Friday, January 21, 2022

The Ravens dominate the defense as the Browns beat the Browns 16-10 to claim the top spot in the AFC despite 4 interceptions from QB Lamar Jackson

When the Ravens needed a stop late Sunday night when their offense couldn’t push them across the finish line against the Cleveland Browns, they showed Ray Lewis on a videoboard inside M&T Bank Stadium.

It’s the Lamar Jackson era in Baltimore, but sometimes the original recipe works just as well as the new stuff. Why mess with tradition? On the worst night of a career for Jackson, it was the Ravens defense that was the difference in another wild prime-time win.

Needing to keep the Browns out of the end zone in the final 70 seconds of the game, the Ravens didn’t let Cleveland advance past their first-down marker. Outside linebacker Tyes Bowser, who had been a star all night, stopped David Nojoku 3 yards from the Sticks, with 54 seconds to spare, and registered a 16–10 win.

The Ravens’ defense and special teams had a night difference when Jackson finished 20-for-32 for 165 yards, a touchdown and a career-worst four interceptions. He became the first quarterback since 2013 to throw four interceptions in a win.

With the win, the Ravens maintained their lead at AFC North over the Bengals, who began Sunday’s game by strangling the Pittsburgh Steelers in Cincinnati. And with the Tennessee Titans falling out with the New England Patriots, the Ravens took their place atop the AFC. The New England Patriots (8-4), Titans (8-4), Kansas City Chiefs (7-4), Bengals (7-4) and Buffalo Bills (7-4) are breathing down their necks.

Jackson improved to 5–1 as a starter against Cleveland (6–6). Under Harbaugh, the Ravens have won 23 games against the Browns, tying the Patriots the most against a team in that period. (New England’s bounty, unsurprisingly, has been the New York Jets.)

Even without a defensive end, Calles Campbell, sidelined by a blowout for the first time this year, the Ravens put Karim Hunt and Nick Chubb, the heads of the NFL’s most prolific rushing attack, behind a combined 36 yards on 15 carries. . Brown’s longest carry of the game was only 9 yards.

Quarterback Baker Mayfield, probably playing his final game with the Browns in Baltimore, finished 17-for-33 for 240 yards and one touchdown. Wide receiver Jarvis Landry had six catches for 111 yards of play.

Jackson came out in the second half without his black sleeve and with some old magic. In the first half, he completed 10-k-17 for 74 yards and threw three interceptions. In the first drive of the second half, he went 4-for-4 for 63 yards and a touchdown.

His last two perfections were vintage Jackson. On third and -4 near midfield, Jackson threw a high-arching pass to the side before throwing tight end Mark Andrews, who was running downfield on an improvised path against safety. Ronnie Harrison Jr. Andrews not only passed the pass. -Drew the interference penalty as he returned to the ball but also caught it with one hand.

After completing 39-yard three plays, Jackson bought enough time to launch one into the end field. First, he side-stepped a diving Jadevon Clooney. Then he dropped back, and back and forth, and back and forth, until he was 15 yards away from where he had taken the shotgun snap. He turned around just before the defensive end Miles Garrett could pitch him for a sack, saw Andrews open and threw it over the goal line.

Andrews’ diving grab gave the Ravens a 13-3 lead and Jackson took a breather. With touchdown safe after 20 yards of scrambling, he pointed both hands at Garrett, who looked at him in apparent disbelief, before coming to embrace Brown’s star. There was a lot to take.

Cleveland finally took his cues and responded. Helped by a rough-the-passer penalty on Bowser, Brown covered 87 yards in five plays. Mayfield found David Nojoku the tight end for a sliding 20-yard catch which was retained after a lengthy review. With just over a quarter remaining, the Ravens’ lead fell from 13-10 to 13-10.

Sunday’s first half wasn’t the offensive blast that was the teams’ last prime-time meeting, a 47-42 instant-classic Ravens win over Cleveland last December, with 35 points in the fourth quarter alone. Instead it was a display for quarterbacking disqualification.

Jackson tied his career high of three interceptions in a five-pass period. First, wide receiver Rashod Bateman delivered a pass to outside linebacker Malcolm Smith, who swung it into Denzel Ward’s corner. On another, safety Grant Delpitt stepped into the middle of Andrews in front of a telegraph pass. On third, safety Ronnie Harrison capitalized on Jackson’s apparent miscommunication with Andrews, which in one way threw Jackson into another, throwing Harrison.

Brown’s first half business was less but more creative. Late in the second quarter, with Cleveland at the edge of the field-goal range, Landry took a shotgun snap and waited for someone to open. He soon got into trouble. Outside linebacker Odafe Ove the Ravens tracked him down for a strip-sack, and inside linebacker Patrick Queen fumbles for a turnover.

Two drives later, after Cleveland capitalized on Jackson’s first pick for a short-field field-goal drive, it was Mayfield who finished as the punchline. On another drop-back in the field-goal range, Mayfield backpedaled and backpedaled, owing and buying time from safety Chuck Clark. When he wound up throwing at the end, he did so without the ball. Oweh fell on the rumble on the Ravens ’49; His defense was credited to a team sack.

The Ravens’ most offense half may have, however, was a field goal. The Ravens began their final set-down at Cleveland’s 3-yard line, before taking a 6-0 lead late in the second quarter, courtesy of Justin Tucker. Later in the 1st one play he had the ball. But the Ravens couldn’t punch it, and Tucker got the call in fourth, only after a false start penalty on right guard Kevin Zeitler’s 2nd.

Serious injuries were of no use to Cleveland. Brown lost All-Pro right tackle Jack Conklin, making his first start since a Week 8 elbow injury, following a knee injury in the first quarter when Ove ran him over Bull Rush. Harrison was sidelined for some time. It was Clown. And tight end Harrison Bryant was out in the first half with an ankle injury.

week 13

Ravens@steelers

Sunday, 4:25 p.m.

TV: Ch. 13, 9 radio: 97.9 FM, 1090 AM

Line: Ravens By 3

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