Five field goals rarely wins you games against good teams in the NFL. Neither does questionable play calling and penalties that negate touchdowns. The Cleveland Browns did all of that on Sunday and, predictably, fell to the Baltimore Ravens, 25-15.
Oddly enough, though, the Browns managed to take a 15-14 lead in the fourth quarter. They gave up two quick touchdowns to start the game, and the defense held the Ravens from there, forcing Baltimore to six consecutive three-and-outs.
But the Browns simply couldn’t capitalize in the red zone, as kicker Phil Dawson wound up being the entire offense (something fans have become quite familiar with over the years). And the Ravens, being the Super Bowl contending team that they are, took advantage of the Browns’ offensive woes and turned it into a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter.
Quarterback Brandon Weeden did not have one of his best days on Sunday, completing 20 of 37 passes for 176 yards and two interceptions. He didn’t have the touch on his deep pass and, at times, looked uneasy throwing into the Ravens’ defense. Still though, he was often bailed out by the superb performance of running back Trent Richardson, who had his third 1o0-yard rushing game of the season (105 yards on 25 carries).
What most people will want to talk about, though, is head coach Pat Shurmur’s puzzling decision to go for it on 4th-and-two from his own 28-yard line, despite there being 3:53 left in the game and having two timeouts. When the play failed, the Ravens were free to kick a field goal to make it a virtually insurmountable ten-point lead
The Browns were certainly looking forward to this game, riding high after beating the San Diego Chargers last week. With the Ravens reeling from a beatdown in Houston, everyone felt this was a game that could change the entire atmosphere surrounding this team. Instead, it was more of the same – a game full of head-scratching decisions and an inability to get the ball in the end zone.
It’s going to be a long bye week in Cleveland.