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(Monday, November 16th)
Final Score: Baltimore 16, Cleveland 0
Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - Ray Rice and Dawan Landry each scored a touchdown for the Ravens in the first three minutes of the second half, and Baltimore shut out the hapless Browns, 16-0.
Rice finished with 20 carries for 89 yards for the Ravens (5-4), who desperately needed the win after losing four of their last five games. Landry returned an interception 48 yards for a touchdown, and Joe Flacco completed 13-of-18 passes for 155 yards in the win.
"It was a dogfight. I'm proud of our guys," said Ravens head coach John Harbaugh. "It was a tough first half. We put 13 points up early in the second half and separated ourselves -- that was the key to the game. Any time you can get a shutout, that's great."
Derrick Mason had three catches for 78 yards, as Baltimore posted its first shutout since November 26, 2006 against the Steelers. It was also the first Monday Night Football win for the Ravens since December 19, 2005 against Green Bay after losing their last five such games.
Brady Quinn, given the starting nod over Derek Anderson, threw for only 99 yards and was picked off twice on 13-of-31 throws for Cleveland (1-8), which did not advance past the Ravens' 45-yard line the entire game.
Jamal Lewis ran for 36 yards on 10 carries, and Mohamed Massaquoi and Mike Furrey each had 30 yards receiving on one and six catches, respectively, for Cleveland, which had only 160 total yards in the game.
"The points that we stressed at halftime -- we just came out in the third quarter and did the opposite," said Browns head coach Eric Mangini. "And a 0-0 game goes to a 16-0 game."
The Browns, who have only 78 points this season -- lowest in the NFL -- have scored six or fewer points in six of their nine games. They have only five offensive touchdowns in their last 15 games, which is the fewest total in that stretch of time since the 1933-34 Cincinnati Reds.
Cleveland played for the first time since the firing of its first-year general manager, George Kokonis. Kokonis was hired before the season around the same time the team picked Mangini as the new head coach. Prior to this season, Kokonis worked with the Ravens for five years as the director of pro personnel.
The game was scoreless at halftime, but the Ravens took a 13-0 lead within a three-minute span to start the second half.
After forcing a three-and-out to start the third, Baltimore got the ball at its own 41 following a punt. On 3rd-and-5 from the 46, Flacco hit Mason in the flat, and the receiver dodged a tackle and ran down the right sideline for a 41-yard gain.
"(Mason) was pretty well covered on that one, but he spun out of the tackle, and that was the difference there," Harbaugh said.
Running to the line of scrimmage quickly, the Ravens caught Cleveland off- guard and handed it off to Rice, who waltzed in nearly untouched from 13 yards away for the touchdown.
On the next offensive play for the Browns, Quinn's pass was tipped by Cleveland receiver Robert Royal and into the hands of Baltimore's Landry, who sprinted 48 yards the other way for a touchdown and a 13-0 advantage 2:40 into the half after the extra point was blocked.
"We were in a man coverage," Landry said of the play. "The tight end ran an out route, missed the pass, and I just jumped it. It was smooth sailing from there."
Another Quinn pass was tipped by his own receiver and intercepted on the next series, leading to a Steven Hauschka 44-yard field goal for Baltimore.
"I think we tried something a little different with the no-huddle offense, and it was effective to some degree," Quinn said. "But we put ourselves in a hole, and that doesn't work against a team like Baltimore. It just comes down to execution, and it just comes down to finding ways to make it work."
Cleveland crossed into Baltimore territory for the second time late in the third quarter but had to punt after a sack on third down.
The Ravens ran mostly running plays in the fourth quarter to wind down the clock, while the Browns did not cross midfield in the final period, as Baltimore coasted to the win.
"I've tried a lot of different things, and it hasn't been successful enough," Mangini said. "We're going to have to keep trying until we get to the point we need to be. It comes down to third down -- being able to sustain the drives on third down."
The first half was full of defensive dominance and offensive miscues.
The Ravens went three-and-out on their first series, and the Browns avoided a turnover on their first play when Lewis was ruled down before he fumbled the ball.
Nevertheless, the series ended in a punt, and Baltimore looked primed to score on its next possession. Hauschka, who came into the game 8-for-11 in field goal attempts, pushed a 36-yard attempt wide to keep the game scoreless.
"(Hauschka)'s got to kick the ball better, kick the ball better with more confidence," Harbaugh said. "He's got to be better than that. He kicks better than that in practice; he just didn't do a good job with that tonight, and I think he knows that."
The Cleveland offense couldn't get going, managing to cross midfield only once in the half, while Baltimore threatened again at the end of the quarter. With a first down at the Browns' 40, Baltimore could move the ball only one yard in three plays and was forced to punt again.
Ravens safety Haruki Nakamura broke his ankle on the opening kickoff and was carted off the field...While the Browns have scored only five touchdowns on offense this season, the Saints have found the end zone seven times on defense in 2009...Cleveland was shut out for the first time since being blanked twice in a row to end the 2008 season...Baltimore won both games against the Browns this season by a total score of 50-3...Cleveland ran just five plays in opposing territory...Browns wide receiver Joshua Cribbs was carted off the field for precautionary reasons following a hit on the last play of the game...Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs suffered a right knee sprain in the third quarter and didn't return.
11/17 02:31:10 ET
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