Tonight will be a night of firsts in Cleveland:
Buck Allen gets his first career TD
Matt Schaub throws his first TD as a Raven
Jeremy Butler catches his first TD pass
Justin Tucker misses his first PAT
Ravens play their first game decided by more than one score of the 2015 season.
Ravens are swept by the Browns for the first time since 2007, a season that looks frighteningly familiar when compared to 2015. During that season, the Ravens lost by the scores of 33-30 and 27-13. The Ravens lost to the Browns 33-30 already this season. Tonight they lose 27-13.
The season from hell continues as does the road to Joey Bosa.
The Ravens vs Seahawks game in week 14 was just flexed out of prime time. If the NFL could’ve flexed this game as well, they certainly would have.
The last time the Browns won a game was in week 4 against the Ravens, and I expect them to snap that losing streak tonight. The Ravens couldn’t beat the Browns at home with Flacco and Forsett on the field. There’s no reason to expect them to win with Matt Schaub and Buck Allen playing in their place.
I guess if Brock Osweiler can lead the Broncos over the Patriots — albeit at home, yes — then anything can happen tonight in Cleveland.
For starters, let me say I’m one of the rare folks in town who would like to see the Ravens win tonight. Winning breeds winning. Losing breeds losing. I don’t want to see them finish 3-13. I want to see them finish 9-7. Or 8-8. Or 7-9. And so on…
But they can’t win tonight. Can they? They have a couple of healthy offensive lineman, at best, and a quarterback who was dreadful in training camp playing against the 2’s and 3’s every day. His weapons to throw to are limited at best and the team’s starting running back is out, too. I just can’t see how the Ravens win — UNLESS, the defense puts together a spectacular evening of football, with all moving parts functioning to their highest degree.
It will be close, because John Harbaugh coaches them up every week to put forth a premium effort, but the Browns will win, 23-16.
I hope I’m wrong. (I’ve said that a lot this year and nearly every time I say it, I’m not wrong.)
The Ravens go into the Dawg Pound/Factory of Sadness as underdogs for the first time since 2008, and they play like they should be for the first 3 quarters. Matt Schaub throws 3 interceptions. Buck Allen amasses under 50 yards. The defense holds its own again, but the struggles of the Ravens’ offense gives the Browns a 14-10 lead heading into the 4th quarter.
All of which changes in the final period. Matt Schaub has over 100 yards passing. Buck Allen picks up 60 yards from scrimmage. Crockett Gillmore scores two touchdowns, one in the final 4 minutes to all but seal the game. Josh McCown ends the game with an interception on a pass intended for Duke Johnson coming out of the backfield.
Ravens win 27-17.
After the last two games the country watched (Pittsburgh-Seattle & New England-Denver), both featuring high levels of play (or, as high as you’re likely to see in the 2015 NFL), this game will look like an FCS tilt. The Ravens & Browns put the “U” in ugly, and there couldn’t be a more fitting venue than the ol’ Factory of Sadness. Josh McCown shakes off the rust (he hasn’t played since November 1) and leads the Browns to their first victory since…well, since the last time they played the Ravens. Dean Pees’ defense has figured a few things out since that October day in Baltimore, and McCown only throws for half as many yards this time around – still a very respectable 230 or so – but it’s enough to beat the Matt Schaub-led iteration of our boys in Purple, 14-13.
The Matt Schaub led 3-7 Ravens at Josh McCown’s 2-8 Browns. A Monday Night Football showdown for the ages…
Since their first meeting this season, Cleveland has gone 0-5 with blowout loses against the Rams, Cards, Bengals and Steelers, while putting up 10 points or less in 3 of those games. They’ve battled the Johnny Football controversy of late, flip flopping starting QB’s. And at 2-8, they are currently the 2nd worst team in the NFL.
But none of that will matter tonight when they take down the hapless Ravens 27-17.
Matt Schaub will hit Crockett Gillmore for a score, Buck Allen will find the endzone as well, but ultimately Josh McCown will once again shred the Ravens secondary for another 400+ yard performance by burning Jimmy Smith & his 10-yard cushion all night (then he’ll over-commit ONCE and get burned for a score).
You’ll also see this about 2 or 3 times…
Despite the grim state of the Ravens roster, the team will be able to rally around Matt Schaub and improve to 4-7 on the season.
Schaub will throw two interceptions – including a pick-six – but will lead the Ravens downfield for a last-second Justin Tucker field goal to win 23-21.
Buck Allen amasses over 100 total yards and Josh McCown throws for 300+ yards.
I actually think this game won’t be as bleak as many others do. It’s brimming with young players (and some older ones) that can’t wait to prove themselves.
And, those players get to do it on the stage they’ve surely been dreaming of being on their entire lives–Monday Night Football.
Look for Paul Kruger to frustrate whichever OT he goes up against, and look for Marc Trestman to counter with screens and TE quick hitters to get the offense going.
Ravens 26, Browns 20.
Buck Allen scores 1 TD, rushes for 65 yards, and gains 30 yards receiving.
Kamar Aiken and Crockett Gillmore each gain 90 yards receiving.
Kyle Juszczyk gains 40 yards receiving and a TD.
Ravens lose the TO battle, 3-2.
The Ravens and Browns match-up certainly won’t awe many people tonight, but Matt Schaub will.
Filling in for Flacco, Schaub tosses 3 touchdowns including two to tight end Crockett Gillmore as the Ravens handle the Browns 27-23.
–The left side of the offensive line continues to implode
–The Ravens gain 125 or fewer yards rushing despite a desire to shorten the length of the game
–Schaub is party to a minimum of 2 turnovers which are a combination of pressure and throwing flotation devices outside the numbers
–The special teams and defense both play well enough to extend the Ravens streak of games without a loss by more than 1 score.
Tucker’s 4th field goal of the night decides it for the Ravens 19-17 in a result neither team’s fans are truly happy about.
The secondary will play much better than the first meeting between the Ravens and Browns. I’m not expecting the McCown to have a career day tonight. On offense, look for Terrance West to have a big night running on his former team. Schaub will manage this game well and have a turnover free night.