The Cleveland Browns finished their 2019 campaign with a nail-biting loss to the Baltimore Ravens, 26-24. The Browns had the chance to win on their final drive, but just came a little bit short. With the win, the Ravens clinched the AFC North and a playoff spot. The Browns ended their season with an 7-8-1 record and hope for 2019 at the highest its been for the franchise’s future since 1999.
Almost everything that could go wrong went wrong in the first half for the Browns. The defense had no answers for the Ravens run game for much of the half, allowing a total of 179 rushing yards to Baltimore. On offense, the Browns had several miscues, including two interceptions from quarterback Baker Mayfield. The officiating even took a touchdown off the board from the Browns defense, as the officials blew the whistle too early thinking the Ravens had gotten to the endzone. Nevertheless, Cleveland was not in as big a hole as the happenings would indicate in the first half, with the Browns trailing just 20-7 at the half.
The Browns, though, showed in the second half that this is a new dawn in Cleveland. Rather than fold up shop for the year, the Browns responded to the rough first half with a really good second half that gave them the opportunity to win the game on the final drive. With just under two minutes to play, the Browns started off the drive very well. The offense was able to move all the way to the Baltimore 39-yard line. But, Cleveland stalled from there. On four straight downs, the Ravens stood strong and denied the Browns from getting any further. The game ended when Mayfield threw his third interception of the game on fourth down. The Browns fell short to the Ravens, 26-24.
The Browns ended the season at 7-8-1, but overall this season was a success. It was fun to be a Browns fan, rooting for this young, talented team that just starting to rise from the ashes of past failures. This is just the start, but boy was this end of the season fun.
Hope for 2019
The loss ends the season, but the hope and excitement for the franchise is the highest it has ever been since 1999. The Browns are back. We have our quarterback. We have our young nucleus. This team has a huge offseason that has so many opportunities to make this franchise even better. I can’t wait to see what they do and for the start of training camp in 2019. Is it 2019, yet?
Cleveland, we have our quarterback. In the biggest game of his career, Mayfield had his ups and downs versus the No. 1 defense in the NFL, the Baltimore Ravens. He finished completing 23 of 42 for 376 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. He had some mistakes in the game, but he had his team (a team that struggled to stop the run and to run the ball themselves) in position to win the game on their final drive of the game. He just came up a bit short, but he showed well versus this top defense. In the victory, he broke the rookie touchdown pass record with 27 total touchdown passes in just 13 games this season. Here was the touchdown that gave him the record.
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) December 31, 2018
With the offseason upon us, the biggest question is who will be the Browns head coach next season. In my opinion, the Ravens game showed that Gregg Williams should not be the head coach next season. He suffered some big coaching blunders in terms of challenges and timeouts that showed he is just not a head coach in the NFL. Who, then, will take the reigns of this team?
The Ravens game also was another indication that the Browns defense is the biggest area for the Browns to work on, in particular the front seven. The Ravens rolled through them throughout the game, dominating the line of scrimmage. Defensive tackle would be my priority No. 1. What’s yours?