The Baltimore Ravens saw their quest for a sixth straight playoff appearance take a huge hit yesterday as the Cleveland Browns ended their 11 game losing streak against the Ravens, winning 24-18 to leap Baltimore in the AFC North Standings.
In all honesty, it was not an out of the ordinary game for the Ravens or Ravens’ fans as the offense struggled, the defense couldn’t come up with a stop when the team needed them to, and the offensive line was the butt of all jokes.
The one out of the ordinary occurrence yesterday turned out to be one of, if not the biggest plays of the game when Tandon Doss was back deep to return a punt in the third quarter with the Ravens trailing 14-10. Doss called for a fair catch but turned somewhat sideways when he was about to field the punt and it went right through his arms and Cleveland recovered the muffed punt and took over on Baltimore’s 11 yard line.
Cleveland would score a touchdown on the ensuing drive to go up by 11 points, and despite the Ravens pulling within three after Joe Flacco hooked up with Marlon Brown for the second time in the game for a touchdown, this one a seven yarder, Cleveland never relinquished the lead.
Baltimore had a shot to give Flacco the ball back late in the fourth quarter, but thanks to a 4th and one conversion on the Ravens 43 yard line with 3:12 remaining, Cleveland kept the ball and continued to drive, ultimately adding a field goal to make the score 24-18 with just 0:14 left in the game.
It was the same ole song and dance as the defense played fairly well most of the game, but could not get the big stop when the team needed it the most, and a large reason for that could be that they get worn down from being on the field so often earlier in the game due to the offense’s inability to get going until late in the game.
Either way, Baltimore is going to have to figure something out on both sides of the ball if they seriously want to be a threat for the playoffs. The Ravens accrued just 55 yards rushing on the day with Flacco leading the way for Baltimore with 25 yards. If you had any doubt about the ineffectiveness of the Ravens rushing attack, anytime Flacco leads the team in rushing in a game should be a glaring sign.
“We just can’t run the ball right now,” Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh said after the game. “We’ve got our work cut out for us.”
The Ravens let a golden opportunity to gain a game on the Cincinnati Bengals slip through their fingers with this blunder in Cleveland. It was the first time in the Harbaugh-Flacco era that Baltimore has lost to the Browns, as it had been 11 straight wins.
Baltimore, now hanging on by a thread, a thread which is woven simply due to the fact that they still play the Bengals twice, will turn their focus onto Cincinnati as the Ravens will host them in week 10 in an absolute must win game.
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