At the start of the season, this game was meant to be between the contending Baltimore Ravens and the up and coming Cleveland Browns. Unfortunately, neither team's season has gone as most thought it would. Baltimore has suffered a rash of injuries to their top players—including Joe Flacco, Steve Smith, Justin Forsett and Terrell Suggs. They came into this game at 3-7. Not to be outdone, the Browns entered at 2-8 and losers of five in a row. Their last win was over Baltimore more than a month ago. Just when it looked like the Browns would sweep the Ravens for the first time since 2007, with a game winning field goal in a tie game, Brent Urban blocked it for the Ravens and Will Hill returned it 64 yards for the game winning touchdown to win 33-27.
Early on in the game, it looked like the Ravens were going to roll. Kaelin Clay got Baltimore on the board with an 82 yard punt return for a touchdown just over five minutes into the game. Later in the first, with the Browns offense struggling to do anything, Baltimore was driving and seemed primed to blow the game open. But the Cleveland defense stood tall on their side of the field and held the Ravens to a field goal to make it 10-0.
Cleveland finally broke through and scored in the second quarter as Travis Coons, who had not missed a field goal all season, drilled one from 31 yards. He would set a NFL record in this game with 18 straight made field goals to start his career. After a kickoff that went out of bounds, the Ravens were set up with the ball on their own 40 yard line. From there, it took just three plays and 1:29 to get back into the end zone, as Matt Schaub hooked up with running back Buck Allen for the score to go up 17-3.
Unfazed, the Browns got ten points in the last 4:36 of the half. McCown led a nine play, 69 yard drive that finished with a ten yard pass to Marlon Moore to get the Browns within seven at 17-10. With 2:41 left in the half, the Browns got the ball back again, drove 58 yards in nine plays to the four yard line but they were not able to punch it in and settled for a 21 yard field goal to make it 17-13 at the break.
To open the second half, the one sight the Ravens fans didn't want to see came true. Schaub went back in time to 2013 when he threw a pick-six in four straight games with the Texans once again as Karlos Dansby picked him off and took it back 52 yards to the house. It gave Cleveland their first lead at 20-17.
But Schaub came right back. He led a 12 play, 80 yard drive that ate up 6:46 and found Kamar Aiken for a 15 yard touchdown to give the Ravens the lead back at 24-20. In the fourth, the Ravens extended their lead to seven points as Justin Tucker nailed a 35 yard field goal. Later in the fourth, McCown was hit hard and looked to have a concussion. He was taken out of the game and replaced by Austin Davis. With under four and a half minutes to go, Davis led a 71 yard drive and tied it up as he hit Travis Benjamin over the middle for a 42 yard touchdown. Benjamin simply got behind the coverage and it was an easy pitch and catch.
From there, there were four possessions in the last 97 seconds of the game. Both offenses sputtered and were not able to move the ball. Finally, Cleveland got one last chance as Tramon Williams picked Schaub off at the Ravens 46. Davis moved them to the Ravens 33 and set up Coons with a shot to win the game. His perfect record on field goals this season was ended as Urban overpowered the line on the kicker's left and got his hand up to block it. It bounced to the right of the kicker and Hill picked it up, got a block and from there, it sprung him for the improbable touchdown to win the game.
One could argue that the Browns played better in this game as they gained 21 first downs to 16 for the Ravens and they forced two turnovers. But the yards gained were almost even at 338-336 with the Browns just slightly ahead.
The Ravens have played in 11 one possession games this season, now with their fourth win. Suddenly they are just two games out in the wild card race. With a win in Miami next week against the reeling Dolphins, the playoffs would no longer be a crazy proposition.
The Browns are now tied for the worst record in the league with the Tennessee Titans at 2-9. After all the promise from last season, this year has been a complete letdown, and it gets no easier as the Bengals come to town next week.