Baltimore Sun columnist Mike Preston talks about the Ravens' 12-9 loss to the Cleveland Browns. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)
CLEVELAND — The Ravens lost, 12-9, in overtime when Cleveland Browns kicker Greg Joseph hit a 37-yard field goal with two seconds left on the clock.
The field goal capped an ugly game in which the Ravens’ offense sputtered and the defensive faltered late.
Justin Tucker tied the game on a 32-yard field goal with 52 seconds left in the fourth quarter, and Joseph missed a 55-yard attempt that could have won the game in regulation.
This was the Ravens’ sloppiest performance of the season. They squandered excellent field position in the first half, and wiped out several promising drives with turnovers. Joe Flacco made an ill-advised throw into double coverage near the goal line and paid for it with an interception. Wide receiver Michael Crabtree dropped two passes, including a potential game-winner in the end zone, and looked out of sync with Flacco on several other targets. The Ravens again abandoned their running game after Alex Collins picked up 42 yards on six carries in the first half.
They played well on defense, aside from several bouts of sloppy tackling. Safety Tony Jefferson terrorized the Browns near the line of scrimmage, and defensive tackles Brandon Williams and Willie Henry both sacked Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield. Cornerback Tavon Young made a terrific diving catch to intercept Mayfield and set up a field goal by Tucker field goal.
The loss was especially painful because the AFC North-rival Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers both won and the Ravens’ schedule only gets tougher from here.
Mike Preston, columnist: The Ravens deserved to lose. The offensive play calling was bad and quarterback Joe Flacco's performance was worse. The Ravens had no running game and receiver Michael Crabtree came up small. Very small. The Ravens played well enough to win on defense but they need to find a free safety who can make tackles in the open field in the middle third of the field. There is something about the Browns that brings out the worst in the Ravens, but usually the Ravens still have enough to win. On Sunday, the Browns took the game and embarrassed Baltimore's football team.
Jen Badie, editor: But for a blocked Justin Tucker field-goal try in the first half and a Michael Crabtree drop in the end zone at the end of the fourth quarter, this could have been a Ravens victory. But you kind of felt like when the game went into overtime, it would not go the Ravens’ way. They were hurt by turnovers (Flacco threw an interception at the Browns’ 3-yard line and a fumble by Buck Allen led to a Browns field goal) and by Crabtree’s inability to catch or hold on to the ball. One silver lining: The defense still hasn’t allowed a touchdown in the second half of a game this season.