CLEVELAND, Ohio – Baker Mayfield could hardly believe his eyes when Lamar Jackson came out of the locker room with just over two minutes to go in the fourth quarter after getting IV fluids from cramps to take the field with Ravens trailing 35-34.
“It was like a scene from a movie,” said Mayfield.
The only problem is that the film turned out to be a tear-jerk for the Browns, who lost 47-42 in what had to be the wildest shootout of the NFL season – on Monday Night Football for the world. An epic duel between Jackson and Mayfield with a combined 20 points in the last two minutes, ended with a 55-yard field goal from Justin Tucker with two seconds to go, and a Ravens safety tacked at the end.
“If you were to write a movie about this, people wouldn’t believe it,” said Ravens coach John Harbaugh, who improved to 22-4 from the Browns. “They’d say it could never happen.” reality is stranger than fiction ‘, or whatever that saying is.’ ‘
The heartbreaking loss broke the Browns’ four-game winning streak to 9-4. Their hopes for the playoffs are still robust, but their slim chance of overtaking the Steelers (11-2) for the AFC North crown nearly faded. The Ravens meanwhile improved to 8-5 and kept their hopes alive in the postseason, especially with an easy three-game finish. They also swept the Browns in the series after drilling 38-6 in the opener.
“Obviously very disappointed,” said coach Kevin Stefanski. “We came here to get a win, but we didn’t. Very hard-won game on both sides. We just weren’t clean enough to beat a good team, which is disappointing. ”
Mayfield (28-of-47, 343 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 87.5 rating) fought back from a costly interception in the third quarter – which broke his run of 187 tries and five consecutive games without one – to get it right at 42 late in the game, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Superman who stormed out of the locker room with his cape and did the unthinkable.
The reigning NFL MVP, Jackson went for fluids with his team 34-20 in the third quarter after JK Dobbins turned Mayfield’s interception into a 1-yard TD run. When he returned, they were trailing 35-34 and in very difficult circumstances.
“I’m like, ‘I need something now to help me get better quickly because this is a crucial game,’ ‘said Jackson, who sat out the 19-14 loss to the Steelers on December 2 while recovering. from COVID- 19. “” Both teams play their hearts out. ” ”
With Jackson rushing to 124 yards from the Ravens’ 231 yards and two of their 5 rushing TDs, in the locker room and Trace McSorley filling in, Mayfield put the first two of his three fourth quarter TDs on the board – a 21- yard pass to Rashard Higgins and a 5-yard scramble and slide into the end zone to mount the Browns 35-34 with 6:33 remaining.
While Jackson reached out to try to get back into the game, he saw McSorley be dropped for a three-yard loss by Myles Garrett in third and stumbled away with a knee injury – just after the two-minute warning. Receiver Willie Snead warmed up like the emergency QB, but Jackson fastened his helmet and strode out onto the field.
“I saw [McSorley] go downstairs, and I was like, ‘We just gotta get out now,’ Jackson said.
Facing a 4th and 5 from the Browns ’44, Jackson escaped to the right and found Marquis Brown open over the middle for a 44-yard catch-and-run to set up the Ravens 42-35 with 1:51 to play .
“We blitzed,” said Stefanski. ‘He made a play. I don’t know exactly what happened in that piece. He shouldn’t be able to get out of the bag like that. Disappointing. ”
But Mayfield, still trying to pay for his ugly pick, went 4-for-4 for 75 yards on the ensuing ride, including a 22-yard catch-and-run for a TD by Kareem Hunt, which dove over the mast to tie it at 42 with 1:04 left.
“I knew we needed the seven,” said Hunt (33 yards rushing, 77 receiving and two TDs). “When I get the chance to play, I’ll always try to be there to do that for the team. At that point I wouldn’t be stopped from entering. ”
But Jackson, who completed just 11 of 17 tries for 163 yards and the TD, uses his arm again to clear the game, completing 4 of 5 passes to position Tucker at the windy Dawg Pound end for the game-winning kick. .
“[Jackson’s] a great player, ” said Stefanski. Again, reigning MVP. We know he’s great. ”
Though Mayfield’s comeback was brave, he kicked himself for the interception while buried at the age of 13. On the first game, Mayfield threw to Higgins in the left flat, but linebacker Tyus Boswer ducked in and took him, bringing it back to the 1. Dobbins cashed on the first game.
“They did well by dropping out and showing a look with three big boys on the edge on the left,” Mayfield said. “No. 54 Bowser played great. I just need to be able to watch him drop in under that stop route and take care of the ball.
Stefanski took the blame for the call.
“We were fooled there,” he said. ‘I fooled there. I’ll give them my cap. That was a good defensive decision. It was a great play [Bowser] fall on a fire zone. ”
Mayfield had not made a choice since his first pass in 37-34 Cincinnati on October 25, and the Browns were 5-1 in that period.
“Turn the ball over – we’ve talked about it – it hurts you,” Mayfield said. ‘It hurts me, and the team hurts. We just have to build on the fact that this team is fighting. I am really proud of this team to fight. ”
The Browns, who were trailing 21-14 in the third half and came out 28-14 in the third and 231 yards to 138, went in knowing they had to be aggressive to keep up with Jackson, who rushed 78 yards and put in two TDs. the first half, while completing only 3-of-6 tries for 53 yards.
“He just about hit us with his feet, like I thought he would,” said Sheldon Richardson, who had a bag.
Myles Garrett, who didn’t have one of the Browns’ four first-half sacks, left the game with an elbow injury in the second quarter, but returned after four games. While out, Gus Edwards rushed to a TD to make it 14-7. Garrett will be checked out again on Monday, as will Jedrick Wills Jr.’s tackle. and the security guard Wyatt Teller, who were both on and off with ankle injuries. Andrew Sendejo is being examined for a concussion.
“Some of these little bumps and bruises will hurt a little bit more because we didn’t bring home that win,” said Kareem Hunt. “It’s tough. Not getting away with a win is hard. We have to find a way. I’m proud we fought. I feel like everyone left it on the field.”
The Browns were without a tight end Austin Hooper, Denzel Ward and Ronnie Harrison, who should all come back in the coming weeks.
“That’s a really good football team with a lot of heart,” said Harbaugh. “They played a really good football game. We played a very good football game. It’s a game that will go down in history.
The Browns are on prime time by next week, against the Giants on Sunday Night Football at MetLife Stadium.
New Browns Face Masks For Sale: Here you can buy Cleveland Browns themed face covers for adult and youth coronavirus protection, including a single mask ($ 14.99) and a 3-pack ($ 24.99). All proceeds from the NFL will be donated to the CDC Foundation.
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