The Cleveland Browns fell to the Baltimore Ravens by a score of 24 to 10. It was the fourteenth consecutive loss on the road for the Browns who haven’t won a game away from Cleveland since October of 2015.
DeShone Kizer had his “Welcome to the NFL” game against the elite Baltimore defense. He finished 15-31 for 182 yards and three interceptions and also got stripped sacked by Terrell Suggs. His four turnovers were part of the five the Browns committed in Sunday’s game. He also took two sacks
Kizer also missed a quarter of action while dealing with a migraine which head coach Hue Jackson said after the game he has a history of.
Kevin Hogan stepped in at quarterback and helped put up those 10 points on offense. His first drive he went 2-3 for 72 yards including a 23 yard pass to rookie tight end David Njoku for a touchdown.
Hogan finished 5-11 for 118 yards, a touchdown and an interception before Kizer came back in during the third quarter.
The running game once again looked non-existent on Sunday. The team ran a combined 21 times for 93 yards, that may look good on paper but Hue Jackson seemed to once again be non-committal to it even though he’s said time and time again that running the ball would be a key part of this team.
I can understand that being down would shy coaches away from running but with the game still being within striking distance especially on a first and goal situation after a solid run by Duke Johnson, Jackson chose to do a QB run and then two passes including a interception which erased any chance of a comeback.
One bright spot on offense was second year receiver Rashard Higgins. Elevated from the practice squad on Saturday, Higgins had a potential breakthrough game with 7 catches for 91 yards.
He stepped up with Corey Coleman and once again Kenny Britt not being able to contribute to the receiving game. Coleman caught 1 pass on 7 targets for just 9 yards while Britt was targeted twice and only caught 1 pass for 2 yards.
Seth DeValve had 2 catches for 61 yards including that huge 49 yard catch in the first half which helped set up the touchdown by Njoku.
On the defensive side, they seemed to take a step back. The run defense which shut down Pittsburgh last week struggled against Baltimore’s trio of backs. Javorius Allen, Alex Collins and Terrance West combined for 124 yards and a touchdown and helped set up Joe Flacco’s two touchdown passes which were the deciding scores in the game.
Allen also added 5 catches for 35 yards and a touchdown in the air.
Former Brown Benjamin Watson had a monster game of 8 catches for 91 yards and punked the Browns linebackers all day.
The Ravens defense two games into the 2017 season is bringing flashbacks of that 2000 defense that won a Super Bowl. They’ve committed 10 turnovers in the first two games including five against Cleveland.
Suggs continues to haunt the Browns as he’s done his entire career, he had one sack and four QB hits as he haunted Kizer all day.
I know people want to panic about the Browns but I don’t know what fans were really expecting. This is the youngest team in the NFL and growing pains were expected especially with Kizer.
Has the play calling been bad at times? Absolutely but Hue Jackson isn’t going to give that up anytime soon but he needs to make some changes to his thinking.
If he says he wants to run the football, he’s going to need to show that more and help make Kizer more comfortable. There’s no reason why he should be throwing 30+ times a game when he’s got two good running backs behind him in Crowell and Johnson to lean on.
The Browns will travel to Indianapolis next week to face the Colts who lost to Arizona in overtime on Sunday. With both the Colts and the Browns winless so far, I expect a hard fought game to breakthrough with their first win of the season.
Linebacker Jamie Collins was diagnosed with a concussion after the game. He was sidelined during the fourth quarter and started undergoing testing.