In their “statement” victory, the Cleveland Browns overcame a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter to defeat the division-leading Baltimore Ravens 33-31 on Sunday.
With seconds remaining, Dustin Hopkins made a game-winning field goal from 40 yards to put the 6-3 Browns back in the AFC North race. Cleveland, which hasn’t won a division championship since 1989, is currently only a half-game behind 7-3 Baltimore.
The Browns became just the fourth team in Super Bowl history to win after trailing in the first minute of play and not taking the lead until the last minute of regulation. The Browns had not won a game after falling behind by two scores in the fourth quarter in nine years.
Significant for Watson in particular.
On the first series of the game, Watson hit Kyle Hamilton with a pick-six. In the first half, Watson only completed 6 of 20 throws, leaving the Browns behind 17–9.
But despite struggling with a left ankle ailment, he came back after the break.
With 134 yards and a touchdown on all 14 of his second-half attempts, Watson led the Browns down the field on the last play to set up the game-winning field goal. He ran 16 yards for a first down and completed all three of his throws for 30 yards on that drive.
Following a 40-yard touchdown reception by Odell Beckham Jr. to start the second half, Cleveland found itself down 24-9. But Watson and the Browns responded with a 10-minute, 17-play touchdown drive that was sealed with a 2-point conversion run by the quarterback.
In the fourth quarter, Watson responded to another touchdown by the Ravens with a scrambling 10-yard touchdown pass to Elijah Moore.
It took the Browns 59 minutes and 20 seconds to get behind. According to ESPN Stats & Information, no NFL team had triumphed while trailing so long in a game this millennium.
In John Harbaugh’s 16 seasons as coach, it was the second-biggest fourth-quarter lead forfeited by Baltimore.
In Cleveland, the Browns suffered a 28-3 loss in their first game against the Ravens. Watson was rehabbing from a rotator cuff strain that kept him out of nearly four games, including the Week 4 showdown (he played one quarter in one before leaving). Last Saturday, in Cleveland’s 27-0 victory over the Arizona Cardinals, he made his long-awaited comeback.
Ever since being traded to the Browns last year, Watson has mainly struggled. He was ranked 23rd in the league in QBR (44.5) going into Sunday’s game.
Against the Ravens, the Browns were without Dawand Jones and Jedrick Wills Jr., their starting offensive tackles, due to injuries. Despite facing a weakened line, Watson managed to sustain the offensive momentum in the second half against the top-ranked Baltimore defense going into the game.
Bitonio said that the win made a “big statement” for the Browns, who will play another crucial divisional game at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3) the following weekend.
The victory on Sunday was dubbed “defining” by Garrett.
According to Watson, the Browns are rolling into the second half of the season.