Browns-Ravens Play Best Monday Night Football Game of the Year

The Cleveland Browns of old played today's modern Browns in an epic, old-school battle on 'Monday Night Football.' The AFC North game on a chilly Cleveland evening saw back-and-forth swings, grind-it-out rushing attacks, timely passing touchdowns and never-say-die attitudes from both sidelines.

Despite all the big-name players and plays, it came down to one of the best kickers in the NFL. And it came down to the last two plays to decide the game.

Baltimore Ravens kicker Justn Tucker booted a 55-yard field goal with two seconds remaining, and the Ravens then forced a safety on Cleveland's multilateral, last-ditch effort for a gritty, 47-42, win.

The Ravens, which used to be the old Cleveland team before moving to Baltimore more than 20 years ago, improved to 8-5 on the season. The Browns, which dropped to 9-4, stay one game ahead of the Ravens in the division with three games remaining for each team. The Pittsburgh Steelers lead the AFC North.

The Browns got on the board first when running back Nick Chubb scored a rushing touchdown from 7 yards away. Baltimore tied it at 7-7 when quarterback Lamar Jackson scored a rushing touchdown on a 5-yard scramble.

Baltimore scored two rushing touchdowns in the second quarter, sandwiched around a Browns rushing score, to give the Ravens a 21-14 lead at halftime on the road.

Gus Edwards of the Ravens scored his second rushing touchdown of the game in the third quarter to give Baltimore a comfortable, 28-14, lead. It wasn't comfortable for long, though.

A 5-yard run by Cleveland's Kareem Hunt sliced the lead to 28-20, after the Browns' missed extra point. Baltimore rookie J.K. Dobbins then scored a rushing touchdown to make it 34-20. Tucker's extra-point attempt was blocked.

The eight rushing touchdowns to this point were the most combined by two teams in 15 years, since the Ravens versus the Browns.

Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns
Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens scores a touchdown during the second quarter in the game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 14, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Baltimore's Lamar Jackson left the game in the fourth quarter with cramps, and a 14-point lead. In his absence, Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield led two touchdown drives to put the Browns ahead, 35-34. The first was a 21-yard pass to Rashard Higgins, followed by a two-point conversion. Mayfield then ran for a 5-yard score to give Cleveland its lead.

Jackson returned to the game and connected with Marquise Brown on a 44-yard pass with 1:51 remaining in the game to give the Ravens a 42-35 lead, once the two-point attempt was converted.

Mayfield directed the Browns downfield and threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Hunt with 1:04 left to play.

Jackson then guided his team into field goal territory, where Tucker drilled his 55-yarder straight through the pipes.

The Pittsburgh Steelers (11-2), which lead the AFC North, have lost their last two games but still maintain a two-game lead over the Browns with three games to go in regular season. The Steelers have clinched a playoff spot, but they have yet to lock up the division, which was easily won last season by Baltimore.

If the playoffs were to start today, the Browns would have the AFC's No. 5 seed, and the Ravens would be the first team out of the playoffs behind the Miami Dolphins, who hold a better conference record.

Cleveland's next three games
Dec. 20 at NY Giants
Dec. 27 at NY Jets
Jan. 3 vs Pittsburgh

Baltimore's next three games
Dec. 20 vs Jacksonville
Dec. 27 vs NY Giants
Jan. 3 at Cincinnati