravens’ struggles in the passing game continued in Cleveland. Huntley threw 30 passes and averaged just 4.8 yards per attempt. Only six of the team’s 17 total first downs came through the air. Mark Andrews led the Ravens in receiving yards and had only 31 on three receptions. Devin Duvernay and Demarcus Robinson were the only Baltimore wideouts to catch a pass and they each had just 29 receiving yards.

With Huntley under center, the threat of pushing the ball downfield has simply not been present. The longest reception of the game for the Ravens was 19 yards. The wide receivers have been more or less a non-factor for several weeks now. To have 198 rushing yards and only score three points is not great at all.

Untimely turnovers

Baltimore’s offense turned the ball over twice on back-to-back drives in the third quarter. Their first drive of the second half was promising until Huntley was intercepted by Denzel Ward on a slant pass attempt to DeSean Jackson. Before that, the Ravens had driven 60 yards in over six minutes and were in position for at least a field goal, which was much-needed.

Then, just one play after the Browns scored a touchdown, the Ravens fumbled and gave them the ball back. Robinson made a 14-yard catch but had the ball punched loose from his possession after making a move up the field. The Ravens’ defense then forced a three-and-out, but the second consecutive turnover cost the Ravens another bite at the apple to try and score.