Ravens clinch top seed in AFC, eliminate Browns with 31-15 win

Baltimore racks up 481 yards of offense in 11th straight win

Daryl Ruiter
December 22, 2019 - 4:13 pm
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – The Cleveland Browns just couldn’t help themselves Sunday.

They got the help they needed from everywhere but their own field and were eliminated from playoff contention for the 17th straight year.

Lamar Jackson threw for 238 yards and ran for 103 more on 17 carries, Mark Andrews caught two of Jackson’s scores as the Baltimore Ravens rolled to their 11th straight victory, 31-15 over the Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium.

“We knew there was a great opportunity there for that to happen,” Kitchens said. “We had to go out and play well, and we did in spurts. We just did not play good enough the whole time. Baltimore is good football team. I do not know how many in a row that is now that they have won – 11 in a row – so they are a good football team. We just did not make enough plays to win the game.”

Jackson completed 20 of 31 passes in the victory, including three touchdowns, for Baltimore in their 13th win of the year. The Ravens clinched the top seed and home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. 

Baker Mayfield completed 20 of 33 passes for 192 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in the loss, the ninth for the Browns securing the 12th consecutive losing season for the franchise and 19th in the last 21 since returning to the NFL in 1999.

“It comes back on us not doing our job,” Mayfield said. “You do not ever want to have to rely on somebody else to get into the playoffs. We just have to do our job first and foremost, and we did not do that today.”

Nick Chubb, who entered the week leading the NFL in rushing, got just 15 carries for 45 yards in the loss.

Browns defensive end Porter Gustin jumped on the first turnover of the afternoon, falling on a Jackson fumble off a read option with Ingram at the Baltimore 45 with 2:12 left in the opening quarter.

Cleveland’s first scoring drive was giftwrapped by the Ravens. 

A holding penalty on Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters took Mayfield’s 18th interception of the season off the board on a fourth-and-2 at the Ravens 37. With the ball at the 23, Kitchens went for it again, and the Ravens were flagged again, this time for jumping offsides, giving Cleveland another fresh set of downs. Cornerback Jimmy Smith was penalized for pass interference in the endzone against Beckham and the Ravens lost the challenge putting the ball at the 1.

Mayfield capitalized with a TD toss to tight end Demetrius Harris for a 6-0 lead with 11:53 remaining in the half. Kicker Austin Seibert pushed the PAT try wide left.

Left tackle Greg Robinson single-handily blew up the Browns’ fourth possession of the afternoon with a holding penalty and false start on back-to-back snaps, but it was the end of the first half that might be the final nail for Kitchens, who loves the two-for-one pre-halftime scoring theory, and the Ravens obliged.

Jackson threw a 39-yard touchdown to tight end Mark Andrews to cap a quick two-play, 63-yard drive in 32 seconds for a 7-6 lead with 1:18 to play in the half.

Mayfield throw three straight times on the ensuing possession with Baltimore out of timeouts instead of running the ball. The Ravens nearly intercepted two of the passes and batted down a third that gave them a second possession in the final two minutes.

“We were trying to get the clock started,” Kitchens said. “A couple of short passes that got batted down. We could have ran it and could have done a lot of things but called a couple of 5-yard routes and the clock never got started so it is second guess once it happened.”

After the punt, it took Jackson and the Ravens 46 seconds to score – Jackson to Andrews, again, this time a 14-yard touchdown and a 14-6 lead with 9 ticks on the clock.

Baltimore extended the lead to 21-6 with a 13-play, 69-yard march to open the second half capped by Jackson’s 12-yard touchdown to Mark Ingram which all but put the game out of reach.

“There are all kind of analytics and statistics about the team who scores before half and then gets the ball back. They kind of doubled up on us,” receiver Odell Beckham said. “There is not much we can do at this point. Like I said, it is a very good team.”

Austin Seibert ended the Ravens’ scoring onslaught with a 47-yard field goal to make it a 21-9 game. The kick came after Mayfield dodged yet another interception when replay overturned a pick by former Browns and current Ravens linebacker L.J. Fort on second down.

Beckham final caught his third touchdown of the season on a fade from Mayfield with 8:01 remaining in the game. The drive was kept alive thanks to another Ravens penalty on fourth-and-goal. Seals-Jones helped set up the score with a 20-yard catch to the 1 but he couldn’t haul in the 2-point try keeping it a 24-15 contest.

Justice Hill out the game out of reach with an 18-yard touchdown run, virtually untouched, with 3:39 left. On the drive, defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct to continue the drive. Kitchens then pulled Richardson.

“It was just too many Ravens around my guy on the ground, and I wasn't leaving until [Sheldrick Redwine] got up off the ground,” Richardson said. “It's just that simple. I was always taught protect the teammates.”

Mayfield heaved a ball deep in Beckham’s direction on the ensuing possession that was fielded easily by Humphrey to seal the victory.