Browns Waste Four Interceptions Of Lamar Jackson In Another Loss To Ravens

The Browns' defense kept Lamar Jackson intact except for a couple plays in the third quarter that produced a Ravens touchdown.

The Browns' defense kept Lamar Jackson intact except for a couple plays in the third quarter that produced a Ravens touchdown.

Browns waste four interceptions of Lamar Jackson in another loss to Ravens

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Editor's note: Tony Grossi is a Cleveland Browns analyst for and 850 ESPN Cleveland.


Instant takeaways from Browns’ 16-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens … 

1. Wasting the night away: You couldn’t ask the Browns’ defense to play much better than it did last night. It intercepted Lamar Jackson four times on passes intended for Browns-killer Mark Andrews. Safeties hounded Andrews, Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney pressured Jackson all night, and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah was a missile undercutting runners. But it wasn’t enough. The Browns scored only 3 points off the four interceptions and the offense let everyone down in a gut-wrenching 16-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Justin Tucker’s 49-yard field goal – his 55th in 55 attempts in the fourth quarter or overtime in his career – forced the Browns to score a touchdown to pull it out in the last 1:10 with no timeouts. Baker Mayfield had three incompletions and then a 7-yard pass to David Njoku to come up way short. Mayfield had a fumble and interception in losing to the Ravens for the fourth game in a row. In the reunion game of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt for the first time in a month, the Browns ran their stellar backs 15 times for 31 yards. The loss drops the Browns to 6-6 and severely damages their playoff hopes with five games to go. They’ll have to relive this lost opportunity during their bye week. The Ravens improved to 8-3 and play in Pittsburgh next week.

2. Whaddya know: The Browns looked like they caught a break when officials allowed a 20-yard touchdown catch by David Njoku to stand through a very, very close replay review in the final minute of the third quarter. On replay, it appeared the ball skimmed off Njoku’s right thigh as he slid to the end zone and then touched the ground as he pulled it in. However, referee Jerome Boger upheld the call on the field. Actually, I never saw an official signal touchdown when the play happened. If they had signaled no catch, replay would not have reversed it. The first touchdown of the game for the Browns closed the Baltimore lead to 13-10 just before the fourth quarter intermission.

3. Damn shame: After limiting Mark Andrews to one catch on four targets in the first half, and intercepting Jackson three times on passes intended for him, the Browns lost coverage on the tight end twice on the first series of the second half and it cost them a touchdown. Both breakdowns came on third downs. On the first one, Jackson was running from pressure and just threw the ball up for Andrews. Ronnie Harrison lost coverage, then hooked Andrews as Andrews pulled in the ball at the Browns’ 13 for a 39-yard gain. Three plays later, Jackson was chased back 23 yards to the 35-yard line by Jadeveon Clowney and Myles Garrett and he threw another lollipop to Andrews left alone in the end zone. Looked like Grant Delpit lost track of him.

4. This is hard to do: The Browns’ defense came to play. They intercepted Jackson three times in the final 2 minutes, 29 seconds of the first half. Denzel Ward got one after a tip by Malcolm Smith on a pass for Andrews. Delpit and Harrison had the other two on passes intended for Andrews. The problem was the Browns turned three takeaways into only three points, and they trailed at the half, 6-3. John Johnson added a fourth interception on a pass for Andrews in the fourth quarter – and the Browns got no points out of that, too.

5. No offense: The first half was an offensive show – as in, embarrassingly bad. Jackson’s three interceptions plunged his passer rating to 29.7. Mayfield was 10 of 22 for 128 yards and a lost fumble when the ball squirted out of his right hand while backpedaling from pressure. Mayfield’s rating was 64.2. The Browns had 21 yards rushing with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt reunited.

6. Are you kidding me?: Stefanski must rip the Wildcat page out of his playbook. Please. The Browns were down by 6-0 with their defense playing well. With 3:53 to go in the first half, Mayfield’s 41-yard completion to Harrison Bryant took the ball to the Ravens’ 34. Then, craziness happened. On first down, the Browns shifted into the Wildcat formation with Jarvis Landry as the quarterback and Mayfield split to the right. At the snap, Mayfield moved behind the line of scrimmage and waved for the ball, expecting a backwards pass. Landry, however, was fixated on throwing downfield. He was blind-sided by Odafe Oweh and lost the ball to the Ravens. Ward’s interception came two plays later.

7. Cue Yakety SaxThere was a three-play sequence in the first quarter that chewed up 10 minutes that we’ll all never get back. On fourth-and-2 from their 33, the Ravens executed a fake punt on a direct snap to their upback. But officials ruled they hadn’t put the ball in play yet, so the down was replayed. The Ravens confused the Browns by putting their offense back on the field and the Browns called time to avoid having 12 men on the field. After the timeout, the Browns, undaunted, were flagged for having 12 men on the field. The mistakes continued two plays later when Malik McDowell drew 15 yards for hitting Jackson late out of bounds. Those free yards helped the Ravens stretch the field for a 52-yard field goal by Justin Tucker.

8. Not now: Chase McLaughlin’s recent struggles continued with a miss wide left from 46 yards at the end of the Browns’ first series. McLaughlin had a PAT blocked and missed a field goal in Cleveland against the Lions in windy conditions. There was a 3 mph wind in Baltimore. McLaughlin atoned with a 45-yarder in the second quarter, using the left upright to carom it through. In his career, McLaughlin now is 9 of 17 on field goals of 40 to 49 yards; he’s 8 of 9 from 50 and more.

9. Down goes Conklin: Jack Conklin’s speedy, three-week recovery from a dislocated elbow lasted all of 10 plays. Conklin was knocked out of the game with an injury to his right knee with 6:27 left in the first quarter. Conklin went down hard in a pileup. After Conklin was helped up, he started limping off without help and his knee gave out, almost tumbling Conklin to the ground. He was carted into the locker room after a few minutes in the blue medical tent and declared out for the game.
10. Pre-game notes: The surprises of Browns inactives were receiver Rashard Higgins and fullback Andy Janovich. Both were healthy scratches as neither player appeared on the team’s injury report all week. It's the first time all season Higgins was inactive. He is seventh on the team with 15 receptions on 31 targets for 185 yards and one touchdown. For the Ravens, inactives of note were defensive end Calais Campbell, their leading tackler on the defensive line, and cornerback Jimmy Smith.