The Cleveland Browns beat the Baltimore Ravens, 12-9, in an overtime nail bitter on Sunday. The game was a defensive slugfest with only 18 points combined from both teams going up on the scoreboard. Points were at a premium for both teams.
It all came down to one drive for Cleveland. With 2:55 left in overtime, the Browns were facing another tie and another rough end to a game. But, the Browns had a chance to change that fate. And they did just that. Behind quarterback Baker Mayfield, the Browns offense put together a seven-play, 65-yard drive that placed them in position where kicker Greg Joseph was able to make a 37-yard field goal to win the game.
So, how did the Browns do it? Well in this week’s Browns film room, we will examine the seven-play drive that helped garner the Browns a big win versus the Baltimore Ravens. So with that, let’s get to it and roll the tape!
2:55 1st-and-10: WR Rod Streater runs for a loss of 11 yards
The first play of the drive was a disaster. The Browns lined up in a shotgun formation with three out wide, a tight end on the left end of the line and a running back to the right of Mayfield. Cleveland decides to do a reverse where running back Duke Johnson takes the handoff and then tosses the ball to wide receiver Rod Streater, who is cutting back to the right. The play call was awful and the execution was just as bad. The Browns got too cute and for the situation it was not wise. The execution was even worse. The breakdown comes on the right end of the line. Right tackle Chris Hubbard and center J.C. Tretter seem to have a miscommunication. Both lineman go and try to block the defensive lineman in the right B gap. This leaves the defensive lineman in the wide nine spot on the right end of the lined unblocked. Mayfield is left to try and block this unblocked defender, which is obviously something the Browns did not draw up. The defender blows up the reverse and forces the play into an eleven-yard loss. The play call and execution starts this drive off in a bad way.
2:12 2nd-and-21: QB Baker Mayfield scrambles for 13 yards
The second play of the drive was one of the bigger plays of the drive. The Browns needed 21 yards to gain the first down with just two plays to do so. Cleveland comes out in a shotgun with three out wide, a tight end in the right slot back spot and a running back to the left of Mayfield. The play design is actually pretty good here. The Browns go with a play action pass with the blocking scheme playing like there would be a handoff. The offensive line shifts to the right, while the tight end cuts across the line to block the backside defender. The running back runs to the right to finish off the fake.
But, the Ravens are covering the play with zone coverage and just four pass rushers. This leaves Mayfield with no real passing option. But, the play design helps the play succeed anyway. With the run fake moving to the right, the rush shades to the right. Mayfield only has to avoid one rusher on the left, which he is able to do when the rusher tries to rush inside and Mayfield slips out to the outside. The left side of the field is now wide open. When Mayfield is out of the pocket, he sees what has transpired in the secondary. The Browns called for three deep routes. This caused the entire Ravens secondary to drop back extremely deep. Mayfield is now out of the pocket with ten yards of free yardage. Mayfield runs out to the left and gains a big 13 yards to make it a more manageable third down.
2:00 3rd-and-8: QB Baker Mayfield to WR Derrick Willies for 39 yards
And, now comes the biggest play of the game. To try and convert this third down, the Browns come out in a shotgun with four out wide and a running back to the left of Mayfield. The play starts with two of the routes on the right side of the field utilizing a rub action where the routes run closely together to try and get separation from the coverage on one or both of the routes. However, the action is negated due to the rush that Mayfield experiences. Mayfield gets quick pressure from both edges of the pocket, with both Browns tackles getting beat by their rushers. But, Mayfield moves out the back of the pocket and gets free from the pressure.
Now away from the pressure for a second, Mayfield has his eyes downfield when he sees wide receiver Derrick Willies with a little space from his defender. Willies ran a curl route initially for this play. When he sees Mayfield scramble, he cuts diagonally to the inside to get in the middle of the field so Mayfield can more easily find him. The defender closed on the curl route, so when Willies changed course, the defender fell behind Willies. Mayfield spots the receiver and fires a precise pass where Willies could catch it and run with it and the defender could not deflect it. Mayfield fired this great pass without a proper base, which makes the throw even more impressive. Willies catches the pass and pulls off a big run to set up the Browns for a eventual winning field goal.
