CLEVELAND—It looked like it was going to be a dream ending—but it became a nightmare.
Austin Davis was pressed into service for his first game with the Browns when Josh McCown was knocked out of the game with 8:29 to play in the game with a collar bone injury. The Browns were trailing 27-20 when Davis entered the game and led the Browns 71 yards in six plays to tie the game 27-27 with 1:47 to play as he hit Travis Benjamin down the middle for a 42 yard score.
“He was ‘just don’t miss him’ wide open,” Davis said on the throw to Benjamin.
After getting the ball back with 50 seconds to play after an interception by Tramon Williams on the Baltimore 46, Davis hit Brian Hartline for six yards and then scrambled for seven yards to the 33 with eight seconds to play. After a run for no gain by Duke Johnson, Travis Coon’s 51-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Brent Urban and Will Hill picked up the ball and raced 64 yards for a touchdown to give the Ravens a 33-27 win in front of 64,380 fans at FirstEnergy Stadium on Monday Night Football.
It sent the Browns to their sixth-straight defeat and dropped their record to 2-8.
The Browns special teams failed them in a big way as they gave up two touchdowns to the Ravens
The Ravens were playing without their top three play makers on offense in Joe Flacco, Justin Forsett and Steve Smith Sr. in finding a way to beat the Browns.
However, one of the main culprits letting the Browns down was the special teams as they gave up an 82-yard punt return to Kaelin Clay to open the Ravens scoring and then the game-winning blocked field goal return.
“Tough one to wrap your brain around,” Mike Pettine said. “We didn’t finish it. Anytime you give up 14 points when your defense isn’t on the field, is frustrating.”
Pettine was impressed with Davis’ play in relief of McCown.
“Credit Austin for coming in,” Pettine said. “He did a heckuva job on the touchdown drive, as he was 6-of-7. It was tough to come in on third-and-10, but after that he settled in and did a solid job.”
Pettine said that McCown injured his collar bone and didn’t know the full extent of McCown’s injury, but said McCown will play, if he’s cleared.
“We’ll rely on the trainers,” Pettine said. “If he’s cleared to play, he’ll play.”
McCown was 21-of-38 for 212 yards with a touchdown before getting injured. He had two rushes for 12 yards.
Davis said he was sorry to see McCown go down, but said he felt he was getting into the flow of the game.
“It felt good to play,” Davis said. “Once we got going and got in rhythm, it was good.”
Davis was 7-of-10 for 77 yards with a touchdown and one run for seven yards.Davis had a quarterback rating of 125.8.
With McCown injured once again, it will likely come down to either staying with Davis or going back to Johnny Manziel.
“We’ll watch the tape an discuss that (Tuesday),” Pettine said.
Dansby’s Club: LB Karlos Dansby intercepted QB Matt Schaub with 12:16 left in third quarter to give the Browns a 20-17 lead. It was Dansby’s 19th career interception, which leaves him one short of joining the 40 sack, 20 interception mark. He is currently the only active NFL player with at least 40 sacks and at least 10 interceptions. He has 41 sacks. It was his third interception of the season and second for a touchdown. he had a 35 yard interception return for a score against the Broncos. CB Tramon Williams had the Browns other interception.
McCown Encore: After throwing for a record 457 yards against the Ravens in the first game, McCown after missing the last two games with bruised ribs. In the first half, McCown was 16-of-26 for 189 yards with a touchdown and a rating of 96.5. He threw a long of 30 yards to TE Gary Barnidge and finished 21-of-38 for 212 yards with a touchdown before leaving the game with a collar bone injury.
Bowe Time: WR Dwayne Bowe caught three passes in the Thursday Night football game against the Bengals. Those were his only receptions of the season. With WR Taylor Gabriel and WR Andrew Hawkins inactive due to concussions, Bowe was active but failed to catch a pass.
Captain, Captain: Captains for the Browns were LB Paul Kruger, DL Jamie Meder, WR Travis Benjamin and WR Marlon Moore. Kruger and Meder formerly played with the Ravens.
