Ravens’ rally falls short in final seconds in 24-22 loss to Browns as QB Lamar Jackson exits with ankle injury – Orange County Register

In a season overshadowed by injuries, the Ravens saw their worst nightmare come to life Sunday when quarterback Lamar Jackson limped off the field early in the second quarter of a 24-22 loss to the Cleveland Browns.

The defeat harmed the Ravens’ chances of winning the AFC North and claiming a playoff spot that seemed assured when they held the conference’s No. 1 seed just two weeks ago. But the sight of Jackson leaving the field on a cart eclipsed even the gloomy news on the scoreboard.

Browns linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah tackled the Ravens quarterback around the ankles after he had released a pass to tight end Mark Andrews in the second quarter. Jackson immediately reached for his right ankle as he hit the ground. He was initially listed as questionable to return, but the Ravens ruled him out at halftime.

Afterward, coach John Harbaugh said Jackson has an ankle sprain.

The last time Jackson played in Cleveland, he cramped so badly that he vanished from the field for most of the fourth quarter, reappearing just in time to lead two scoring drives in a 47-42 victory.

There was no magic jog from the tunnel this time.

Jackson’s backup, Tyler Huntley, rallied the Ravens from down 21 to within two points in the fourth quarter and had his chance at an improbable game-winning drive after the Ravens’ first successful onside kick in 20 years. But on fourth-and-6 from their own 45-yard line, Browns cornerback Denzel Ward tackled rookie wide receiver Rashod Bateman 4 yards short of a first down to end the Ravens’ chances.

Huntley finished 27-for-38 for 270 yards and a touchdown while running for 45 yards on six carries. Andrews (11 catches for 115 yards) and Bateman (seven catches, 103 yards) both finished with more than 100 yards receiving, while running back Devonta Freeman led the team with 64 yards on 13 carries.

The Ravens fell to 8-5 as their offense sputtered for a fifth straight game and their tattered secondary failed to clamp down early on Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. They remain in the thick of a crowded AFC playoff race, but their momentum is all in the wrong direction after two straight divisional losses.

The Browns scored first on a 43-yard field goal by Chase McLaughlin, set up by a pair of pass-interference penalties, totaling 48 yards, on Ravens cornerbacks Anthony Averett and Chris Westry. They built their lead to 10-0 with an eight-play, 66-yard touchdown drive, highlighted by Mayfield’s 34-yard strike to wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones on third down.

Mayfield continued his hot first half after Jackson left the field, finishing a 10-play, 77-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Austin Hooper to put the Browns up 17-0. The Ravens had stifled Mayfield two weeks earlier in a 16-10 win in Baltimore, but he completed 16 of 20 passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns in the first half Sunday.

The Ravens, meanwhile, failed to score a first-quarter touchdown for the seventh straight game. Justin Tucker finally put them on the scoreboard with a 50-yard field goal late in the second quarter, set up by an interception from Averett. But their offense was anemic, accumulating 101 yards on 26 plays in the first half.

Browns defensive end Myles Garrett added insult to injury in the waning seconds of the half when he stripped Huntley and returned the fumble 15 yards for a touchdown that put Cleveland up 24-3.

The Ravens cut Cleveland’s lead to 24-9 on a 55-yard field goal by Tucker in the third quarter and moved to within 24-15 in the fourth quarter when Huntley found Bateman for 36 yards to set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Latavius Murray before a failed 2-point conversion attempt. Huntley led another scoring drive as the clock ticked under two minutes, finding Andrews for an 8-yard touchdown to cut the Browns’ lead to 24-22.

Even before Jackson left the field, injuries shaped the narrative of this divisional showdown.

A week after their best cornerback, Marlon Humphrey, tore a pectoral muscle in a season-ending injury, the Ravens dealt with another hit of attrition when fullback Patrick Ricard and tight end Nick Boyle were unable to play because of a knee injury.

The Browns went without an assortment of key players, including cornerback Greg Newsome II, safety Ronnie Harrison Jr., middle linebacker Anthony Walker and tight ends David Njoku and Harrison Bryant.

Week 15


Sunday, 4:25 p.m.

TV: Chs. 13, 9 Radio: 97.9 FM, 1090 AM

Line: Packers by 2

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