1:16 1st-and-10: RB Duke Johnson runs for 15 yards
After the big play by Willies, the Browns still needed more yards to get into field goal range. Cleveland lines up in a shotgun formation with three receivers out wide, a running back to the left of Mayfield and a shifting tight end who ends up in the left slot. The play is run/pass option with Mayfield deciding to either hand it off or make quick passes to the tight end or receiver on the left side of the field. The fake makes it a numbers game. The rusher on the left end of the line cannot bite hard on the handoff because of the other options Mayfield could go to. This leaves just five defenders on the right side of the line against five Browns offensive linemen. Mayfield sees it and hands it off to running back Duke Johnson. Center J.C. Tretter and right guard Kevin Zeitler seal off the inside, while right tackle Chris Hubbard gets just enough off the edge rusher to make a lane for Johnson to run through. Once Johnson gets through the line, he has lots of space in front of him before a defender can get to him. It is a big 15-yard gain to put the Browns in field goal range.
:39 1st-and-10: RB Duke Johnson runs for 5 yards
Now, the Browns are just trying to shorten the field goal for kicker Greg Joseph. In this play, the Browns come out in a single back set with a bunch set in the left slot and a receiver out wide to the right. When the play is snapped, right guard Kevin Zeitler and center J.C. Tretter make the key block. Zeitler initially takes on the defensive tackle in the right A gap. But, Tretter makes a big hit that pushes the tackle out of the way, forming the outside wall of the hole running back Duke Johnson is about to go through. Johnson goes right behind Tretter’s back. Left guard Joel Bitonio heads down field to block the linebacker that is assigned to fill that gap. The play could have been even bigger, but left tackle Desmond Harrison is unable to keep his defender from crashing inside and getting to Johnson. Though, Johnson saves the play from being a short gain by carrying the crashing defender on his back for an extra couple yards to make it a really nice medium yardage gain.
:10 2nd-and-5: RB Duke Johnson runs for 4 yards
For the final play to set up the potential game-winning field goal, Cleveland lines up in a shotgun formation with four out wide and a running back to the left of Mayfield. The Browns run a play to the right by running back Duke Johnson. The first key block comes from left guard Joel Bitonio. Bitonio quickly moves to get in front of the inside defensive tackle to wall him off from the right. To form the other side of the running lane, right guard Kevin Zeitler sets a good block on the defensive lineman in the right B gap. Center J.C. Tretter takes on the linebacker on the second level to not allow him to fill in that gap. Johnson hits the hole, but Zeitler and Bitonio are unable to sustain the blocks for long, as the two defensive linemen are able to get off the blocks and get to Johnson. However, Johnson fights once again to gain a little more yards after the initial contact. It was another productive run to set up a more manageable field goal.
:02 3rd-and-1: Greg Joseph makes the 37-yard field goal
The Browns line up for the winning field goal. When the ball is snapped, Ravens defensive back Tony Jefferson is able to leak through the inside of the Browns outside blocker on the left, tight end Darren Fells. Fells does not give enough of a resistance to slow down Jefferson’s penetration. Once through the line, Jefferson is able to dive right in front of Browns kicker Greg Joseph. But, Joseph is able to kick it high and quick enough that Jefferson is just able to tip it a little. The ball is still able to make it 37 yards and through the uprights for the game-winning field goal.
The highlight of the game versus the Baltimore Ravens was cornerback Denzel Ward. Ward may huge game changing plays that helped the Browns secure their victory. He notched five tackles, three passes defended, one interception and one blocked field goal. His interception and blocked field goal took away could have been ten points for the Ravens. Ward was great on Sunday.
The lowlight of the game versus the Baltimore Ravens was the injury to wide receiver Rashard Higgins. Higgins sprained his MCL during the game on Sunday. He will be on the sideline for up to four weeks, which hurts the wide receiver unit quite a bit. Higgins has shown a strong cohesiveness with quarterback Baker Mayfield, so not having Higgins could be a major hit to the offense.