Browns top Ravens in defensive battle as Baltimore desperately misses Lamar Jackson


The Browns topped the Ravens 13-3 on Saturday night in a defensive deadlock under Cleveland snow. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Cleveland sacked Baltimore quarterback Tyler Huntley three times and snagged an interception while holding him to 138 yards.
  • Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson tossed his first touchdown in a Cleveland uniform in the third quarter.
  • Ravens kicker Justin Tucker and Browns kicker Cade York each missed two kicks, with Tucker’s second miss being blocked.
  • Cleveland edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney exited in the first half after being evaluated for a concussion.

The Athletic’s instant analysis:

Browns defense shows up

The Browns’ defense is talented, but it’s been wildly inconsistent. It’s too often struggled to create turnovers, but turnovers were a big part of the Browns’ win Saturday. Denzel Ward’s third-quarter interception stopped a long Ravens’ drive, and John Johnson III getting a strip and recovery later in the third quarter were a big part of the Browns forcing the Ravens into uncomfortable must-pass situations for most of the fourth.

Myles Garrett and the Browns’ pass rush were able to rev up in the fourth quarter, and the Browns’ defense continued its recent dominance of the Ravens. — Jackson

Cleveland offense shows signs of improvement

Nothing was going to come easy in the run game for the Browns, but the Browns effectively used Watson as a runner and put together several long drives as part of an offensive effort that wasn’t perfect, but it was good enough on this day. Watson capped a third-quarter drive with a short touchdown pass to Donovan Peoples-Jones, and the Browns relied on Watson as a runner when necessary.

The Ravens’ sloppy play allowed the Browns to play with the lead for most of the last three quarters, and Chubb got to 99 rush yards as the Browns were able to finish the game taking knees. The Browns only have two offensive touchdowns in Watson’s three starts, but they held the Ravens to 3 points in securing a feel-good win Saturday. — Jackson

The Ravens just didn’t have enough offense. They squandered too many scoring opportunities, too, as they got pass-happy in big spots and the usually-reliable Justin Tucker missed one field goal try and had another blocked. The Browns were strong on defense, and the Browns had no issue with Huntley becoming a pocket passer for much of the game.

The Ravens had success running the ball but were doomed by their inability to finish drives and their reluctance to stick with the run. The Ravens have just two touchdowns in their last three games. They need Lamar Jackson back, ASAP. The Ravens slip to 9-5 and will fall to second place if the Bengals win Sunday at Tampa Bay. — Jackson

Highlight of the game

Key stat

The Ravens’ zero touchdowns and 198 rushing yards Saturday marked the most rushing yards by a team that failed to score a TD since the 2013 Rams, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

Required reading

(Photo: Ken Blaze / USA Today)


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