It wasn’t a pretty victory, but the Baltimore Ravens scored 25 unanswered points to erase a 20-point deficit and claim a 25-20 comeback road win over AFC North division foes the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 18.
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith (89) completes a pass against Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden, right, in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
The Ravens had a horrible start to the game as hardly anything seemed to go right for them in the opening quarter. Browns quarterback Josh McCown, who always seems to play his best football against Baltimore, was on fire and tossed two touchdown passes in the first quarter. Browns running back Isaiah Crowell was just as good, breaking for an 85-yard touchdown run that contributed to Cleveland’s early 20-point lead; he finished with 133 rushing yards on 18 carries.
After that disastrous start, NFL fans nationwide asked on social media, “what’s going on with the Ravens?” Ravens fans knew the Browns would make it hard for Baltimore to get a win, as they do every time the division rivals have faced off in recent years.
Baltimore Ravens running back Justin Forsett (29) runs the ball in the first half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)
It’s possible that the Ravens had underestimated the Browns, who suffered a 29-10 loss to the Eagles on Sept. 11. Or maybe the Ravens were emotionally drained after learning that longtime assistant coach Clarence Brooks passed away hours before the game after battling esophageal cancer. Brooks served as the defensive line coach for the Ravens for 11 years, from 2005 through to 2016, and was a beloved member of the coaching staff. His death may have hit the team hard, and may have had something to do with the sluggish start.
Still, the Ravens found a way to shake their early funk and pull off an impressive comeback victory.
Baltimore first found the scoreboard by blocking a Browns extra-point attempt and returning the ball for a safety. Veteran quarterback Joe Flacco then connected with receiver Mike Wallace on two touchdown passes, while clutch kicker Justin Tucker made three field goals, including a 52-yarder to lead the Ravens’ rally. Although Baltimore’s defensive unit played uncharacteristically poorly early on, they returned to their stout and stingy selves from the second quarter on, shutting Cleveland out through the last three quarters of the game.
Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker (9) kicks a field goal in the second half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Flacco finished with a game-high 302 passing yards, connecting often with his favorite target, tight end Dennis Pitta, who had a game-high nine catches for 102 receiving yards.
Ravens linebacker Zackary Orr led the way on defense with 10 tackles while safety Eric Weddle followed with six tackles and an interception. Linebacker C.J. Mosley also came up with an interception at the end of the game to seal the victory for Baltimore.
NEXT: The Ravens (2-0, 1-0 AFC North) will travel to Jacksonville, Fla. on Sept. 25 to take on the Jaguars.