Cleveland Brown (6-8) – Baltimore Ravens (9-5): 13-3
Ground game, defense and snow, welcome to the AFC North in December. Far from the crazy spectacle offered in the first part of the evening, the two teams had all the trouble in the world to move the scoreboard. A game from another time that the Browns ended up winning with wear. DeShaun Watson (18/28, 161 yards, 1 TD) always blows hot and cold. If certain readings and passes work very well, he still often seems to lack rhythm and especially automation with his receivers.
The first act is placed under the authority of the defenses. Very little permissive, the two squads respond to each other in turn, limiting attacks to crumbs. Only a few races from JK Dobbins (13 races, 125 yards) and an exchange of field goals animate the first two quarters. And in this game, Cleveland takes the best. Because rare, Justin Tucker has failed. The NFL’s best kicker missed not one kick but two. For the first time in 4 years.
We have to wait until the middle of the 3rd quarter to see the meeting get carried away. A little. After an interception from Denzel Ward in his 10 yards, the Browns finally run a perfect series. Chubb does some undermining work, Watson hits 4 different targets and it’s Donovan Peoples-Jones who concludes. Cleveland has several opportunities to break.
A fumble covered in the opposing half of the field, spoiled by the attack. Two medium distance field goals totally missed. The Browns leave their rivals in the game. But the Ravens are unable to move the chains, systematically returning the leather. The aerial game is starving. The bar of 100 yards in the air only passed on the last play of the 3rd quarter. The most prolific receiver barely reaches the bat from 30 yards. Lamar Jackson’s return to business will be crucial if playoff ambitions are not to be harmed.
For Cleveland, all is not perfect, far from it, but Watson nevertheless recorded his second victory in his new colors, the first at home. A victory against a rival and which allows Cleveland to keep a slim hope in the race for the playoffs.