Week 1 Recap: Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens

Week 1 Recap: Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens

by September 14, 2020 2 comments

The Baltimore Ravens held a wire-to-wire lead, clobbering the Cleveland Browns 38-6. Originally projected as a seven-point spread, Marlon Humphrey intercepted Baker Mayfield on the opening drive, setting the tone for a Ravens win. The 32-point margin of victory is slightly misleading as the Ravens benefitted from three Cleveland special teams errors, but Baltimore was in control for 60 minutes.

Baltimore Offense:

2019 MVP Lamar Jackson continued his domination, tossing three touchdowns and a 152.1 passer rating. Baltimore was relatively quiet on the ground with their 107 total rush yards, the fewest of the Jackson era. Jackson accounted for 45 yards on seven carries while the rest of the backs combined for just 62 yards on 23 carries, under three yards per carry. Rookie J.K. Dobbins scored twice, becoming the first Ravens running back to score in his debut. In the receiving game, Marquise Brown had a 100-yard first half, and Mark Andrews caught a pair of touchdowns. 

Cleveland Offense:

Cleveland was able to move the ball on the ground for the most part, but they were supplemented by a pair of 20-yard runs. Without those, they had just 87 yards on 25 attempts. In the passing game, Jarvis Landry and David Njoku were notable performers. Landry hauled in five passes for 61 yards. Njoku supplied the only scoring of the day for Cleveland with a second-quarter touchdown catch. Odell Beckham (three catches, 22 yards) and Austin Hooper (two catches, 15 yards) were quiet.

Baltimore Defense:

Defensively, the Ravens made plays when they needed to. They forced three turnovers including a pair of fumbles. Rookie Patrick Queen and Tyus Bowser got to Mayfield with sacks, and Queen added a forced fumble. DeShon Elliott played well in his debut as a starter, recording five tackles. Calais Campbell’s debut did not make much of a statistical impact, but he was chewing up blocks on the interior while also providing a pass-rushing option the Ravens had been lacking since the days of Haloti Ngata.

Cleveland Defense:

The Browns had a strange defensive performance. On one hand, they did a great job of containing the Baltimore rush attack, racking up eight tackles for loss, and not allowing a 20-yard run. On the other hand, the secondary was picked apart in the absence of Greedy Williams and Grant Delpit. Myles Garrett made his presence felt with a forced fumble, but he was kept away from Jackson for the most part.

Highlights

Humphrey started the game with an early interception of Mayfield.

On the ensuing drive, Jackson found Andrews for the first of two touchdown connections.

While his first touchdown to Andrews was not accurate, Jackson was nearly flawless on downfield passes.

This ball to Brown might be the prettiest throw Jackson has made in his 23 starts.

The Ravens and Browns will square off in Week 14’s Monday Night Football in Cleveland. Next week, the Ravens head to Houston to face the Texans, and the Browns have a short week, returning home to host the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday Night Football.

On the injury front, only Ronnie Stanley missed significant time for either side. Stanley should be a full-go for Week 2.

For as well as Baltimore played, the running game was fairly stagnant. They averaged six fewer yards per rush than per pass, detailing both the explosive passing game and disappointing rushing game. In 2019, the Ravens averaged 5.5 yards per carry, so Week 1 was alarming.

The Browns were just the lesser of the two teams. Outside of Beckham and kicker Austin Seibert, no Brown struggled mightily, but even Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb were inconsistent. Moving forward, the Browns will likely not be blown out again like they were by Baltimore, so a more neutral game script will help the offense.

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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

I’m Ryan Potts. Some people affectionately call me Splash. I am renowned for being a misplaced Ravens, Cavs, Wings & Braves fan. Twitter: MrSplashMan19

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