Not so Special: The Browns special teams allowed the Ravens to score first with an 82-yard punt return with 9:54 to play in the first quarter by WR Kaelin Clay to give Ravens a 7-0 lead. The game ended on a blocked field goal attempt that was returned for a 64-yard touchdown.
No Respect: The Ravens showed no respect for the Browns defense in the third quarter as they were leading 24-20 and went for it on fourth-and-one from their own 24. QB Matt Schaub converted the quarterback sneak for two yards.
The Duke: RB Duke Johnson had a 21 yard reception in the second quarter and had five catches for 23 yards and seven carries for 27 yards. RB Isaiah Crowell rushed seven times for seven yards.
Barn Dog: TE Gary Barnidge continues his stellar season and had seven receptions for 91 yards, including a 30 yard reception.
All About the Benjamins: WR Travis Benjamin had six receptions for 90 yards, including a 42-yard touchdown catch to tie the game. He had one rush for 10 yards.
Wide Outs: Without WR Taylor Gabriel and WR Andrew Hawkins, WR Brian Hartline had eight receptions for 74 yards, including a key fourth-and-four catch for seven yards to set up WR Travis Benjamin’s touchdown. WR Marlon Moore caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from McCown for his first touchdown since 2012.
Sackless: The Browns failed to get to QB Matt Schaub
For Kicks: K Travis Coons set an NFL record for 18 straight field goals to start his career by making his first two field goal attempts, but had his streak snapped on the last play of the game when his 51-yard attempt to win the game was blocked by DL Brent Urban.
Tough Day for Williams Boys: DB Tramon Williams was beaten for a 48-yard pass by WR Chris Givens that set up a Ravens touchdown and DB K’Waun Williams for a 15-yard touchdown by WR Kamar Aiken. Tramon Williams did get an interception late, but the Browns were unable to convert the turnover into the game-winning points.
Gilbert Starts & Hurt: DB Justin Gilbert started his first game at left cornerback in place of Joe Haden, who is sitting out his third-straight game with a concussion. In a bit of a surprise move, cornerback Pierre Desir is inactive after having started in place of Haden. Desir has started five games in place of Haden this season. Gilbert was inactive in the last week against the Steelers and this was his first start of the season and third in his career. Despite the injuries to the secondary, Gilbert had tumbled down the depth chart behind Desir, converted cornerback Johnson Bademosi and rookie Charles Gaines in Haden’s absence. The eighth overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft has just three tackles on the season and has been used primarily as a kick returner. Besides playing cornerback, Gilbert was the deep man on kick returns. He returned his first kickoff 38 yards and then had a 40 yard return in the third quarter, but suffered a concussion and was taken to locker room and did not return.
Manziel Active as No. 3:Despite being demoted to third string, QB Johnny Manziel was active and backed up McCown and QB Austin Davis. Manziel was announced as the rest of the season starter, but an incident during the bye week led to him being demoted and designated as the third string quarterback. It was assumed that Manziel would be inactive but the presumed thinking is that McCown is returning after a rib injury and by his own admission doesn’t know how he’ll respond when he takes a hit. Rather than facing the possibility of being short-handed at quarterback, the decision was to suit Manziel up.
Pettine was asked why Manziel was not inactive.
“When we have the opportunity to have three quarterbacks up, given our depth at other positions, (we have),” Pettine said. “Given where Josh was, we had three up.”
Five of the seven players inactive were out due to injury, including Haden (concussion), WR Andrew Hawkins (concussion), WR Taylor Gabriel (concussion), DL Randy Starks (knee) and OL Joel Bitonio (ankle). Besides Desir, the other inactive was defensive back Don Jones. John Hughes will start in place of Starks.
T-West: Former Browns RB Terrance West was active for the first time with the Ravens. After being traded by the Browns to the Titans, West was released by the Titans and signed to the Ravens practice squad. When RB Justin Forsett was lost for the season with a broken arm, West was elevated to the active roster. Against the Titans, West had three carries and lost a fumble to the Browns. West entered the game in the third quarter and had a one-yard run on his first carry and an 11-yard run on his second. West had a long of 16 yards.