Ravens blow 12-point lead, suffer stunning OT home loss vs. Browns
BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Ravens have lost several players to injury, dropped both their games at home and allowed several fourth-quarter leads to slip from their grasp.
Here's one thing coach John Harbaugh insists the Ravens won't lose: their resolve.
Baltimore's horrid start to the 2015 season resumed Sunday with a 33-30 overtime loss to the Cleveland Browns. The Ravens gave up two fourth-quarter touchdowns, then allowed the Browns (2-3) to move 51 yards in overtime before Travis Coons kicked a field goal with 6:43 left in the extra session.
Unable to build on their first win of the season, in overtime at Pittsburgh last week, the last-place Ravens fell to 1-4 for the first time.
"It's not going to be a matter of, 'How do we handle this adversity of being 1-4?' We'll handle it," Harbaugh said.
Playing without injured receiver Steve Smith and starting tight end Crockett Gillmore, the Ravens still managed to r ing up 377 yards in offense. But the defense yielded 505 yards, including a Cleveland-record 457 yards passing to Josh McCown.
Injuries to defensive backs Lardarius Webb and Will Davis didn't help.
"It's huge when your players go down, but it's no excuse," cornerback Jimmy Smith said.
Joe Flacco ran for two 1-yard touchdowns and threw for a score, but fell to 13-2 against Cleveland. It was the first time since 2007 that Baltimore lost at home to the Browns. The score of that game, by the way, was 33-30 in overtime.
McCown completed 36 of 51 passes with two touchdowns in becoming the first quarterback in Browns history with three straight 300-yard games. He broke the team record of 444 yards passing set by Brian Sipe on Oct. 25, 1981, against the Baltimore Colts.
McCown knew for days that the Browns could take advantage of a porous Baltimore defensive backfield.
"Wednesday," he said. "We love throwing the ball around. So we're ready to roll."
After going to the postseason in six of the past seven years, Flacco and the Ravens are in a unique bind.
"It doesn't feel too good," Flacco said.
Baltimore went up 27-22 on a 1-yard run by Justin Forsett with 5:56 left, but the Ravens couldn't come up with the big play in the fourth quarter.
McCown connected with Isaiah Crowell on a 22-yard touchdown pass with 3:03 remaining, and the 2-point conversion left the Ravens needing a field goal to tie.
A personal foul against Donte Whitner on a third-and-6 incompletion led to a 32-yard pass from Flacco to Forsett, who hurt his right ankle on the play. He finished with 121 yards rushing.
"I felt like if I went back out there I possibly could have damaged it more," Forsett said.
After Forsett left, three plays inside the 10 failed to get the ball into the end zone. That left Justin Tucker to kick a 23-yard field goal with 25 seconds to go in regulation.
Overtime belonged to the Browns after a wild fourth quarter.
"You have wins that define things for you - that can define a season or be a turning point - and we hope that was this for us," coach Mike Pettine said.
Down 21-9, the Browns rallied behind McCown to take a 22-21 lead with 12:23 remaining.
First, McCown directed a 13-play, 75-yard drive that was extended by a hands-to-the-face penalty call against Jason Babin on a third-down incompletion from the Baltimore 15. Two plays later, McCown ran in from the 10.
After a Baltimore punt, McCown needed only four plays to cover 79 yards and give Cleveland its first lead. Following a 56-yard completion to Andrew Hawkins, McCown lofted a pass toward the end zone that tight end Gary Barnidge and safety Will Hill each had an equal chance to catch.
The ball glanced off Burnidge's left leg and rolled down to his left ankle as he pinned his legs together to control it. While on his back, he reached down and secured the ball for an 18-yard touchdown.
It turned out to be merely the opening salvo of a wild fourth quarter.
Notes: Smith (back) and tight end Gillmore (calf) were inactives. They were ultimately joined on the sideline by linebacker Elvis Dumervil (groin), Webb and Davis. ... Cleveland CB Joe Haden played with a broken right ring finger. He banged his head early in the fourth quarter and was kept out with a concussion.