Only in Cleveland. Just when you think you have seen it all and the Cleveland Browns can’t possibly find another way to lose an NFL football game, well guess what you would be wrong on both accounts.
The Browns have a potential game winning Travis Coons 51-yard field goal blocked by defensive end Brent Urban and picked up by Will Hill and returned 64-yards for the game winning touchdown to give Baltimore the win 33-27. To make matters worse for Browns fans, the game winning play was made by one guy playing his first career game in the NFL and the other has had to battle through years in the Arena Football League before finally getting a chance to play in the NFL.
“It wasn’t different. It’s the same kick every time. I just hit it the way I usually hit it, and it got blocked,” Coons said following the game. “It felt really good coming off the foot. It felt like a regular kick. We were driving down the field, and I didn’t know where we were at the time. Then, they called the field goal team, and we went out there and did what we could.”
It was a wild way to end a game that was just flat out crazy in the final two minutes of the game. The Browns were trailing 27-20 and had backup quarterback Austin Davis in after the Ravens knocked out Josh McCown with a shoulder injury earlier in the fourth quarter. Davis would lead the Browns on a six play 71 yard drive in 2:33. Davis would find Travis Benjamin for a 42-yard touchdown with 1:47 to go to tie the game at 27 following the Coons extra point.
“Yeah, he looked really open,” Davis said. “He looked open, the ‘please don’t miss him’ he’s so open. Pulled his coverage, and I had a little pressure from the left and stepped up underneath it. He did a good job getting behind him, a lot of fun. Wish we could have finished it off.”
The Browns defense would do their job and force the Ravens to go three and out in just :24 seconds. The Browns would get the ball back and the Browns offense would go three and out and punt the ball back to Baltimore just :27 seconds later. Ravens quarterback Matt Schaub would then throw an interception when Browns cornerback Tramon Williams would read the route ran by Ravens wide receiver Kamar Aiken would run. The Browns would get the ball at the Ravens 46 yard line with :50 remaining.
The Browns offense would gain a total of 11-yards on the drive but didn’t do a great job of clock management on the possession, which in the end was a reason Cleveland lost the game. After Davis completed a pass to Brian Hartline on first down for six yards, a total of :32 second ran off the clock between the first down and second down snaps. Perhaps running at least one play in that time could have netted the Browns some more yards and make the game winning field goal attempt more manageable. Hindsight is 20/20, but the time management left a bit to be desired down the stretch.
“My thought there was I knew we were in field goal range so I thought we would run the clock down and bang a timeout and kick a field goal,” Davis said. “We talk a lot about situations and Coach Pett does a good job with us with those types of things. In hindsight, I probably should have just run out and let him control that. I knew time was down, but I thought we could burn a timeout of theirs. Looking back, probably should have just stepped out and maybe try to get a little closer for a field goal. I knew we were down on time and we weren’t going to be going for a touchdown.”
Special teams played a key role in the Browns ninth loss of the season. The Ravens would score two special teams touchdown on the night. Punt returner Kaelin Clay would get the scoring started with an 82-yard punt return midway through the first quarter to give the Ravens a 7-0 lead. Justin Tucker would increase the Ravens lead to 10-0 with a 49 yard field goal.
The Browns would outscore Baltimore 13-7 in the second quarter thanks to a pair of field goals by Coons and a McCown to Marlon Moore ten yard touchdown pass. Running back Javorius Allen caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Schaub for the Ravens touchdown in the quarter. Baltimore lead 20-17 at halftime.
The Browns offense went stagnant again in the second half. The Browns scoring in the third quarter came from the defense. Karlos Dansby would intercept Schaub just two and half minutes into the third quarter and return it 52-yards for the touchdown. to give Cleveland it’s only lead of the game at 20-17.
The lead wouldn’t last long as Schaub would avenge the pick six with a touchdown pass to Aiken from 15-yards out to cap off a 12 play 80 yard drive that took up nearly half of the third quarter. Baltimore would lead 24-20 at the end of the third quarter.
Tucker would connect on a 35-yard field goal to give the Ravens a seven point lead at 27-20 with 9:05 left. It remained that way until the wild finish in the final two minutes.
The Browns suffer their sixth straight loss and fall to 2-9 on the season. The Browns have still not swept a season series against the Ravens since 2007 and have lost two straight to Baltimore at FirstEnergy Stadium. Both losses came on the final play of the game.
The Browns have a short week to prepare for round two in the ‘Battle of Ohio’ as the division leading Cincinnati Bengals travel up Interstate 71 for a one o’clock kickoff this Sunday. The Browns are tied with the Tennessee Titans for the worst record in the NFL at 2-9.