The Cleveland Browns lost to the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night for the ninth straight game 23-16. They have yet to beat Joe Flacco. The game came down to the final play, as the Browns drove down to the Ravens 18 yard line with two seconds left, down only a touchdown. A final pass from Brandon Weeden sailed out of the end zone to end the game.
This was a tight, typical AFC North division game throughout. Even though Flacco and Anquan Boldin were practically unstoppable in the second half, the Browns were still in it. There were able to force a punt just inside the two minute warning, which allowed them to get the ball back at their own 10 yard line with just over a minute to go.
Offensively, the Browns were decent. Trent Richardson was getting some tough positive yards on runs and passes out of the backfield, and for the most part the Browns were staying out of negative plays. While they were somewhat predictable when it came to calling pass vs. run plays (many first down pass followed immediately by second down runs), they were playing well on both sides of the ball. For a Ravens offense that scored 44 against the Cincinnati Bengals and 31 against the New England Patriots, the Browns held them to just 16 points on defense.
Overall, this was a much more competitive game than probably everyone anticipated. When Josh Cribbs got quite literally knocked out of the game and fumbled the ball after a Ravens punt, it looked like it might be a repeat of last week’s game. But the Browns fought hard throughout the game. A few more plays made on offense or defense, and the Browns might soon be winning these games. That is a day that I hope comes very soon.