Are the Cleveland Browns finally getting it together? Or was it just pure luck?
It took the team twenty years to build a solid roster that can compete but up to this point, they have been lackluster and their inexperience was showing. The group of players on the Browns are young and hungry and they finally showed off what they are capable of achieving when they took down the rolling Baltimore Ravens 40-25.
Teams that are striving to compete are allowed to drop some games in September and October because that’s the time to get the kinks worked out so when it’s time for the second half of the year, they can dominate. The Browns are looking at this game as a turning point in their season.
Baker Mayfield played fine with 342 yards, a touchdown, and one interception. Odell Beckham was a ghost this game and did not have a catch until the fourth quarter, finishing the night with 2 receptions for 20 yards. Then again, being choked during the game probably did not help his performance either. The main superstar of this game was Nick Chubb. He had 20 carries for 165 yards and three touchdowns, with one of those touchdowns being 88-yard sprint to the end zone. Jarvis Landry also had himself a game with eight receptions for 167 yards on the game.
The defense also snagged two interceptions off of Lamar Jackson and sacked him 4 times. The secondary performed well, even without Denzel Ward or Greedy Williams playing in the game. They looked like a competent football team that was just making the right decisions and they weren’t tripping over themselves in typical Browns fashion.
The Ravens started this season by obliterating the Miami Dolphins. They beat the Cardinals and then almost came from behind to beat the red hot Chiefs. Lamar Jackson and the offense came into this game ready to win, but their defense wasn’t. They got ran over by Nick Chubb as he was able to hit easy holes and explode for extra yards. The Browns passing attack did the same as they had 342 receiving yards. The defense has been giving up the big plays all year, with already four passing plays of 50 yards or more surrendered on the season. Last season, they only had two of those types of plays. They were one of the best defenses in the league last year and if they want to compete again this year, they have to reclaim that throne.
Lamar Jackson threw for 247 yards with 3 touchdowns and two picks. Willie Snead is not a number one caliber receiver so hopefully the team gets some real weapons in either their young guys, through trade, or free agency next year. Jackson was also sacked 4 times in the game while also being pressured 25 times. The offensive line needs to operate better so Lamar Jackson and the running game can succeed. Mark Ingram rushed for 71 yards while Jackson ran for 66. The rushing numbers aren’t terrible but they aren’t impressive either.
The season still has a long way to go as the division is going to be very close in competition in the AFC North. It looks like the Bengals are hot trash and even A.J. Green can’t save them while the Steelers are simply nothing to worry about. This is a two team race between Baltimore and Cleveland and we’ll see who can win it and sustain a high consistent level of play. Whichever second year quarterback is going to outplay the other is going to be something worth tracking because their quarterback play is going to determine who is still playing through January.