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At First Glance: Ravens at Browns

BaltimoreRavens.com writers give their first impressions of the Ravens’ 24-10 win.

Posted by BR.com on Sunday, December 4th, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Categories: 2011 Season Gameday, At First Glance, Garrett Downing, Ryan Mink, Sarah Ellison, Week 13 vs Browns

John Eisenberg: There was nothing subtle about this one. The Ravens needed to break their habit of following up big wins with disappointing road losses to losing teams, and they did it by bludgeoning the Browns’ soft run defense with a heavy dose of Ray Rice and Ricky Williams. Rice was at his best, devastating Cleveland with slick cutbacks, and Williams provided a nice change-up. The Ravens did enough wrong (Joe Flacco fumble, two missed Billy Cundiff field goals) to keep the Browns in the game for much longer than they deserved, but the Browns couldn’t move the ball with overmatched Colt McCoy at quarterback, so there was nothing to worry about. The biggest surprise was that the Ravens’ defense didn’t score.

Ryan Mink: The Ravens ended that whole losing to losing teams thing with a strong win on the road in Cleveland. They ran all over the Browns throughout throughout this game, flexing their muscle in a game they had to have to stay atop the AFC North. It’s tough to know how much was Ray Rice and how much was the Browns’ 29th-ranked run defense, but he went wild on them for 204 rushing yards. Rice has typically had strong Decembers, so it’s a good sign going down the stretch. The defense – minus two miscommunications/breakdowns – was completely dominant as usual. With three straight games against losing teams ahead, it’s a good sign that they polished off the Browns.

Garrett Downing: The Ravens dominated the Browns from start to finish, and played the kind of game people wanted to see from a first-place team hoping to make a run at the Super Bowl. The knock on the Ravens to this point was that they couldn’t win a road game against a sub-.500 team after an emotional victory. Baltimore put that theory to rest with a commanding victory, where they beat the Browns on both sides of the ball. The Ravens controlled the game from early in the first half and rode a career-day from Ray Rice to the victory to keep pace atop the AFC.

Sarah Ellison: Is the Browns’ 29th-ranked rush defense really that bad? Or is Ray Rice and Co. that good? Both. What a fun day for Rice, who finished with a single-game career high 204 rushing yards and a touchdown. The Browns knew the Ravens were going to pound the rock, but could do nothing to stop it. While Rice was all smiles, Billy Cundiff will try to forget his two missed field goals inside the 50. The botched kicks and blown coverage late in the fourth made the game appear closer than it was. The Ravens defense dominated Peyton Hillis and Colt McCoy, and was two plays away from a shutout. Lardarius Webb put the nail in the coffin with his 68-yard punt return for a touchdown. It was a successful day for the Ravens, who conquered a demon by winning on the road against a losing team and maintain the top spot in the AFC North with the 0-12 Indianapolis Colts coming to town.

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