As is often the case, Cleveland Browns fans entered the 2020 season with a newfound sense of optimism. And as is often the case, that optimism proved to be short lived.
Heading into halftime of their season opener on Sunday, Cleveland found itself trailing the Baltimore Ravens by a score of 24-6. While the Ravens have played well, the Browns haven't done much to help their cause, with the following woes contributing to their first-half deficit:
On his first drive of the new year, Baker Mayfield picked up where he left off from the 2019 season -- and not in a good way. After completing a couple of short passes to Harrison Bryant and Nick Chubb, the No. 1 pick of the 2018 NFL Draft had a batted ball get intercepted by Baltimore cornerback Marlon Humphrey.
The Ravens offense capitalized on Mayfield's interception, with Lamar Jackson finding tight end Mark Andrews for his first touchdown pass of the 2020 campaign. Mayfield, meanwhile, finished the first half completing 11 of his 19 pass attempts for 116 yards and a touchdown.
Failed fake punt
Mayfield's interception, however, paled in comparison to the way the Browns' second drive of the season ended. After Cleveland's offense went three and out, new head coach Kevin Stefanski opted for a fake punt, with punter Jamie Gillan ultimately fumbling the ball back to the Ravens, who took over at the Browns' 28-yard line.
To its credit, Cleveland's defense held the Ravens to a three-and-out of their own. Still, the advantageous field position allowed Baltimore to take a 10-0 lead.
One of the few highlights of the Browns' first half came when Gillan managed to pin the Ravens back at their own 1-yard line with a punt. Cleveland's defense, however, failed to make good on the play, surrendering a 99-yard drive, which Baltimore capped with a J.K. Dobbins touchdown run.
For the half, the Browns surrendered 268 yards and 24 points to the Ravens' offense. Follow all of the latest action from Sunday's season opener between the Browns and Ravens with our live blog.