The tide has officially turned. For the first time in five years, the Cleveland Browns are in first place in the AFC North following a dominating 40-25 win over the Baltimore Ravens.
The offense shined and it is about damn time
Following an opening drive three-and-out, the Browns offense came alive. On just the second drive of the game, the Baker Mayfield led-offense ran 13 plays over the course of 8:31 and gained 99 yards. Ricky Seals-Jones capped off the drive with a nine-yard touchdown — More on him later.
That drive started on the Cleveland-16 yard line. When it ended, I was under the impression that it was the best offensive drive of the season.
Mayfield completed 7-of-8 passes for 78 yards and a touchdown on his most efficient drive of the season. He finished the game 20-of-30 for 342 yards and a touchdown. Mayfield was aided by 65-yard and 59-yard pass catches by Seals-Jones; He also threw an interception. Overall, pretty good performance by Mayfield, who has struggled through the first three games.
The Browns hung 530 yards on the Ravens, averaged 8.7 yards per play, were 6-of-13 on first down, and 4-for-5 on scoring points in the red zone. Those 530 yards allowed by the Ravens were the fourth-most given up in franchise history, according to ESPN.
Coming into the season, the expectation was that the Browns would have one of the most explosive offenses in the league. Coming into week three the Browns ranked 25th in the NFL in yards per game and 27th in the league in points per game. I think it’s safe to say those rankings will improve.
We finally saw the Browns offense that we intended when the team hired Freddie Kitchens as head coach. There was creativity, Nick Chubb received 23 touches, and Mayfield finally turned the clock back to last season when he showed his promising patience in the pocket and his ability to pick apart defenses.
Props to Jake Trotter for finding this one: “This was the first game in Browns history they had a 300-yard passer (Baker Mayfield), 150-yard rusher (Nick Chubb) and 150-yard receiver (Jarvis Landry), according to Elias Sports Bureau.”
And the Browns did this all without their best offensive weapon only catching two passes for 20 yards.
Yes, Odell Beckham Jr. was reception-less through three quarters for the first time in his career but he still made an impact.
— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) September 29, 2019
What a day it was for the Browns offense, especially after a sour taste was left in our mouths from Sunday Night Football I am back on the Browns offensive bandwagon and you should be too.
The defense slowed down one of the hottest quarterbacks and the hottest offenses
Coming into Sunday’s game, the Ravens led the NFL in yards per game (by 24 yards) and points per game. The defense slowed down the red-hot Lamar Jackson, limiting him to 247 passing yards and forcing two interceptions. Jackson did rush for 66 yards on the ground.
Speaking of the Ravens rushing attack, Baltimore was also ranked first in the NFL in rushing yards per game with 216. The Browns limited Baltimore to 173 — I am no mathematician — but that is 43 yards less than what they were averaging before yesterday’s match.
Most importantly the Browns forced three turnovers, which really aided the offense in taking ahold of the game, and ultimately the Browns securing the win. The Browns scored a touchdown following the Mark Ingram fumble to make the score 24-10. They also put the cherry on top with 2:17 remaining to go ahead 40-18 following Jackson’s second interception.
Olivier Vernon had his first sack as a Brown, Jermaine Whitehead had seven tackles, and Devaroe Lawerence had a tackle-for-loss and interception. Not bad for the former Giant, Packer, and Saint. They all three played elsewhere for at least a portion of the 2018 season.
Following a bumpy training camp and preseason from the Browns tight ends, Cleveland brought in former Arizona Cardinals tight end Ricky Seals-Jones and he broke out. RSJ, as they call him, caught three passes for 82 yards and a touchdown.
David Njoku is an important piece to the Browns offense but with the rest of the skill positions clicking and Seals-Jones breaking out, it is fair to say Kitchens and company is not exactly missing Njoku.
Landry has Arrived
Ever since being acquired by the Miami Dolphins, I have never felt that Jarvis Landry had really “arrived” as that star Pro Bowl receiver that he was in Miami. Maybe it is just me. But today, he really touched down.
Landry caught eight receptions for a career-high 167 yards against the Ravens. Unfortunately for Landry, he left the game with a concussion. Hoping for a speedy recovery for Landry, as he was much of the reason the Browns offense was so dominant on Sunday.
Schobert needs to stay
Impending free agent Joe Schobert was outstanding against the Ravens. He dominated with a game-high nine tackles and added a sack and a tackle for loss. He may not always flash but he is the heart and soul of that defense.