Pass rush makes biggest difference vs. Browns
It’s not as if the Browns had been an offensive juggernaut before a key play in the second half of their 14-6 loss to the Ravens on Sunday. However, Cleveland had shown a few sparks and the ability to string together enough plays to at least get a couple of field goals.
After a misfire by quarterback Brandon Weeden, though, they didn’t do much of anything the rest of the game.
Right after the Ravens had awakened from their own offensive slumber enough to put together a seven-play, 80-yard drive for a touchdown and a one-point lead with about 5 minutes left in the third quarter, the Browns had a chance to strike right back. After picking up a first down, Cleveland had second-and-seven from its 38. Fullback Chris Ogbonnaya circled out of the backfield down the left sideline, where the Ravens completely lost track of him. Had Weeden hit him in anything close to stride, Ogbonnaya likely would have been off on a 62-yard touchdown. Instead, Weeden led him too far and Ogbonnaya dived and couldn’t come up with the catch.
On the next play, Weeden didn’t get the ball snapped in time, resulting in a delay-of-game penalty. Then Weeden and Greg Little couldn’t connect on third down, and the Browns punted.
Given the ball back just three plays later on Ray Rice’s fumble, Cleveland did nothing with a possession that started on the Ravens’ 45. On first down, a sack by Arthur Jones pushed the Browns back 9 yards, and they came up less than inch short after going for it on fourth-and-four from the Baltimore 39.
The final three Cleveland possessions: three-and-out, five plays (including another delay-of-game on Weeden) and a punt and five plays, with a pass-interference first down and four hapless dropbacks by substitute Jason Campbell when Weeden left with an injured thumb.
Certainly, the Ravens defense had a lot to do with the Browns’ problems, but they created several — missed throws, dropped passes, penalties — of their own.