The Cleveland Browns fell to the Baltimore Ravens by a score of 47-42 on Monday night.
With the loss, the Browns ended a four game winning streak and go to 9-4 on the year.
The Ravens are now perilously close behind at 8-5.
It is clear that the Browns do not want to talk about a moral victory when comparing their first meeting with the Ravens in Week 1 which resulted in a lopsided 38-6 loss to Monday’s close and hard-fought game.
Moral Victories Are Not Wins
A moral victory does not equal a victory that goes in the win column which is what the Browns were after.
Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski asked to compare his team from Week 1 to now: "I don't want to go down the moral victories path. We lost. We got beat."
— Ben Axelrod (@BenAxelrod) December 15, 2020
Coach Stefanski summed it up well in the postgame press conference.
“We came here to get a victory, and we did not. Very hard-fought game on both sides. I appreciate how the guys battled, but we just did not do enough to get a win. I do not want to go down the moral victories [path]. We lost. We got beat.”
“We knew that going into it that you are not going to pitch a shutout versus Lamar Jackson. He is going to get his. Having said, that there are a bunch of plays I know we can do better. We have to really look at those and make sure that we correct those mistakes.”
#Browns coach Kevin Stefanski: If you're going to win a game against a good football team, there are plays that have to be made
— Nate Ulrich (@ByNateUlrich) December 15, 2020
Quarterback Baker Mayfield echoed his coach’s sentiment but managed to find some positivity to build upon in his postgame press conference.
“We know that we can fight. We just have to make the critical plays when we need to and just put ourselves, like I keep saying, in a position to win. We are going to use it in a positive way. I know this team. I know the guys in this locker room. I know the staff. We are going to handle it correctly…We never lost our belief in the fact that we had a chance to win that game. Even down two scores, just continuing to fight and fighting for each other.”
Browns Need Wins
With the Steelers two games ahead at 11-2, and the Ravens one game behind at 8-5, the Browns need to win all of their remaining games.
Those are two with the New York teams, Giants and then Jets, and the season finale with the Steelers.
The Giants and Steelers are expected to be tough games.
On the other hand, the Ravens have an easier schedule.
They have the Jaguars, Giants, and Bengals.
If the Browns go 1-2 down the stretch, and the Ravens go 2-1, the playoff picture gets murkier since the Ravens beat the Browns twice.
The Browns need to work on the glaring issues that came through in last night’s game, namely the defense.
Then they can turn their attention to the final three games.
The AFC playoff picture is obviously very competitive.
All the Browns can do is keep fighting as Mayfield said.
They need to continue to put themselves in winning situations.
Unlike Monday night, the Browns need to come out with the wins when in those situations.
Moral victories will not get the Browns into the playoffs.