Five years ago, the new uniform-wearing Cleveland Browns left the FirstEnergy Stadium field in stunned silence at the end of an unbelievable Monday night loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
Late Monday night, the new uniform-wearing Browns again left the FirstEnergy Stadium field disappointed following another Monday night loss to the Ravens. This time, though, it was different — much different.
Just don’t tell the Browns’ rookie head coach.
“I do not want to go down the moral victories [path],” Kevin Stefanski said. “We lost. We got beat. Proud of the guys and how they battled — I really am — but I just look at all the mistakes that we made, and we have to correct them.”
The Browns did plenty of correcting between meetings with the Ravens this season, going from the losing end of a Week 1 blowout that had folks in Cleveland ready to burn it all down, to nearly winning what might end up going down as the NFL’s game of the year. Baker Mayfield threw for 343 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, and was one of three Cleveland rushers to score at least one touchdown on the ground in the loss. Stefanski isn’t about silver linings, though — not with a playoff spot at stake.
“For us to reflect on Week 1 to Week 13, I do not think we are really in that mind frame,” the coach said.
Cleveland stormed back from a 34-20 third-quarter deficit to take a 35-34 lead with less than half of the final period remaining before Lamar Jackson pulled his best Willis Reed (or Paul Pierce) impression, tying the game on an unlikely touchdown pass to Marquise Brown and eventually leading Baltimore 38 yards downfield to set up future Hall of Fame kicker Justin Tucker up for the game-winning boot. Tucker converted, giving the Ravens a 45-42 lead that finished at 47-42 following a final-play safety.