Cleveland Browns' Josh McCown anxious to erase memories against Baltimore Ravens

CLEVELAND -- “It was the best of times…it was the worst of times.”

That Charles Dickens quote from “A Tale of Two Cities” can best describe Cleveland Browns quarterback Josh McCown and the successes and struggles he had against the Baltimore Ravens during the 2015 season.

After a record-breaking performance in a road win at Baltimore early in the season, McCown suffered a year-ending broken collarbone in a 33-30 loss to the Ravens on a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown on the final play of a Monday Night Football meeting last November.

“Every year, you are improving,” McCown said. “Whether it is different things that you set out to do in the offseason to improve on, I think every quarterback is always chasing accuracy and timing. Just for us, when you learn a new system, it starts there. It is just mastering the system and learning the system. I have had plenty of opportunities to learn new offenses.”

Early in the 2015 season, McCown broke a pair of franchise records in a 33-30 win over the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.

McCown completed 36 of his 51 throws for 457 yards and two touchdowns in the win over the Ravens. The 457 yards were a single-game franchise record, surpassing the previous mark of 444 collected by Brian Sipe against the Baltimore Colts on October 25, 1981.

For putting together a 457-yard, three-touchdown (two passing, one rushing) performance against the Ravens, McCown became the first Browns quarterback with three straight 300-yard passing games and earned AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.

“I remember we won that game,” said McCown, who was named the Browns’ starter after Robert Griffin III suffered a broken bone in his non-throwing shoulder in last Sunday’s 29-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

“We certainly needed to win that game. That was No. 1. No. 2 was just where the game took us and we were able to throw the ball. Four-hundred fifty-yard passing games are rare, so I do not know if you expect a repeat performance, but if the game takes us there, we certainly want to be able to deliver that. That is my mindset.”

In that Monday Night Football loss to the Ravens, McCown suffered a broken right collarbone after fighting through rib and shoulder injuries suffered in previous weeks. It was that collarbone injury which wiped out the balance of McCown’s season.

“The first thing that comes to mind is just the heartbreaking way to lose,” McCown said. “Wanted to win the football game and Austin (Davis) comes in and puts in great position to have a chance and we do not finish with a field goal. That is the first thing for me is that we did not finish the game. We didn’t win.

“Obviously, it is heartbreaking when you get hurt and finish your season. That was frustrating, but it is part of it. I’m looking forward to coming back against these guys. Like I said before, it is a familiar opponent for me, and I’m looking forward to competing against them.”

It was that final injury in 2015 that drove McCown throughout the offseason and will continue motivating him during the week of preparation.

“You want to play,” McCown said. “For my age, these opportunities, I don’t take them lightly. The opportunity to get out there, certainly when that is taken away, it eats at you. Throughout the offseason, it is always in the back of your mind and the next opportunity you have to make the most of it because you do not know. That is my plan this time around.”


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