Deshaun Watson, Browns defense delivers on promise to make the Ravens game special with 13-3 victory

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Deshaun Watson headed into his first game at FirstEnergy Stadium on Sunday against the Ravens wanting to do something special for Browns fans, and he and his teammates delivered.

Playing the role of spoiler, the Browns beat the Ravens 13-3 to improve to 6-8 and keep their miniscule playoff hopes flickering.

They dropped the first-place Ravens to 9-5 and jeopardized their status atop the AFC North. The 9-4 Bengals play in Tampa on Sunday.

With Watson using his arms and legs to show his new fans what he’s all about and the defense dominating, the Browns eked out a hard-fought victory over the Ravens and backup quarterback Tyler Huntley.

The Browns had to survive back-to-back missed field goals by Cade York while up 13-3, a 38-yarder that he sailed wide left at the closed end in a swirling snow with 10:49 left in the game, and a 46-yarder at the closed end also in a swirling snow that he sailed wide right with 4:24 left.

But Myles Garrett came through with back-to-back sacks on the Ravens ensuing drive — the second one being split with Perrion Winfrey — one for 6 yards and one for 2 yards, and Denzel Ward broke up the fourth-down pass to turn the ball over on downs with just over three minutes remaining.

Ward also had an interception early in the game that the Browns converted into a 3-yard touchdown pass from Watson to Donovan Peoples-Jones.

It was the kind of dominant defensive performance the Browns have been looking for — and they did it without Jadeveon Clowney (head injury) for the second half and without John Johnson III (thigh) for the fourth quarter.

On Wednesday, Watson (18 of 28, 161 yards, 1 TD, 91.5 rating) described what he wanted for Browns fans in their second-to-last home game of the season.

“My main objective for this weekend is going out there and just showing this crowd and showing the Cleveland fans and this city that we are going out there to compete and this season is not over for us. So I can’t control what the reaction’s going to be. I’m not sure what it’s going to be, but like I said, I’m excited to go out there and play football and get back in the old-school uniforms and the white face masks and things like that and have a little bit of fun and just try to make Saturday something special for Cleveland.”

Nick Chubb rushed for 99 yards, and JK Dobbins dropped 125 of the Ravens’ 198 on the Browns, but they kept them out of the end zone and blocked a Justin Tucker field goal, one of his two missed.

The Browns, who led 6-3 at the half, increased their advantage to 13-3 on a 3-yard TD pass to Peoples-Jones with 2:10 left in the third quarter.

The touchdown cashed in on Ward’s red zone interception on a pass intended for DeSean Jackson at the 9 with 8:17 left in the third quarter. The Browns took over at their 10 and Watson got hot, finding Amari Cooper for passes of 16 and 28 yards to the Baltimore 18. On third-and-1, rookie receiver Michael Woods II failed to run into the end zone on his route, and got yelled at by Watson. But Nick Chubb made up for it by converting the fourth-and-1.

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On the TD pass to Peoples-Jones, he lined up in a bunch formation but then moved into the backfield. He drew the linebacker in coverage, and beat him on an out-and-in.

On the Raven’s first play of their next drive, Ravens receiver DeMarcus Robinson was stripped of the ball by Johnson, who recovered. Unfortunately for the Browns, they were unable to cash in this time, and they punted from their 42 after a sack

But they had more in store for the Ravens, who marched to the Browns’ 31 with back-to-back big plays. But Jordan Elliott jumped and stuck his hand up and blocked Justin Tucker’s 50-yard field goal attempt with 14:02 left in the game.

Coupled with his 48-yard miss earlier in the game, it was the first time he’s missed two kicks in a game since Dec. 22, 2018, against the Chargers.

The Browns took a 3-0 lead with 14:10 left in the half on a 47-yard field goal by York. The Browns had taken over on downs at their 7 after Johnson and Jadeveon Clowney stopped fullback Patrick Ricard for no gain on fourth-and-1.

Watson converted third-and-4 with a keeper early on the drive and David Njoku caught an 8-yarder for a first down. Watson was sacked for a 7-yard loss when Chubb missed a blitz pickup on Kyle Hamilton to put the Browns in third-and-long.

The Ravens tied it 3-3 with 5:31 left in the half on a 53-yard field goal by Tucker. Alex Wright breathed new life into the drive when he lined up in the neutral zone to give Baltimore a first down at the Browns 35. But he atoned for it by dropping Dobbins for a 1-yard loss on the next play. On third down, Devin Duvernay fumbled and recovered, but Grant Delpit tackled him for a 2-yard loss to bring out Tucker.

In a first-half slugfest, the Browns went up 6-3 on a 23-yard York field goal. The play before, Watson slightly overthrew David Njoku in the back right corner of the end zone in single coverage.

On the drive, undrafted rookie Daylen Baldwin, called up from the practice squad on Friday, caught back-to-back passes of 10 and 15 yards to the Baltimore 17. Njoku took it from there, catching a 13-yard pass and hurdling a defender at the end of the play. Chubb also ripped off a 19-yard run on the drive.

Chubb, who had dropped two passes in the first half, ran with a vengeance on that drive.

The Ravens took over at their 20 with 1:47 left in the half and all three timeouts remaining. They needed to get Tucker to about the Browns 40 or 45 to tie the game. Mark Andrews caught a 19-yard pass on third-and-9 to the Browns 36 with 12 seconds left.

But Tucker’s 48-yard field goal at the closed end sailed wide left as time expired in the half, thanks in large part to a low snap.


The Browns host the Saints on Christmas Eve at 1 pm

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