Top 5 Browns games in 2023: Beating the best the league has to offer

A successful campaign left Browns fans hungry for more heading into 2024

Cleveland Browns, David Njoku
Cleveland Browns, David Njoku / Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Week 10: Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens, 33-31

The second and final matchup of the year against the Ravens saw usual starting quarterback Deshaun Watson back under center for the Browns. Yet, at first, it seemed as though the game would progress just as it did in the 28-3 blowout loss in Week 4.

On the second play from scrimmage, Watson threw an interception to Ravens star safety Kyle Hamilton, who returned it 18 yards into the Browns end zone for an immediate 7-0 lead. Then, following a quick three and out by the Cleveland offense on its next drive, MVP Lamar Jackson marched his team down the field for an easy touchdown, going 79 yards on only five plays.

Down 14-0, in a hostile environment, against one of the best teams in the league, the Browns could have packed it in early and called it a day. Instead, they battled back.

For the rest of the first half, the defense contained the Ravens explosive offense, and Watson and Co. chipped away at the lead via three field goal drives. Entering halftime trailing only 17-9, the Browns had some fire.

The Ravens, however, were quick to throw water, getting 75 yards and a touchdown in six plays, on a drive that took just two and a half minutes, to open the third quarter. Though Cleveland would answer with their own 75-yard touchdown drive immediately following, the Ravens would again extend the lead to 14, going up 31-17 early in the fourth quarter.

Then the magic happened.

Watson, who didn't throw an incompletion on 14 pass attempts in the second half, led the offense on another 75-yard TD drive to cut the deficit to seven with nine minutes left. On the Ravens next possession, Jackson had a pass attempt tipped at the line of scrimmage, falling right into the hands of cornerback Greg Newsome, who was running at full sprint. After crossing the Baltimore end zone a few seconds later, the deficit was down to one.

In true Browns fashion, kicker Dustin Hopkins would miss the game-tying extra point attempt, keeping the score at 31-30. However, the Browns defense held firm and gave the offense a chance to win the game on its final possession.

On a drive that started on their own 20-yard line with 4:55 left on the clock, Cleveland got into field goal position after a series of plays that included a 16-yard scramble by Watson facing a third down, followed by a 12-yard rush by running back Jerome Ford, in which the entire Browns offense helped push a pile of players forward, getting the ball closer to the end zone and setting up an easier attempt for a game-winning field goal, quieting Ravens faithful inside M&T Bank Stadium.

Four plays later, Hopkins took the field once more, this time with a chance at redemption following the previous missed extra point. The ball sailed right down the middle of the uprights on a 41-yard attempt, and the Browns escaped with a thrilling victory, giving the fanbase one of its most memorable wins since the franchise's rebirth in 1999.