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Halftime: Browns are a first-half disaster

12/24/2011

BALTIMORE -- The Cleveland Browns are making this way too easy for the Baltimore Ravens, who lead 17-0 at halftime.

Already down by 17 points, the Browns made a head-scratcher of a decision to end the first half. On second-and-goal at the 3-yard line, the Browns chose to run the ball in the final seconds without any timeouts.

Peyton Hillis was stopped for no gain with about five seconds remaining. The Browns didn't even attempt to line up to spike the ball to stop the clock. I'm not sure if there was enough time to do it, but the Browns didn't even try. Beyond that, it was just a poor decision by coach Pat Shurmur, who should have either thrown the ball in that situation or kicked the field goal.

It was the second bad play call of the game. On the opening series of the game, the Browns drove into Ravens territory by running the ball and faced a third-and-1. Instead of running Hillis in between the tackles again, Cleveland decided to pass and Seneca Wallace was picked off. The Ravens converted the turnover into their first touchdown.

Other thoughts at halftime:

  • Bad first half for Cleveland linebacker D'Qwell Jackson. He allowed both touchdowns in pass coverage -- a 5-yarder on a back-shoulder throw to Ed Dickson and a 42-yarder to Ray Rice on a wheel route.

  • Rice is enjoying another great day at the expense of the Browns. He has 49 yards rushing and 48 yards receiving.

  • Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has a 133.7 rating in the first half. He has completed 8 of 12 passes for 105 yards and two touchdowns. You can also factor in a 60-yard pass interference penalty on Mike Adams. Rookie receiver Torrey Smith ran past Adams and Joe Haden on the Ravens' first offensive snap.

  • Hillis has been running hard against the Ravens, gashing one of the best run defenses for 68 yards in the first half. But the large deficit takes him out of the game plan if the Browns want to play catch-up. But who knows what Shurmur is thinking these days?