BEREA—Lost in the Browns overtime win over the Ravens Sunday, was the much maligned defense of the Browns made two stops on the Ravens last two possessions that were key in the win.
Trailing 30-27 with 3:03 to play in the fourth quarter, Joe Flacco and the Ravens started at their own 20 and quickly drove all the way to the Browns’ 4. Justin Forsett gashed the Browns on the drive and caught a pass from Flacco that he ran 33 yards to the Browns’ nine until he was tackled by Donte Whitner. Forsett injured his ankle on the play and did not return.
John Hughes was asked how much the absence of Forsett figured into the Ravens lack of success inside the ten on the final drive in regulation.
“We don’t think about it like that,” he said in a conference call Monday. “I don’t think it really mattered.”
Hughes did say the defense came together and decided it was time to make a stop, if they wanted to have a chance of not dropping to 1-4.
“We said, all we can control is what we’re doing now and we have to not let them get into the end zone and hold them to a field goal.”
Having a chance to win the game outright with a first and goal, the Browns defense tightened and was able to force Baltimore to kick a 23-yard field goal to tie the game with 25 seconds to play in regulation.
On third down and goal from the four, Flacco was pressured and threw an incomplete pass for Kamar Aiken in the end zone.
The Ravens won the coin toss and took the ball and had a quick three-and-out without gaining a yard before they punted the ball back to the Browns, which ultimately was the game-winning drive.
On third-and-10, Hughes came barreling up the middle and Flacco had to unload the pass before he wanted and it fell incomplete for Marlon Brown forcing the punt.
“It was a good play,” Hughes said. “We were working together to make the play.”
Hughes said the defense can build off of their late game stops.
“Most definitely,” Hughes said. “Just to know that we could get the job done at the end. It’s really hard to explain how satisfying it was to get the stop and force the field goal and then get it done in the overtime. That’s what it’s all about.”
Mike Pettine said the defense came through when it was needed the most.
“We had some key stops, particularly to hold them to a field goal to send the game to overtime,” Pettine said. “And the three and out in overtime, put us in position to win the game.”
Hughes said the defense isn’t focused on the 377 yards they gave up during the game, including 181 yards in the rushing game for a 5.8 average a carry. The Browns took the lead for the first time 22-21, but the Ravens came right back with a touchdown to regain the lead, 27-22.
“Getting the “W” was the big thing,” Hughes said. “We came together in the overtime to get the win.”
Pettine said although the defense has a long way to go, he'll take the win every time.
“It’s puzzling to us and a source of frustration, but we were able to find a way in the win,” he said. "We have to play consistent. Defensively, we still have a ways to go."
Hughes said the win was big for the Browns because it gave them a 1-0 record in the AFC North with five division games to play. Last year, the Browns were just 2-4 in the division and lost both games to the Ravens.
“It was a big win for us because it was our first division game, and to start the division 1-0,” Hughes said. “We’re always preaching finishing games and that’s what we did.”
After the Browns won their first game over the Titans, they weren’t able to carry any of the momentum over to next week’s game and lost to the Raiders at home. This week, the undefeated Broncos come to town.
Hughes hopes the Browns can build off the win this week.
“We talk about it all the time,” he said. “Not letting the losses carry on and the same thing getting a win and getting on your high horse and let it affect you next week. Put it in a box and get ready for the next game.”
Hughes said it starts with preparation.
“I don’t think it was one thing in particular (on carry over loss to the Raiders),” he said. “But it’s just important to have the right mindset going into practice Wednesday and Thursday because we have a good team coming in here this week in Denver.”
McCown Says Ankle Fine: QB Josh McCown injured his ankle in his record-setting passing game with the Ravens, but said he is fine.
“(The ankle) is feeling pretty good,” McCown said on a conference call Monday.”We’ll just keep getting treatment and see how it goes, but I’m hopeful of being able to play.”
Pettine also said that although McCown's ankle is sore, he doesn't think he will miss any time.
McCown said he heard from a lot of friends concerning his 457 yard passing day against Baltimore.
“A lot of congratulations and things like that,” he said. “It was one of those deals where people have been positive and you hear people reaching out and praying for you.”
McCown was asked if he ever envisioned breaking Browns passing record when he signed with the team in the off-season.
“I never say never, but I think as a player if you want to have success, you can envision playing at a high level and the guys around you playing at a high level,” he said “Am I surprised that happened, especially this early in the season, but I think we’re capable of this happening.”
McCown said he didn’t know he broke the Browns single-game passing record in a regular season game until sometime after the game was over.
“I wasn’t aware of it until about halfway through the locker room celebration with the guys, which is good,” he said. “I don’t know if surprise is the right word, but we said it in the Spring that we were capable of doing some good things.
“All I care about is helping the team win a game,the records and all will be nice some day to look back on, but if it helps our team win, that’s all I care about.”
Solomon, Haden Out: Pettine confirmed that DB Joe Haden is in the NFL’s concussion protocol. Most NFL players miss at least a game when they enter it.
“As you look over time, that would be average,” Pettine said.
He also said that LB Scott Solomon injured his knee after returning from the ankle injury.
“(The injury) will probably take some time,” Pettine said.
Pettine said that Solomon injured the knee in the first half, but did go back into the game.