Everyone remembers what happened the last time Cleveland rolled into Baltimore. In Week 4 the Browns won 40-25 which would end up being the Ravens final loss of the regular season. The game was full of memorable moments and close until the 4th quarter. A few key things stood out from last year’s victory that if Kevin Stefanski can replicate Sunday, it will give the Browns their best chances at a win.
Get After Lamar Jackson
This statement in particular pertains to both the run and pass game. For the entire regular season last year, Lamar Jackson was only sacked 23 times. However, the Browns managed to sack him 4 times in the win alone. Unique blitz packages helped create quick pressure and the Browns did a nice job containing the edge. Jackson also only had 66 yards on the ground (14 yards below his avg per game), most of which came on a pair of runs.
It will be almost impossible to completely shut him down Sunday, but keeping Lamar under 100 yards rushing and ensuring he doesn’t break multiple plays off the scramble is step one to stopping the Ravens high powered offense. Slowing down their designed run game and forcing Jackson into tough throw out of the pocket is also critical. He threw 33% of his interceptions for the entire season in last year’s loss to Cleveland. If Joe Woods can come up with a unique plan to slow Lamar Jackson down, this should be a close one.
Run and Pass Balance
A nice counter balance through the air and on the ground is always a good thing, but against a defense like Baltimore, it’s crucial. They had the 3rd best defense in the league for points allowed and 4th in yardage last season. In fact the 530 yards (342 passing & 188 rushing) the Browns put on them was the most they allowed all year. The only team to also put up over 500 yards were the Kansas City Chiefs, the other team who beat the Ravens in the regular season. An even more impressive stat is that no other team even managed to top 350 yards.
Last year’s game was one of Jarvis Landry’s best since he’s been in Cleveland. He hauled in 8 receptions for 167 yards and Ricky Seals-Jones also had a big day with 82 yards and a touchdown. In the run game it was almost all Nick Chubb who had 20 carries for 165 yards and 3 touchdowns. This time around with Kareem Hunt and Austin Hooper now in the mix, it should present even more matchup troubles when the Browns offense is on the field.
Getting a team coming off a 14-2 record on the road is never the situation one hopes for. However, it presents Kevin Stefanski with a chance to prove himself and start off with an incredible amount of momentum. If the Browns are able to put up close to 400 yards and keep Lamar Jackson in check, this season might be off to a great start!