The Baltimore Ravens lost 24-18 in Cleveland today. With the loss, the Ravens fall to 3-5 overall.
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
What did we see?
1) Coming off the bye, this figures to be as healthy as Baltimore looks the rest of the way. You’d also expected to see noticeable scheme changes after bye week reflection. There was hope those changes, and the extra preparation time you had for the Browns; would have shown today in Cleveland. Instead you saw a typical AFC North Divisional game – where everything is a fight. As ugly as the 1st half was, Baltimore was able to go the locker-room down just 4. In the 2nd half, the Ravens were able to give themselves opportunities, but were not able to get over the hump.
2) This was a crippling loss. Baltimore falls to 3-5 on the year, and it is hard to imagine the Ravens getting past this. More to the point, if you were not able to win this game – coming after the bye, with extra time to prepare – that is pretty telling.
2a) I think the talent of the Ravens roster overall is pretty good. It’s not good enough to get past the poor play from the O-line, and the resulting non-existing rushing offense.
3) The offensive line play continued to be poor, and this obviously impacted both the offense as a whole. Still, it would be unfair to the O-line to blame all of Flacco’s poor play in the 1st half on them. The QB made a number of poor throws on his own.
4) On Cleveland’s 2nd series, Elam was called for Pass Interference, and Webb was beat by Gordon for a big gain; biting on play action. After J. Smith came up with a nice play on 3rd and Goal vs. Ogbonnaya, the Browns would convert on 4th down – as Bess would grab a 1 yard TD.
5) The Ravens got on the move on their 2nd series. The drive started with Thompson getting involved with a couple of catches. On 3rd and 7, Doss gained 23 yards to the Browns 28. As CBS Sports’s Solomon Wilcots was describing, Flacco was reading the defenders in the box, and checking to the run when appropriate. On 3rd and 6, Oher was beat by Quentin Groves for a 9 yard loss. This forced a FG attempt from Tucker, who converted from 51 yards out. This made it 7-3 Cleveland.
6) Ngata was called for unnecessary roughness penalty late in the 1st Quarter, temporarily knocking Campbell from the game. Another play which seems to be a football play, and you are left wondering what the NFL wants these defenders to do? (Especially guys as big as Ngata, who are asked to stop on a dime.)
7) Jeromy Miles had a good ST tackle, on the Ravens first punt of the 2nd Quarter. Despite that, the Browns still had good field position. They would march down the field, with Campbell finding Bess for a 2nd Browns TD. Bess made Webb miss in the open field, on his way to the end zone. 9 plays, 53 years, in just under 4 minutes put the Browns up 14-3.
8) Ihedigbo came up with a needed turnover, with about 8 mts left in the 2nd Quarter. This gave the Ravens possession in Cleveland territory. The Ravens would not take advantage of the turnover though, going 3 and out – and not being helped by a penalty on Oher.
9) Haden’s interception came on a horribly under thrown ball from Flacco.
10) Daryl Smith had a big 3rd down sack late in the 1st half, getting the ball back to the Ravens. Baltimore would take advantage here, with Flacco and Smith connecting for a 46 yard completion. With 15 seconds left, Flacco found Marlon Brown for a score. Great adjustment from Brown after the catch to find the end zone.
11) The Ravens had the ball to start the 2nd half. Rice did a good job picking up the blitz on 3rd and 12, and Flacco ran for the 1st himself.
12) Doss’s muffed PR in the 3rd Quarter gave the Browns the ball at the Baltimore 11. They immediately cashed in, giving Cleveland the 21-10 lead with 5+ minutes left in the Quarter.
13) Facing 4th and 1 (at midfield), with around 2 minutes left in the 3rd Quarter; the Ravens elected to punt.
14) Webb and Graham had good open field tackles on back-to-back plays to end the 3rd Quarter. This set up a Browns punt as the 4th began. Doss had a good return here, taking the ball 36 yards to the Cleveland 32. Brown would score to make it 21-16, and then also gained the 2 point conversion to pull the Ravens within 3. Brown also made a play to start the drive, gaining additional yardage after the catch.
15) Facing 4th and inches insider their own territory, the Ravens went for it. I was surprised a bit by the call, as there was still 9 minutes left in the game, and the Ravens were just down 3. Flacco was able to be pushed forward, and Baltimore gained a new set of downs.
16) Horrible punt from Koch in the 4th.
17) Ngata made a big 3rd and 1 stop, but the Browns were able to pick up another 1st on 4th down. Cleveland started their last drive at their 29, with 6:44 left. They would march on down the field, rolling clock, and kicking a FG to make it 24-18 with just 14 seconds remaining.