The Baltimore Ravens season is on the ropes following today’s 33-30 loss at home against the Cleveland Browns. At 1-4, the Ravens are dead last in the AFC North and there is nothing to be excited about in Baltimore right now. What made the day even worse was that the Cincinnati Bengals made an impressive comeback at home against the Seattle Seahawks to stay undefeated at 5-0.
Browns quarterback Josh McCown threw for a career-high 457 yards, threw two touchdowns and rushed for another as Cleveland took the win at M&T Bank Stadium that likely puts an end to any playoff hopes for the Ravens.
Joe Flacco had two rushing touchdowns from one-yard out and threw another touchdown, but the Ravens defense let them down again in the fourth quarter. The loss comes off another great performance from Justin Forsett, who rushed for 121 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries.
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The Ravens opened the scoring on their second drive with Flacco capping it off with a perfect play call to score on a naked bootleg. There was no Browns defender in sight as Flacco held the ball high into the air as he crossed the goal-line.
Many were wondering what wide receiver would step up for the Ravens and it was clear early that Flacco was looking for Kamar Aiken often. Aiken had three receptions for 73 yards in the first quarter, including a 48-yard catch that was the longest reception of his career.
The Ravens scored their second touchdown just a few plays later on a touchdown pass to fullback Kyle Juszczyk. Former Raven Paul Kruger was unable to stay with “Juice” in the flat as he found the corner of the end zone to make it a 14-3 Ravens lead.
Justin Tucker missed a 51-yard field goal with 1:03 remaining in the first half that set up the Browns with good field position. They were able to capitalize on that by converting a 37-yard field goal with no time remaining that made it a 14-9 game heading into halftime.
The Ravens marched right down the field on their opening possession of the second half, led by Buck Allen’s 44-yard run. It was the longest run of the 2015 season for the Ravens, and Flacco capped the drive off with a quarterback sneak for his second rushing touchdown of the day to make it a 21-9 ball game.
The Browns responded with a touchdown of their own on the ensuing drive. Josh McCown was able to escape some pressure and scrambled to his left for a 10-yard touchdown to put Cleveland within a touchdown of the Ravens.
The Ravens inability to close games out crept up on them once again as Gary Barnidge made the play of the year to get the Browns on top, 22-21 with 12:23 remaining in the quarter. McCown threw a jump ball near the end zone and somehow Barnidge caught the ball with his feet and legs to score a touchdown. The scoring play was set up by a 56-yard completion to Taylor Gabriel down the middle of the field.
Marc Trestman fed Forsett on the Ravens next scoring drive as he carried the ball four times for 39 yards and the go-ahead touchdown to give Baltimore a 27-22 lead.
The Browns came right back with an 80-yard drive that ended with a 22-yard touchdown reception to Isiah Crowell. Crowell added an 18-yard scamper on the drive that put Cleveland back on top, 30-27.
Baltimore responded with a field goal with 29 seconds remaining, and the two teams headed into overtime at 30 points each. After a three-and-out for the Ravens offense in their only possession of overtime, Cleveland hit the 32-yard field goal to give the Browns the win.
To make matters worse, there was injury to add to the insult. Forsett left the game in the fourth quarter with a leg injury. Elvis Dumervil suffered a groin injury and did not return. Lardarius Webb had his helmet taken away. Darren Waller left the game with a concussion. Will Davis left with a knee injury. Kyle Arrington also left the game early, which forced Terrence Brooks to play nickel corner.
Next up for the Ravens is back-to-back games out west against the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers. The Ravens aren’t playing good football right now, and the season is on a brink. There are a lot of questions about this team right now, and you will hear speculation about Dean Pees job status throughout the week.
This has been a rough sports year for Baltimore. Ravens fans are not used to this kind of losing. It is going to take a miraculous turnaround for them to be relevant in the playoff chase.
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