Cleveland Browns Loss Was Almost As Expected

Watching on TV at home, in a bar, in the stands or even in the press box, all seemed to just "know" the Cleveland Browns would pull out a loss, somehow, after going up 20-0. That they did.

Cleveland, Oh - The script seems written in the stars, or in hardened cement. The Browns will snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory or get blown out without a chance.

That isn't the script to every week of the 16 game season, sometimes the loser has to get the girl, but it sure feels like Lucy pulling the ball away when Charlie Brown tries to kick it. No matter how much Lucy does things to get Charlie Brown's hopes up, she always pulls it away.

Today in Cleveland was no different. While First Energy Stadium was rocking from the beginning, Twitter (and even the press box) were aware of the impending doom. Even as Isaiah Crowell was splitting the Baltimore Ravens defenders on his way to his 85-yard touchdown, we wondered when the football would be pulled up.

It started with the extra point on the Browns next TD, fittingly given my Charlie Brown reference, when the kick was blocked and returned for 2 points. An 18 point lead, 20 - 2, would be reason for excitement for any other team.

Instead, it was the start of a downward spiral. By halftime the Browns held a 20 - 12 lead but, with the Ravens getting the ball after half, that lead was tenuous at best.

The Ravens added a field goal right after half to pull within one point.

The Browns, for their part, stalled out. After rookie Corey Coleman's 2nd TD reception, and ensuing blocked PAT, the Browns only gained 82 yards combined in the 2nd and 3rd Quarters. 

Those pathetic quarters of offense quickly changed the Time of Possession game, a huge key in the Browns Week 1 loss. The Browns had led this key stat through halftime but could not sustain momentum.

This led to the young defense being on the field for far too long.

Going into the season, fans and analysts were most worried about the team's porous run defense. While that still isn't solved, it pales in comparison to the horrible pass defense. 

The Browns gave up 302 yards of passing, including over 100 yards to tight end Dennis Pitta. Even the retiring Steve Smith put up 64 yards through the air. Joe Flacco attempted 45 passes while the Ravens only had 26 run attempts.

Holding the Ravens to 80 yards on the ground and a 3.1 yard per carry average is something positive the Browns defense can take away from the game. 

CB Joe Haden did make Flacco pay with 2 interceptions, including one in the end zone, but even he was burnt for a few important first downs throughout the game.

By the end of the game, the Browns gave their fans hopes, much like Lucy always does. They drove down the field, with Coleman fighting off a tackle to get out of bounds, and a completion to Terrelle Pryor at the 10-yard line with 21 seconds left putting life in the stadium.

Then the football got pulled up just as they were ready to make impact. Pryor, seemingly tossing the ball to the ref, was called for taunting. The replays seemed to clearly show it was not taunting, and Pryor did not want to speak about it after the game, but the penalty negated the play and pushed the Browns back.

Tough warrior Josh McCown then heaved one toward Pryor, who had stopped running on the play, that was picked off by the Ravens.

Charlie Brown ends up kicking air and landing on his back.


Game Notes:

  • Coleman had a great 2nd game with 5 catches for 104 yards and 2 TDs.
  • Crowell's 85-yard TD is the Browns 2nd longest rushing TD in history.
  • John Hughes was a surprise inactive.
  • Ravens were 63% on 3rd Downs.
  • Ravens had 4 penalties for 29 yards, Browns had 8 for 59.
  • Browns travel to Miami for Week 3.

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