Monday, November 5, 2012
Upon Further Review: Ravens
By Jamison Hensley
Revisiting the Baltimore Ravens' 25-15 win at the Cleveland Browns:
The Ravens still have their share of problems from a leaky run defense to lapses in coverage. But Baltimore should be commended for keeping Cleveland out of the end zone considering the circumstances.
This is a defense that got little from a banged-up Haloti Ngata (he didn't record a tackle) and Terrell Suggs (does anyone remember a significant play from him?). Already playing without three starters -- Ray Lewis, Lardarius Webb and Pernell McPhee -- the Ravens leaned on the likes of Dannell Ellerbe, Corey Graham and Art Jones.
The Ravens held the Browns to five field goals on five red zone trips and never allowed Cleveland to get closer than 11 yards from the end zone. But the Ravens were helped by a Browns illegal formation penalty which nullified an 18-yard touchdown to Josh Gordon and the fact that quarterback Brandon Weeden never threw a pass to the end zone.
“We got a big penalty call on that one where they did score, but we knew we had to stay focused and not let them in the end zone,” safety Ed Reed said. “We know where we’re at on the football field. Before they even get to the red zone, our job’s to keep them out of the end zone. We made plays down there and did what we were supposed to do.”
Baltimore has clung to the "bend-but-don't-break" philosophy this season. Opponents are scoring touchdowns in the red zone only 40.6 percent of the time against the Ravens. To put that in perspective, only six defenses entering this week had a better success rate.
STAT THAT STICKS: 34 -- Wins for the Ravens in the 39 games that Ray Rice has at least 15 carries, an .871 winning percentage. Rice had a season-high 25 carries Sunday. Baltimore is also 20-2 when Rice scores a rushing touchdown.
OVERHEARD: “There’s a lot of turning points in the season. There’s a lot of things that make or break your season, and this won’t be the last one. But this is definitely a turning point. We turned a corner today.” Coach John Harbaugh, who previously pointed to Sunday's game as a "must-win."
WHAT'S NEXT: The Ravens play their only home game of the month when they face Carson Palmer and the Raiders (3-5), who lost to the Buccaneers on Sunday. Baltimore has won 22 of its last 23 games at home.