DeShone Kizer threw three interceptions as the Baltimore Ravens (2-0) gave the rookie headaches all afternoon long en route to a 24-10 victory over the Cleveland Browns (0-2) at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Sunday.
Kizer, who missed more than a quarter while dealing with a migraine, was unable to gain much traction against a Baltimore defense that has no forced 10 turnovers in just eight quarters this season.
With the Browns trailing 14-0 midway through the second quarter after Joe Flacco found Javorious Allen for a nine-yard Ravens touchdown, Kizer exited the game, giving way to back up quarterback Kevin Hogan. Hogan gave the Browns life, leading the sputtering offense on a six-play and 83-yard drive that ended with a 23-yard touchdown pass from Hogan to rookie tight end David Njoku that pulled the Browns within one score at 14-7.
That was the peak of the Browns offensive day as Hogan took a step backward on his next two drives, the first ending on a three and out, and the next ending on an ugly Hogan pass that was intercepted by Ravens linebacker Tyus Bowser. The Bowser interception set Baltimore up with a chance to capitalize on the Browns mistake, and that they did, when Flacco found Jeremy Maclin in the endzone to end the first half with the home team ahead 21-7.
Kizer returned with just over eight minutes remaining in the third quarter with the Browns trailing 21-10 but threw two of his three picks after returning. His second pick came at a crucial moment of the game when the Browns clinging to hope. Deep in Ravens territory, Kizer looked to hit Rashard Higgins in the endzone but was late and Baltimore corner Ladarius Webb snared the pass to put the Browns chances on life support.
His final interception came with just over six minutes left in the game and essentially was the nail in the coffin in a two-possession game on the road.
Kizer finished 15 of 31 for 182 yards and three picks and a QB Rating of 27.3. Hogan was 5 of 11 for 118 yards with one touchdown and one pick and a QB rating of 77.1. Neither was helped by the run game which was nowhere to be found once again as the team only ran 14 times. Not exactly the type of game plan to help a rookie QB in his first road start against a tough division foe.
Flacco threw for 217 yards, two touchdowns, and had one interception. Allen added 66 yards on the ground on 14 carries, while former Browns tight end Ben Watson served as Flacco’s biggest target on the afternoon as he snagged eight balls for 91 yards.
The Browns receiving core got a boost from Higgins, who was just elevated from the practice squad on Saturday, as he pulled in seven catches for 95-yards. Set DeValve, who had a 49-yard catch that spurred the Hogan touchdown drive, finished with 61 yards receiving.
Cleveland will look to get the elusive w next week when they travel to Indianapolis to face the winless Colts.
Thomas Reaches 10,000 Snaps
On the fourth offensive play of the day for the Browns, standout left tackle Joe Thomas reached 10,000 consecutive snaps for his career. The ironman from Wisconsin has battled countless nagging injuries, 22 quarterbacks, and countless enemies, but always manages to be on the field for a franchise that has been rebuilding for his entire career.
Congrats Joe. Here is to 10,000 more…and maybe some victories to help ease the pain.
Collins Leaves with Concussion, Coleman with Hand Injury
Browns linebacker Jamie Collins, who had one of his worst games in an orange and brown uniform, left the game with an injury in the third quarter. Following the game, it was determined that the former pro bowler is dealing with a concussion.
Receiver Corey Coleman, who has seemed to build a connection with Kizer, left the game with a hand injury. The former first rounder out of Baylor, broke his hand last season and the fear is that he has done it again.