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(Saturday, December 24th)
Final Score: Baltimore 20, Cleveland 14
Baltimore, MD (Sports Network) - Joe Flacco threw a pair of touchdown passes to help the Baltimore Ravens hold off the Cleveland Browns, 20-14.
Flacco completed 11-of-24 passes for 132 yards and an interception for the Ravens (11-4), who went 8-0 at home this year to record the first perfect regular season at home in franchise history.
"[Undefeated] at home for the first time in the history of the franchise is a tremendous accomplishment. ...There's not a better stadium in the league than M&T Bank Stadium," said Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, who symbolically gave the game ball to the Baltimore fans.
Ray Rice carried the ball 23 times for 87 yards and caught three passes for 48 yards and a score.
Baltimore can win the AFC North next weekend with a win or a Pittsburgh loss. The Steelers beat the Rams on Saturday to keep pace with Baltimore.
Seneca Wallace completed 19-of-33 passes for 147 yards, a touchdown and an interception for the Browns (4-11), who have lost eight in a row against the Ravens. Colt McCoy missed his second straight game with a concussion.
Peyton Hillis carried the ball 24 times for 112 yards.
Trailing 20-0 late in the third quarter, the Browns got a spark from their special teams. Joshua Cribbs returned a punt 84 yards for a touchdown with 3:07 remaining.
Cleveland's defense followed with a big play on the ensuing Ravens possession. Flacco's pass to the end zone was intercepted by Sheldon Brown.
The Browns took over at their own 20 with 14:07 to play. Cleveland converted a pair of third downs to move the ball near midfield. Cribbs followed with a 23- yard catch and Hillis added a 15-yard run. A defensive pass interference penalty on Ray Lewis set up a 1st-and-goal from the five. Three plays later, Wallace rolled to his right and hooked up with Evan Moore for a six-yard score to make it 20-14 with 8:22 remaining.
After forcing Baltimore to go three-and-out, the Browns took over at their own 27 with 6:50 left. Faced with a 4th-and-5 near midfield, Hillis caught a pass in the flat for no gain.
The Ravens were able to run the final 3:55 off the clock, thanks to an encroachment penalty on the Browns on 4th-and-2.
The Browns seemed to get off to a good start, as Hillis carried the ball six times for 30 yards on the game's opening possession. The drive came to a halt on 3rd-and-1 from the Baltimore 30, when Wallace was picked off by Lardarius Webb.
The Ravens needed just three plays to score a touchdown. A 60-yard defensive pass interference penalty on Mike Adams put the ball at the four. On 3rd-and- goal from the five, Flacco found Ed Dickson in the back of the end zone.
Baltimore's next drive covered 62 yards, but ended with Shayne Graham's first field goal in a Ravens uniform. With starter Billy Cundiff out with a calf injury, Graham made a 48-yarder to make it 10-0 with 58 seconds left.
The Ravens stayed hot on offense with a nine-play, 82-yard scoring drive. Rice helped move the ball to the 41-yard line. A few plays later, Flacco found a wide-open Rice down the right side of the field for an easy 42-yard score early in the second quarter.
Cleveland's best drive of the half came right before the break. The visitors moved the ball to the three-yard line, but Hillis was stuffed at the line of scrimmage as time expired in the half.
"It was bad communication on my behalf. I was trying to get an easy one at the end, and [Browns head coach Pat Shurmur] was calling 'Clock, clock, clock,'" Wallace recalled. "It was a tough situtation and I should have handeled it better."
Graham made a 43-yard field goal with 5:50 left in the third to make it 20-0.
The Browns haven't beat the Ravens since November 18, 2007. Baltimore owns a commanding 19-7 lead in their all-time series with Cleveland...Ravens cornerback Cary Williams (concussion), right guard Marhsal Yanda (chest) and return specialist David Reed (leg) left the game...The Browns have lost five in a row...Cleveland has lost seven straight on the road...Baltimore has won a club-record 10 straight games at home...Ravens defensive end Cory Redding (ankle) missed the game...Baltimore plays at Cincinnati next weekend, while the Browns take on the Steelers.
12/24 18:15:08 ET
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