Browns take first place in the division, make statement to critics and future opponents in throttling Ravens
First place in the division and control of a key tie breaker. Defeating a division rival in their own building as a touchdown underdog. Forcing critics to eat their words. Those are just a few of the statements the Cleveland Browns made in their convincing win against the Baltimore Ravens in which they dominated the second half.
The Browns defense did what it has done for the first month of the season. They made the Ravens work hard for the points they got and came up with some big stops and the first turnover for the Ravens this season on a Mark Ingram fumble. They later followed up with Lamar Jackson's first interception.
Meanwhile, the Browns offense came out and got out of a collective funk they've been in for the first three games and it all started with Baker Mayfield. He didn't leave clean pockets or try to extend plays the way he had in previous weeks only to make things worse.
The offense was quicker, more effective in terms of misdirection and keeping the opponent off balance. Plays came from unexpected sources as it did so often last year. In this game, it was Ricky Seals-Jones that provided a spark on multiple occasions, catching three passes on three targets for 82 yards and a touchdown, including a 59-yard reception where the Ravens completely lost him on a play.
The most surprising part of the day for the Browns offensively is Odell Beckham didn't have a big game. He didn't catch a pass until late in the fourth quarter. His presence forced the Ravens to account for him and the Browns went just about everywhere else instead.
Jarvis Landry had the best game of his career through three quarters, catching 8 passes on 10 targets for 167 yards. And for the first time perhaps since he's been a Cleveland Brown, it felt like Landry was being used to his strengths, catching a number of short and intermediate passes and making far more after the catch, which included a 65-yard catch and run that set up a Nick Chubb touchdown. Unfortunately, Landry missed the entire fourth quarter and will miss next week at least after suffering a concussion on his final reception of the day.
Speaking of Chubb, he had a big game, wearing on the Ravens defense in the first half with some runs and receptions on screens before blowing the game open in the second half. He showed off his great vision, patience and strength on his first two runs before showcasing his speed on the third, running an 88-yard touchdown where he wasn't touched, giving him 165 yards on the day.
Mayfield played well, delivering the ball to his playmakers, but it didn't feel like Mayfield played a great game, which is a credit to the offensive gameplan and his weapons. He largely just facilitated and they made huge plays, which added up to 342 yards passing for the game.
In the end, the Browns came up with 531 total yards and put up 40 points on a highly rated Ravens defense on the road. And in one afternoon, the Browns go from being overrated, in trouble with people asking about the head coach to looking like the team many expected them to be this season.