But the final score didn’t indicate what kind of effort a fairly banged up Browns team put in early against MVP frontrunner Lamar Jackson and the rest of the Ravens.
They held Baltimore off the board in the first quarter and led until two scorching scoring drives by the Ravens late in the second quarter that essentially zapped any momentum the Browns had gained early.
The second score — a 14-yard pass from Jackson to tight end Mark Andrews — might as well have come with a gift tag from Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens.
With the Ravens out of timeouts, the Browns had a chance to simply run the clock down at the end of the half and give the Ravens explosive offense little time to work with. Instead, Kitchens called three pass plays — all incompletions. The drive lasted just 23 seconds, giving Jackson plenty of time to work with before the break.
Reflection on the decision, Kitchens would have done things differently and acknowledged his team was never able to recover.
“I wish I could have back right before the half,” Kitchens told reporters on Monday. “I think that put us behind the eight ball a little bit.”
Kitchens also thought his halfback pass on 3rd-and-1 wasn’t the best move, considering the Browns have Nick Chubb at their disposal, the NFL’s leading rusher.
“You either look like an expert or you look like a goat,” Kitchens said. “I look like a goat. Didn’t work.”
Freddie Kitchens Not Concerned With Job Security
After a report came out saying the Browns were planning to stick with Kitchens long term, the team has dropped two in a row, assuring not only that they’ll miss the playoffs, but that the franchise will also finish with a losing record for the 12th straight time.
Kitchens said he hasn’t talked to either general manager John Dorsey or ownership on his status for next season.
“Those questions stem more from you guys asking those questions…and you should, rightly ask,” Kitchens said. “I only concern myself with the job I’m doing and how I get this football team to play well on Sunday.”
The Browns face the one-win Bengals to close out the season. A loss in that game seems like it would be the nail in the coffin for the first-year coach.
“I’m focused on doing my job right now and I think that’s where they want my focus,” Kitchens said. “They want me doing my job and that’s what I’m trying to do on an everyday basis.”
Baker Mayfield on Kitchens Job: Whatever Happens, Happens
After another disappointing performance, Baker Mayfield didn’t exactly throw his support behind Kitchens, although he acknowledged the team’s problems are bigger than their head coach.
“That’s not my decision to make, so whatever happens, happens,” Mayfield said when asked about Kitchens job security. “Moving forward, I know how I’m going to handle it, getting whatever receiving corps and tight ends we have together in the offseason and making sure we’re on the same page so we hit the ground running in the spring – kind of like I hit on earlier in the week – to where there’s no room to be made up come training camp.”
Mayfield passed for 192 yards, two touchdowns and one interception against the Ravens. This season, he has passed for 3,548 yards, 19 touchdowns and 18 interceptions.