|Date of game: 9/21/2014
Recap: Cleveland vs. Baltimore
Cleveland, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Justin Tucker's 32-yard field goal at the buzzer sent the Baltimore Ravens over the Cleveland Browns, 23-21, in a tight AFC North battle on Sunday.
The Ravens settled for a 21-yard Tucker kick with five minutes remaining to pull within one, then forced a pair of three-and-outs to get the ball back with 1:58 to go.
Joe Flacco connected with Steve Smith for a 32-yard pickup to set up Tucker's kick, which provided the sixth and final lead change in the seesaw tussle.
"It was for moments like that that we brought Steve Smith in here," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said of the offseason acquisition.
The statistics were virtually identical for both offenses, with Baltimore (2-1) gaining 377 yards, just two more than the Brian Hoyer-led Browns.
Flacco finished with 217 yards with a touchdown and an interception, while Lorenzo Taliaferro rushed for 91 yards and a score on 18 carries.
Taliaferro and Justin Forsett, who added 63 yards on the ground, carried the load in the backfield because Bernard Pierce sat out with a thigh injury.
Hoyer completed 19-of-25 passes for 290 yards and a touchdown for the Browns (1-2), who failed to build off last week's victory over the Saints.
Rookies Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West both ran for TDs in the setback.
Former Raven Billy Cundiff had two chances in the fourth quarter to extend Cleveland's 21-17 lead, but his 50-yard field goal try caromed off the left upright and his 36-yard attempt was blocked by Asa Jackson.
Baltimore took over at its own 26 with 7:46 remaining, and it only took five plays for the visitors to get into the red zone. A pass interference penalty set the Ravens up at the Cleveland 2-yard line, but they settled for a Tucker chip shot to pull within 21-20.
Cleveland had a chance to control the clock the rest of the way but gained just six total yards over its final two possessions.
"We needed first downs at the end...and we weren't able to do it," Browns head coach Mike Pettine said. "I put this (loss) on me."
Tucker split the uprights with a 38-yard field goal to cap Baltimore's opening drive, and the Browns responded with an 11-play, 80-yard trek that West finished with a 1-yard touchdown run.
Baltimore put together its own 80-yard march in the second quarter, with Taliaferro accounting for 62 yards on the ground. After the rookie from Coastal Carolina moved the chains on third down, Kyle Juszczyk caught a pass in the flat and went untouched for a 9-yard touchdown.
A brilliant trick play designed for Johnny Manziel on the ensuing drive was negated because of a penalty. The rookie quarterback took a snap under center, handed the ball off and acted as if he was being taken out of the game.
Instead, Manziel stayed a foot from the sideline, and when Hoyer snapped the ball, Manziel sprinted down the field uncovered and hauled in a 39-yard pass. West, however, was whistled for an illegal shift and the play went for naught.
Though they wound up punting, the Browns regained the lead on Crowell's 14- yard run 4:59 into the second half. Andrew Hawkins' 24-yard catch on third down, followed by an unnecessary roughness penalty, set up the score.
Taliaferro punched one in from a yard out on the next offensive series, and Miles Austin caught a 4-yard pass from Hoyer in the back of the end zone to put the Browns on top, 21-17, heading into the fourth.Game Notes
Baltimore was playing its first road game ... The Ravens had an 11-game
winning streak over the Browns halted with a 24-18 loss in Cleveland last
November ... Cleveland has not won two in a row over Baltimore since 2007 ...
Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta was carted off the field with a right hip injury
in the second quarter.