BALTIMORE – Brandon Weeden has an injured right thumb, but it’s really the entire Browns’ offense that is hurting.
After a 14-6 loss to the Baltimore Ravens Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium, there’s not much that can be done about the offense other than to send out an S-O-S.
In a replay of most of the games of the last 15 seasons, the Browns played well enough on defense to win but received no help from the inept offense. Weeden was sacked five times and hurried into numerous errant passes. When he had a chance to make a big play – running back Chris Ogbonnaya was wide open on a wheel route along the left sideline – he misfired.
“We can’t go in there saying ‘what-if I did that,’ ” Browns running back Trent Richardson said. “You can’t say that in football. We should have done the deed. We don’t want any what-ifs anymore.”
The Browns are now 0-2 entering a week three road game against the Minnesota Vikings. The Ravens evened their record at 1-1 before a crowd of 71,908.
Don’t be fooled into believing that these are your father’s Ravens. The defense isn’t nearly as intimidating as teams of the past, and the offense is battered and bruised.
Yet somehow the Ravens managed a win that was ripe for the taking for the Browns. Even when Weeden connected with tight end Jordan Cameron for a gain of 53 yards to the Ravens’ 7 on the Browns’ first play from scrimmage, the best they could do was a 21-yard field goal by Billy Cundiff.
The only other score for the Browns came on a 51-yard field goal by Cundiff late in the second quarter, giving them a 6-0 halftime lead.
“We just have to go and catch,” said Ogbonnaya, who had six points staring him in the face on the poor throw by Weeden. “It’s as simple as that. We had opportunities to make plays.”
Weeden was hurt midway through the fourth period on a pass that was dropped by Greg Little, who ran a crossing route. Weeden’s right hand hit off the helmet of a defender. X-rays were negative, but Weeden had a brace on the hand.
Browns coach Rob Chudzinski couldn’t say for sure if Weeden will play Sunday. Weeden admitted to being in pain.
Some of the pain might not have shown up until today, when Weeden fully realized how many hits his body absorbed. For the game Weeden was 21-of-33 for 227 yards before giving way to Jason Campbell on the Browns’ final possession.
“There were times when the protection was really good, but you look at a situation where the protection breaks down,” Chudzinski said. “It’s difficult when it’s a have-to-pass situation against a good defense and a great front. They have very good pass rushers, so they’re going to get some pressure.”
The one chance Weeden had to make a big play failed when he led Ogbonnaya a little too much.
“I worked Greg on the in route and then I saw out of the corner of my eye Obby kind of pop open,” Weeden said. “Looking back if I had given it a little more air I would have given him a chance to run through it.”
After pitching a shutout in the first half, the defense allowed a 5-yard touchdown run by Bernard Pierce and a 5-yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco to Marlon Brown. After successfully converting on only 1-of-7 third-down plays in the first half, the Ravens were successful on 7-of-9 in the second half.
“They have confidence in Joe,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “We have a veteran offensive line that can kind of keep everybody understanding that everything isn’t going to happen right away.”
Flacco was 22-of-33 for 211 yards and one touchdown. He was lethal on third-down conversions in the second half.
Pierce scored at the 5:13 mark of the third quarter as the Ravens took a 7-6 lead. The drive covered 80 yards on 12 plays and included third-down conversions of 6, 7 and 8 yards.
Browns linebacker D’Qwell Jackson recovered a Ray Rice fumble at the Ravens’ 45 later in the third quarter. Weeden was sacked for a loss of 9 yards by Arthur Jones on the next play, dooming the possession.
Brown’s touchdown concluded an eight-play, 42-yard drive. Flacco completed third-down passes of 16 yards to Brandon Stokley and 18 yards to Brown to keep the drive alive.
The Browns went for first down on fourth-and-4 from the Ravens’ 39 on the first play of the fourth quarter, but Cameron was stopped literally less than an inch shy of the first-down marker by Courtney Upshaw on a crossing route.
“I’ve never seen a referee pull out a credit card or whatever it was to slide it up (to measure it),” Weeden said. “It was close.”
So was the game, but, as usual, it amounted to another loss for the Browns.