BALTIMORE, Md. – The Browns had one last chance to generate offensive sparks against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night.
But with less than 90 seconds to go, their two best rushers were on the sidelines.
Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt were both out of the game with D’Ernest Johnson as the sole running back. Cleveland then reversed the ball in a 16-10 loss to their AFC North Division foe.
Considering the game situation with less than two minutes to go, Hunt would generally be ready to play, given that he adds another kind of versatility with his ability to generate an attack in the passing game as well.
But there was a hang-up to the usual plan. Ahead of Sunday’s game, Hunt has just been activated out of the injured reserve after missing five games with a calf injury. According to coach Kevin Stefanski, he suffered an injury against the Arizona Cardinals and his leg was strained before the last practice.
“Two minutes by car is usually Kareem,” Stefanski said. “He was tight, his leg was tight. “
During the drive, quarterback Baker Mayfield threw three incomplete passes. Facing fourth and 10, he found tight end David Njoku for a 7-yard gain, but Njoku couldn’t break a tackle as Ravens linebacker Tyus Bowser knocked him down.
Chubb and Hunt finished the night with a total of 36 yards on just 15 carries. Twenty of those yards came in the first half.
The longest run for either was when Hunt pulled off a nine-yard run with about 12 minutes to go. For most of the night, Ravens defensemen challenged Mayfield and the Browns’ offense to make vertical passes. They continuously stacked the box and had up to 10 defenders on the line on several occasions with a single defensive back in depth, all focused on stopping Cleveland’s hasty attack.
“I think they played the way they play,” Stefanski said of the Ravens. “It’s definitely their way of playing. We just didn’t execute it effectively enough.
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