The Baltimore Ravens maintained their lead atop the AFC North with a 16-10 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday night at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
Justin Tucker connected on a 49-yard field goal—his third of the night—with 1:10 remaining to give Baltimore some breathing room. The Browns turned it over on downs on their next drive to seal the outcome.
It was a sloppy night all around for both teams, who combined to turn the ball over six times. Lamar Jackson, in particular, had a game he'll want to forget.
At 8-3, the Ravens sit one game ahead of the Cincinnati Bengals for first place in the division.
The Browns, meanwhile, fall back to .500. They've now alternated wins and losses for the past seven weeks, illustrating their inability to build any consistency.
Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens: 20-of-32, 165 yards, one touchdown, four interceptions; 17 carries, 68 yards
Marquise Brown, WR, Ravens: eight receptions, 51 yards
Mark Andrews, TE, Ravens: four receptions, 65 yards, one touchdown
Baker Mayfield, QB, Browns: 18-of-37, 247 yards, one touchdown; two carries, four yards
Jarvis Landry, WR, Browns: six receptions, 111 yards
Jackson Overcomes Early Mistakes
It's probably not a stretch to say Jackson encountered the worst quarter of his NFL career on Sunday. The 2019 MVP threw an interception on three straight possessions in the second quarter, matching his career high for a single game.
Watching it unfold was almost surreal.
Three interceptions for the <a href="https://twitter.com/Browns?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Browns</a> defense in this quarter! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Browns?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Browns</a><br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CLEvsBAL?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CLEvsBAL</a> on NBC<br>📱: <a href="https://t.co/a7J5Y5xpbt">https://t.co/a7J5Y5xpbt</a> <a href="https://t.co/LMn0uPkVC6">pic.twitter.com/LMn0uPkVC6</a>
Then in the third quarter, Jackson displayed what makes him so special.
The Ravens quarterback connected with Mark Andrews for a 39-yard completion that required the Pro Bowl tight end to make an incredible catch.
That was incredible. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RavensFlock?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RavensFlock</a><br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CLEvsBAL?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CLEvsBAL</a> on NBC<br>📱: <a href="https://t.co/a7J5Y5xpbt">https://t.co/a7J5Y5xpbt</a> <a href="https://t.co/i2mnT6dKG4">pic.twitter.com/i2mnT6dKG4</a>
A 13-yard touchdown pass to Andrews was all about Jackson, though.
Flushed from the pocket, he scrambled to his right and back to his left before finding Andrews in the end zone. Browns defensive end Myles Garrett appeared to show his respect for Jackson after the play ended.
LAMAR AGAIN.<a href="https://twitter.com/Lj_era8?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@lj_era8</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RavensFlock?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RavensFlock</a><br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CLEvsBAL?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CLEvsBAL</a> on NBC<br>📱: <a href="https://t.co/a7J5Y5xpbt">https://t.co/a7J5Y5xpbt</a> <a href="https://t.co/P85Nnou836">pic.twitter.com/P85Nnou836</a>
Luckily for Jackson, Baltimore's defense stiffened up to limit the Browns to 262 total yards and prevent his four interceptions from proving too costly.
Late in the game, Jackson's mobility was critical for the Ravens in draining time off the clock and keeping Cleveland's offense off the field.
Browns Unable to Capitalize
There isn't much more new to say about the Browns offense after games like this happen.
Baker Mayfield is playing through injuries and failing to hit the level he enjoyed in 2020. His receivers didn't provide a ton of help Sunday with multiple dropped passes. Cleveland's inability to get the passing game going is allowing opposing defenses to load up against the run.
The Browns averaged the second-most rushing yards (156.8 per game) entering this matchup, yet saw Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt combine for just 36 yards on the ground.
Considering how many turnovers the defense forced, one would've expected Cleveland to come away with more points.
The defense—particularly the pass rush—did everything it could to put the team in a position to win. Seemingly every time Jackson dropped back, he had one or both of Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney quickly bearing down off the edge.
Because of the talent on their roster, one expects the Browns to discover a new level. The longer that doesn't happen, the more it becomes obvious this is simply a mediocre team.
The Browns head into their bye, which couldn't come at a better time following their defeat. The Ravens hit the road to play another division rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers, on Dec. 5 at 4:25 p.m. ET.