BALTIMORE, Md. (FNN SPORTS) – Sunday’s Browns vs. Ravens matchup at M&T Bank Stadium offered a case study in relationships. Most good relationships are built on trust and honesty. It’s a learning process with give and take, knowing the strengths and weaknesses of not only yourself but your partner, working together to learn and grow from your shortcomings, taking ownership in what’s wrong and putting your best foot forward to make it right. Cleveland demonstrated some undisciplined, uninspiring and inexperienced football since week 1, leaving a lot of question marks surrounding a team that has struggled to find any identity off and on the football field, coming into Baltimore with a record of 1-2.
The Baltimore Ravens however, have been pretty busy creating an identity of their own this season. Coming into week 4, the Ravens had no turnovers, were ranked number 1 in total rushing yards, total combined yards, and total points scored, putting their stamp on the NFL as the league’s number 1 offense and sitting atop the AFC North at 2-1. Both teams were coming off of hard home losses as they met up in the first of two divisional games this season.
Sunday’s game was tight, and heading into the locker room at halftime, it seemed like Cleveland should be happy leading 10-7 on the road. The Browns were doing fine on defense, but I couldn’t help but feel that it was just a matter of time before Baltimore would get to Mayfield, and this game would head south. The second half heated up quickly as the Browns were finally able to put it all together, combining for over 530 yards of total offense. Mayfield passed for a season high 337 yards and one touchdown as Nick Chubb often ran over and through the heart of Baltimore’s defense, rushing for a career-high 165 yards and three touchdowns.
The Browns defense continued to impress, forcing three turnovers for the second straight game, and grabbing four sacks on the day. The Browns were able to stop the Ravens 6 out of 10 tries on third down, holding Baltimore to only 222 yards passing, and no rushing touchdowns on the day, running up the score 40-25 as Cleveland got a huge win on the road and advanced to 2-2 on the season.
It’s hard to believe that the first quarter of this year’s football season is already over. The Browns are at the top of the division–a feat they hasn’t achieved since 2014 when they managed to tie the Cincinnati Bengals for one week before dropping to 7-9 on the season. Next week, Cleveland travels to San Francisco to take on the undefeated 49ers (3-0) on Monday Night Football. Browns fans all over have to be smiling ear to ear after getting a quality win, and a glimpse of what could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
Antonio Campana is a Florida National News sports contributor. | firstname.lastname@example.org