The Cleveland Browns will face the Baltimore Ravens in a crucial AFC North game on Sunday. In week 4, the Ravensz
2dominated the Browns 28-3.
Rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson struggled in his first NFL start against the Ravens’ defense. He threw for just 121 yards, was sacked four times, threw three interceptions, and looked overwhelmed by the speed of the NFL game. The Browns were also trying to figure out their run game after losing Nick Chubb a few weeks earlier.
The Browns’ defense was also tested for the first time, but was not dominated as some people believe. It was the first time an opposing offense had some success against Jim Schwartz’s crew, which surrendered two long touchdown drives of 93 and 74 yards.
The defense gave up 28 points, but 14 were scored on short drives of 10 and 38 yards because of turnovers from the offense. Playing complementary football is very important for the Browns to have success. Offense, defense, and special teams must protect each other and not leave the other in a bad situation.
Here are three keys to winning the rematch with the Ravens:
1. Vertical passing game
Deshaun Watson has looked good since returning from his suspension, and he will need to be able to throw the ball downfield against the Ravens’ defense. The Ravens have a strong secondary, but Watson has the arm strength and accuracy to make plays.
The Browns will need to create touches in space for Elijah Moore, Marquise Goodwin, and Cedric Tillman to help support David Njoku and Amari Cooper. Explosive plays are important because consistently moving the football 60-, 70-, or 80-plus yards is very unrealistic with the strength of the Ravens defense.
2. Establish the run game
The Browns need to be able to establish the run game to keep the Ravens’ defense honest. The Ravens have a good pass rush, so the Browns will need to give Watson time to throw the ball.
If the Browns can run the ball effectively, it will open up the passing game and make it more difficult for the Ravens to defend.
3. Protect Watson
The Browns need to keep Watson clean in the pocket. The Ravens have a good pass rush, and they will try to pressure Watson all day.
The Browns’ offensive line needs to step up and give Watson time to throw the ball. If Watson is under pressure, he will be more likely to make mistakes.
If the Browns can execute on these three keys, they will have a good chance of defeating the Ravens.