Very few people expected the Browns to go into Baltimore and get a win. There was a reason for that.
On paper, the Browns tried to do the right things. They tried (and failed) to establish the run, they tried (and failed) to design plays to get the ball out of Kizer’s hand sooner and they tried (and failed) to limit the potential Kizer mistakes.
The Browns offense got off to a rough start, trying to establish a run game that remains stagnant for the second week in a row. The Browns defense got a big sack that shut down the Ravens response drive, and the Browns got the ball back and started to move it down the field.
One of the biggest moments in recent Browns history occurred on this drive in the form of Joe Thomas’ 10,000 consecutive NFL snap played.
There the good news ends for the Browns, as Kizer took a strip sack and the Ravens got the ball deep in Browns territory. Terrance West ran the ball in the for the Ravens and they went up 7-0.
Helped by a big catch from Rashard Higgins, the Browns started driving down the field when Kizer threw his first interception of the day, a tipped pass that was snagged by Eric Weddle.
The Browns defense bailed them out once again, as Jason McCourty would get his first interception of his Browns career. The Browns failed to make anything of it and they punted it back to the Ravens. A big West run and a pair of Watson catches put the Ravens in the red zone and Flacco hit Allen in the end zone for another Ravens touchdown.
With the Browns down 14-0, it was time for Cleveland to bring in the big guns…
Backup quarterback Kevin Hogan.
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Unbeknownst to Browns fans at the time, quarterback DeShone Kizer had been struggling with migraine headaches throughout the game. At that point in the second quarter, Kizer had been rendered unable to play and he was taken out of the game.
For those unfamiliar with migraine headaches, the symptoms include flashes of light, blind spots, throbbing in the head and tingling around the face, arms and legs. On top of that the patient generally deals with nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Kizer’s headache was only exacerbated by being in one of the loudest situations a human can be in–a rival’s football stadium.
Kizer would later be cleared to play but it was clear that the symptoms were still bothering him. Many fans seemed to be underestimating the physical toll of a migraine headache, and rather thought that Kizer was simply unwilling to return to play.
The Kevin Hogan Era?
In relief of Kizer, Hogan entered the game and started throwing the ball right away. A huge pass and catch to TE Seth DeValve put the Browns deep into Ravens territory. Another big Hogan pass to rookie TE David Njoku gave the Browns their first touchdown of the day, making the game 7-14.
The Ravens were stopped and the Browns started driving once more when Kevin Hogan threw his first interception of the day. With one timeout and 19 seconds, the Ravens tried to move the ball into field goal range when a huge run by Allen put them down inside the five-yard line. Flacco hit Maclin for a last second Ravens touchdown and the Ravens went into the locker room up by 14.
The Browns defense had a big stop coming out of the half, and the Ravens had to punt it back to the Browns. On third and one the Browns threw the football deep to receiver Duke Johnson, who made a sensational catch.
— cover32 Browns (@cover32_CLE) September 17, 2017
A chunk run from Crowell gave the Browns another dozen yards or so, but the Browns would fail to get the ball in the end zone and they kicked the field goal to make the score 21-10.
The defense forced a three and out and Kizer returned to the football game.
The Return of Kizer
Kizer’s return wasn’t the smashing success that many Browns fans wanted it to be. He held onto the ball too long and took a delay of game penalty on third down before overthrowing Sammie Coates. The Browns would punt the ball back to the Ravens and a small quarterback “controversy” was birthed from Kizer’s incompetence.
The Ravens run the ball with great success on the ensuing drive, chewing the clock and driving down the field. The defense stiffened and Justin Tucker kicked a field goal to make it 24-10. A pair of big catches from Rashard Higgins put the Browns in position to score and a Duke Johnson catch and run took them to the goal line. Kizer would then take a loss on a goal line QB draw and on the next play would throw another interception.
Baltimore continued to run the ball until new Raven Alex Collins fumbled the football. Kizer would go on to through another interception on a jumped route. Though the Browns would get the ball back, they would not score again and the Browns would ultimately fall 24-10.