It may have taken extra time, but the Cleveland Browns earned their first win in Baltimore since 2007, all being the arm of Josh McCown. FoS has it all covered! We’ve got the highlights, numbers, and important players from today’s record setting Browns win.
The Ravens took the field on Sunday without their leading receiver Steve Smith and their top tight end Crockett Gilmore. But that didn’t stop Joe Flacco from coming out of the gate swinging. Kamar Aiken, who by default became the Ravens number one receiver, and practice squad call up Jeremy Ross combined to lead the Ravens on a eighthly, play 61-yard drive on their second possession to set up a 1-yard Flacco touchdown.
The Flacco score was a beautiful play action boot that saw Flacco completely fool the Browns defense, allowing him to walk into the end zone untouched to put the Ravens ahead 7-0.
The Ravens next possession was equally effective. Kamar Aiken burned Tramon Williams for a 48-yard catch, the longest of his career. Justin Forsett then ran right behind Keleche Osemele and Eugene Monroe on the left side of the Ravens line for a 15-yard run to put the Ravens in the red zone quickly. On the very next play, northeast Ohio product Kyle Juszczyk beat Paul Kruger in coverage for an 8-yard touchdown catch to make it a 14-3 game.
The Browns offense misfired most of the first half. Travis Coons hit two 43-yard field goals in each of the first two quarters. The first was set up by a big 26 yard catch by Duke Johnson, but McCown was sacked on 3rd down at the Baltimore 20 to put the brakes on a promising drive.
But a strong effort by the Browns defense at the end of the second quarter gave McCown and the offense a chance to gain some momentum heading into halftime. After connecting with Andrew Hawkins for 22 yards on 3rd and 13, McCown threw a 15-yard strike to Gary Barnidge, whose 35-yard grab set up Coons second 43 yarder, as time wound down in the second quarter. Coons hit his third field goal of the day as the clock expired from 37 yards, getting the Browns within a score of Baltimore 14-9.
Baltimore’s first possession of the 3rd quarter showcased everything that’s been wrong with the Browns defense all season. Buck Allen gashed the middle of the defense for a 44-yard run, a big play we’ve seen given up all season long on the ground. To make it worse, Danny Shelton then tossed the football directly into Allen’s chest after the play, adding 15 yards to the gain. The mental errors and penalties that plagued the Browns coming in continued to cause problems, as Kyle Juszczyck gained 15 yards on a catch two plays later and Joe Flacco added his second 1-yard rushing touchdown two plays after that. A career high for the Delaware product.
The Browns would answer on a drive that saw not one, but two successful challenges from John Harbaugh. First, he successfully got a Duke Johnson 33-yard run shortened when replay showed Johnson stepped out of bounds early. On the very next play, an 11-yard Brian Hartline catch was negated after replay showed he bobbled the ball on his way out of bounds. But Josh McCown would lead a Browns offense that would convert four times on 3rd down culminating in a 13-play, 75-yard The last 3rd down was gifted to the Browns, thanks to a Jason Babin hands to the face penalty. McCown would then scramble 10 yards on the ensuing snap for the Browns first touchdown of the day, making it 21-16.
But what might be the play of the day came on the next Browns possession. After Armonty Bryant dropped Joe Flacco for a 14-yard loss to force a Ravens punt at the onset of the fourth quarter, Josh McCown would find Taylor Gabriel for 56 yards. Three plays later, Gary Barnidge would make an impossible catch that you have to see to believe:
With that touchdown, Josh McCown became the first Browns player ever to throw for 300 yards in three straight games.
Much like the last Ravens’ scoring drive, the defensive issues returned. Justin Forsett took advantage of great field position after a Browns three-and-out to lead a seven-play, 43-yard scoring drive. Forsett carried the ball four times for 39 yards on the drive and ended it with a touchdown to push the Ravens ahead 27-22 after a failed two point conversion. The drive was kept alive by Danny Shelton, who committed his second unsportsmanlike conduct penalty of the afternoon two plays prior to Forsett’s 1-yard score.
Josh McCown and the Browns would retake the lead late in the fourth after a 22-yard pass to Barnidge and an 18-yard run scamper by Isaiah Crowell set the Browns up at the Ravens’ 22. McCown would find Crowell in the flat for a 22 yard touchdown pass and Andrew Hawkins for a big two point conversion to retake the lead 30-27 with only 3:03 left in the game.
The Ravens would drive it right back, however. The Baltimore offensive line asserted themselves on their final drive of the game, covering 75 yards on 11 plays. K’Wuan Williams unnecessary roughness penalty on 3rd down extended the drive, allowing Justin Forsett to break free on a 32-yard swing pass after running the ball effectively earlier in the drive. Luckily, the Browns defense would limit Baltimore to a field goal to tie it up at 30 with only 25 seconds left to play and force overtime after Josh McCown wasted too much time on the ensuing possession trying to force a play instead of managing the clock with two timeouts left to use.
In overtime, the Browns defense finally showed why their a high-paid unit. The defense forced Joe Flacco and the Ravens to punt after three plays to open the extra period, giving Josh McCown and the offense the only possession they’d need in overtime. The Browns covered 51 yards on 12 plays, boosted by a 14-yard catch on third down from Gary Barnidge. The Browns would convert twice on 3rd and 1 on the drive. The first time on a Barnidge catch and the second on a Duke Johnson 3-yard run that saw Alex Mack barely move a blitzing Daryl Smith out of the hole. A few plays later, Travis Coons split the uprights with a 32-yard field goal that gave the Browns their first win in Baltimore since Phil Dawson and “The Stansion” game of 2007.
Josh McCown would end the day surpassing Brian Sipe‘s 1981 mark by throwing for 457 yards. He added two scores en route to compiling his historic third straight 300-yard game. Barnidge would also make Browns history, becoming the first Cleveland tight end to have a touchdown catch in three straight games since the great, and current Ravens GM, Ozzie Newsome. A week after a heartbreaking loss, this type of gut wrenching win feels bigger and better than any Browns fan could have imagined.
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