As the season climbs towards a close, each game has true meaning especially rivalry divisional matchups. The Baltimore Ravens coming off a tough, last-second loss last week to the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road had another test in front of them. This time in the form of the Cleveland Browns, as the Ravens traveled to Cleveland for the showdown and came out with another divisional loss.
On the first drive of the day, the Ravens defense held strong and forced a three and out from the Browns giving quarterback Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore offense the attempt to score first. The Ravens hadn’t scored a first-quarter touchdown in the past six games and would look to break that streak against Cleveland. However, at least for this first drive, the streak stood as the drive stalled at mid-field and the Ravens would be forced to give the ball back to the Browns. It would be the Browns getting on the board first with a 43-yard field goal to give them a three to zero lead over Baltimore.
On the next Browns drive, Cleveland got into the endzone with a Jarvis Landry score from quarterback Baker Mayfield. This gave the Browns a 10 to zero lead over Baltimore with only a small amount of time remaining in the first quarter.
Once again, the Ravens’ offense failed to score a touchdown in the first quarter and would need to start to fight back in this divisional game. As the second quarter started, the worst possible situation for Baltimore happened as Lamar Jackson looked to be hurt. Trainers came onto the field to take a look at Jackson, but he was ultimately carted off the field and backup quarterback Tyler Huntley was instructed to enter the game.
After such an injury-riddled season already for the Ravens, losing Jackson felt like a final gut punch. On the next Browns possession, they would score another touchdown coming from tight end Austin Hooper on another nicely placed ball from Mayfield to give the Browns a 17 to zero lead over Baltimore.
Partway through the second quarter, things started to look ugly for Baltimore as they trailed by multiple scores and may have lost their star quarterback for the game. It would be the same result for the Ravens on their next drive, as Huntley and the offense couldn’t muster anything and were forced to give the ball back to Cleveland.
The Ravens defense would finally make a play as they intercepted Mayfield to give the offense good field position as they looked to cut into the lead. Baltimore would cash in on the turnover with a Justin Tucker 50-yard field goal to open the scoring for the Ravens and cut the lead to 17 to three.
The struggle for the Ravens would continue as Huntley fumbled near the Ravens’ endzone and it was recovered by Cleveland and taken back for an easy score. Baltimore would add one more 42-yard field goal right before the half from Justin Tucker. The score entering halftime would be 24 to six and the first half of the game could only be described as a disaster for Baltimore.
To start the third quarter, it looked like the Ravens may have found some life but once again Huntley fumbled, and the Browns recovered the ball. The Browns would drive down the field, but the Ravens defense would hold and get the ball back to the offense. The Ravens offense would add another 55-yard field goal from Justin Tucker to cut the score down to 24 to nine.
The Browns would march down the field but would end up missing a field goal, which kept the lead at 24 to nine in the fourth quarter. On the next drive, the Ravens would finally find the endzone when running back Latavius Murray bounced in for the score. Baltimore would go for the two-point conversation and ended up not getting it to keep the score at 24 to 15 with just under nine minutes to go in the final quarter.
The Ravens defense would stop the Browns once again and give the offense another chance to cut the lead down on the next drive. However, all the momentum that Baltimore had was halted as the Cleveland defense forced the Ravens to punt the ball.
Late in the fourth quarter on a fourth and six, Huntley found rookie wide receiver Rashod Bateman down the sideline for a huge first down. On the next play, Huntley found tight end Mark Andrews for the touchdown to cut the lead down to 24 to 22 with a little more than a minute remaining. The Ravens would then recover the onside kick and get a chance to win the game. The Ravens offense would be stopped, however, but the fight shown to come back and have a chance to win was admirable.
The Ravens record now drops to 8-5 and they find themselves in a tough battle for both the division and potential playoff spot after losing two straight games. The team hopes that the injury to Jackson won’t be serious but if it is Huntley will need to lead the charge going forward. Baltimore will look to get back on track next week when they welcome Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers to M&T Bank Stadium for a huge showdown.