Cleveland blows 20-0 lead, lose 25-20 to Baltimore
The Cleveland Browns lost their home opener against the Baltimore Ravens by a final score of 25-20, dropping to 0-2 on the season.
Things got off to an illustrious start in the first quarter for Cleveland. Browns QB Josh McCown led his offense right down the field, converting three straight third down passes, the last of which was a 31-yard touchdown pass to rookie WR Corey Coleman in the back of the end zone.
The Browns’ defense made quick work of the Ravens, and when the offense got the ball back, RB Isaiah Crowell took it straight up the middle for an 85-yard touchdown run, the second longest in team history. It came on the same day the statue for Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown was unveiled, no less!
That put the Browns up 14-0. On Baltimore’s next drive, the good mojo for Cleveland continued, as CB Joe Haden picked off a pass by QB Joe Flacco. Not too long later, McCown hit Coleman for a pass at the line of scrimmage, and he took it 11 yards for a touchdown to put the Browns up 20-0. Unfortunately, Cleveland’s momentum was brought to a halt when K Patrick Murray’s extra point was blocked and returned the distance for two points, making it a 20-2 game to close out the first quarter.
McCown kept taking a bunch of shots to his left shoulder, something that became a recurring theme the rest of the way, as QB Cody Kessler warmed up a couple of times on the sideline “just in case.”
The Ravens continued to get the momentum back in the second quarter. They got a 7-yard touchdown pass to WR Mike Wallace with under two minutes to go in the first half, making it a 20-9 game. Then, McCown was picked off trying to push the ball, and Baltimore tacked on a 52-yard field goal by K Justin Tucker to make it 20-12 heading into the half.
The Ravens got the ball to begin the third quarter and struck quickly, as Flacco again found Wallace for a 17-yard touchdown. Near the end of the third quarter, Baltimore got into field goal range, but Haden picked off another pass, this time in the end zone. McCown ended the third quarter with a big completion to Coleman, getting the Browns into field goal range.
To start the fourth quarter, Cleveland went backward on a blown up run play and then a personal foul penalty call on Coleman. They tried a 52-yard field goal, but Murray missed, giving Baltimore good starting field position. Tucker’s 49-yard field goal gave Baltimore their first lead of the game at 22-20 with 11:19 left in the game.
The Browns’ next offensive series didn’t muster much, and Baltimore ran a lot of clock on their next drive. With 2:57 to play, Tucker connected on a 41-yard field goal to make it 25-20 Ravens, meaning Cleveland needed McCown to lead a game-winning touchdown drive.
The Browns got the ball to midfield, but then had back-to-back completions for no gain, leading to a third down. On the play before the third down, C Cameron Erving had to leave the game with an injury. John Greco moved over to center, and Alvin Bailey came in at right guard. The Browns got a big completion to WR Terrelle Pryor down to the 10 yard line, and then the officials made a mind blowingly awful call by ruling taunting on Pryor, which negated the play. McCown then had to throw a desperation play with a few seconds left, and was picked off to end the game.