AFC North: 2012 Week 9 rapid reaction
November, 4, 2012
By Jamison Hensley | ESPN.com
CLEVELAND -- My thoughts on the Baltimore Ravens' 25-15 win at the Cleveland Browns:
What it means: The Ravens failed to hold onto a 14-point lead and needed a late touchdown to Torrey Smith to escape with their 10th straight win over the Browns. Baltimore, which had lost by 30 points at Houston before its bye, improved to 6-2 and kept its lead atop the AFC North. The Browns (2-7) lost for the first time at home since Sept. 23. Cleveland lost because it couldn't finish off drives in the red zone. The Browns' scoring was five field goals from Phil Dawson: 32, 28, 29, 33 and 41 yards.
Coming through late: The Ravens went three-and-out on six straight drives and didn't have a first down in the second half until the offense woke up after the Browns took their first lead of the game. Joe Flacco completed his final three passes for 43 yards on the winning drive (which included a roughing the passer penalty on Browns safety T.J. Ward). Flacco's 19-yard touchdown pass to Smith put the Ravens ahead with 4:26 remaining. He then found Anquan Boldin for a two-point conversion.
Costly penalty: It looked like the Browns had taken a 19-14 lead in the fourth quarter when Josh Gordon scored on an 18-yard reception. But an illegal formation penalty negated the touchdown. The Browns decided to run the ball on third-and-11 and settled for their fifth field goal. Instead of a five-point lead, the Browns led by one, which later hurt them.
Hot and cold: Flacco started off hot with 10 straight completions as Baltimore jumped out to a 14-0 lead. But Flacco went through a 2-of-10 rut as the Ravens couldn't gain any momentum on offense.
Richardson goes back to back: Trent Richardson gained more than 100 yards for the second straight game. He becomes the third rookie -- and first since 1998 -- to crack 100 yards against the Ravens.
Weeden's streak ends: Brandon Weeden threw his first interception in three games when he was picked off by Cary Williams. It was the first pick in 117 drop backs for Weeden. Williams has two interceptions in two meetings with the rookie first-round pick. But Baltimore didn't convert the turnover into points.
What's next: The Ravens return home to face the Raiders. The Browns have a bye before playing at Dallas on Nov. 18.