The Baltimore Ravens held off the Cleveland Brown, 25-15, in a divisional battle on Nov. 4 in Cleveland, Ohio.
For the Ravens (6-2), it was the 10th straight win over the Browns; they have not lost to Cleveland since head coach John Harbaugh took over the team in 2008.
The Ravens leapt out to a 14-0 first quarter lead thanks to their running game, led by Ray Rice. The fifth-year back dashed in for an 8-yard touchdown score on the Ravens’ first possession. Backup running back Bernard Pierce scored the second touchdown with a 12-yard run to cap off the second Ravens’ possession of the game.
But that’s when the Ravens went cold on offense until the final minutes of the game. Cleveland scored 15 unanswered points on five field goals, taking a 15-14 lead in the fourth quarter.
After surrendering the lead, Baltimore finally woke up offensively, as quarterback Joe Flacco put together a scoring drive capped off with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Torrey Smith to retake the lead at 22-15.
Rookie kicker Justin Tucker sealed the win with a 43-yard field goal to push Ravens ahead for good.
Most Outstanding Player(s) of the Game:
The Ravens took heat from critics for passing too much and not giving the ball to Ray Rice, especially after they were crushed by the Houston Texans two weeks ago. Baltimore responded by giving Rice 25 carries against the Browns, and he finished with 98 yards and a touchdown.
Even with Rice carrying the load, the offensive game plan remained balanced, with Joe Flacco completing 15 of 24 passing attempts for 155 yards and a touchdown. If Baltimore can keep the balanced dosage of Flacco and Rice, they’ll be a tough offense to beat through the remainder of the season.
Unsung Hero of the Game:
With so many of the Ravens’ defensive stars injured, it was cornerback Cary Williams who stepped up in their absence to make big plays. Williams not only led the team with six tackles, but also snagged an interception by diving for the ball, then got up and ran it back for approximately 30 yards before being tackled. His interception came one play after All-Pro safety Ed Reed dropped an easy interception opportunity. Williams now leads the entire AFC with four interceptions this season.
More Game Notes:
Reed intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter, recording his third pick of the season and 60th regular season pick of his career. He also finished with four tackles in the game.
Ravens veteran receiver Anquan Boldin had a solid performance, catching five passes for 57 yards, all for a first down. Second-year receiver Torrey Smith caught four passes for 46 yards and a clutch touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Browns rookie running back Trent Richardson ran for 105 yards on 25 carries, an impressive performance against a decent Ravens defense. Rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden’s performance wasn’t as good, as he completed 20-of-37 passes for 176 and two costly interceptions.
The Ravens will face the Oakland Raiders at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md. on Nov. 11.