Inside linebacker Malik Harrison blocked a late field goal attempt, and the Ravens held on to beat the Cleveland Browns, 23-20, on Sunday and exorcise some of their fourth-quarter demons.
Harrison’s block of Browns kicker Cade York’s 60-yard field goal attempt preserved the Ravens’ narrow lead with just under two minutes remaining inside M&T Bank Stadium, and safety Geno Stone forced and recovered a fumble to extinguish the Browns’ chances of evening the score on a desperation game-ending drive.
The Ravens (4-3) were outscored again in the fourth quarter, 10-3, but held on a week after collapsing late in a road loss to the New York Giants. Quarterback Lamar Jackson finished 9-for-16 for 120 yards and 10 carries for 59 yards. Running back Gus Edwards, in his first game back since tearing his ACL before last season, had 16 carries for 66 yards and two touchdowns.
The Ravens survived to remain atop the AFC North despite being outgained 336-254. They remain ahead of the Cincinnati Bengals (4-3) by virtue of their Week 5 win in Baltimore. Next comes a quick turnaround and a Thursday night game against quarterback Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, whom the rebuilding Carolina Panthers stunned, 21-3.
The Ravens, leading 23-20, were close to putting the game away earlier in the fourth quarter, a period that has given them nothing but trouble this season. But after running off nearly six minutes with a 12-play, 56-yard drive into field goal range, running back Justice Hill had the ball punched out by inside linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. The Browns recovered his fumble at the Ravens’ 16 with 3:12 remaining.
Cleveland (2-5) advanced to the Ravens’ 34, but an offensive-pass-interference penalty on wide receiver Amari Cooper and a false-start penalty on fourth down forced York onto the field for his long would-be tying attempt. Harrison, an Ohio native and former Ohio State star, got a finger on the ball, and it landed well short of the goal line.
The Ravens’ offense wasn’t pretty Sunday. They went up 20-10 midway through the third quarter with the help of their defense and a gritty offensive drive. Edwards’ 1-yard run on fourth-and-goal was the eighth play of a 25-yard touchdown drive kick-started by defensive end Calais Campbell, whose strip-sack of quarterback Jacoby Brissett (22-for-27 for 258 yards) bounced into the grasp of outside linebacker Odafe Oweh.
When their offense faltered — star tight end Mark Andrews, limited in practice all week, finished without a catch — the Ravens could at least rely on their special teams. Kicker Justin Tucker had three field goals, including a 55-yarder to extend their fourth-quarter lead to 23-13, while Devin Duvernay set up a 34-yarder with a 46-yard punt return.
The defense had its ups and downs. After a woeful first half, the Ravens forced three straight second-quarter punts and a turnover in the third quarter, allowing only three points over a 30-minute period. But the Browns ran over the Ravens to start the fourth quarter, covering 75 yards and reaching the end zone in just 2:24, narrowing their lead to 23-20 with nine minutes remaining.
The Ravens’ first half didn’t follow their normal script. Over the season’s first six weeks, they’d allowed just three points total in the first quarter. They hadn’t given up a score on their opening defensive possession. They’d never trailed.
That all changed quickly. Seven minutes in, Browns running back Nick Chubb (16 carries for 91 yards) capped the game’s first drive with a 2-yard touchdown run. Eight minutes later, kicker Cade York booted a 41-yard field goal. The Browns entered the second quarter leading 10-3, with Brissett a perfect 7-for-7 for 121 yards.
As the Ravens’ defense stabilized, their offense bounced from one extreme to another. After a promising opening drive petered out in the red zone, the Ravens went three-and-out and then settled for another field goal in Browns territory after a 5-yard drive. They didn’t take their first lead until Edwards, making his first appearance since January 2021, rumbled in from 7 yards out for a 13-10 lead with two minutes remaining.
This story will be updated.
Ravens at Buccaneers
Thursday, 8:15 p.m.
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