Final

Browns 17

(4-10, 2-5 away)

Ravens 27

(11-3, 6-1 home)

Coverage: CBS

1:00 PM ET, December 17, 2006

M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD 

1 2 3 4 T
CLE 3 7 7 017
BAL 7 10 7 327

Top Performers

Passing: K. Boller (BAL) - 238 YDS, 2 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: J. Lewis (BAL) - 22 CAR, 109 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: D. Williams (BAL) - 2 REC, 100 YDS, 1 TD

Ravens lose McNair, beat Browns to clinch playoff spot

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Kyle Boller finished what Steve McNair started.

With McNair watching from the sideline with an injured right hand, Boller carried the Ravens into the playoffs, throwing two touchdown passes in a 27-17 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

Scouts Inc.'s take ...
Cleveland QB Derek Anderson and Baltimore QB Kyle Boller (right) both showed their immaturity, but they also did some good things and showed efficiency in their play. Anderson had success going away from Chris McAlister, especially after Samari Rolle left the game with injury. McAlister played a great game.

Still, Anderson was accurate despite being relentlessly harassed by Baltimore's pass rush. The Browns' offensive line was overmatched and confused trying to pick up multiple blitzers. The Ravens also had great success swapping their defensive ends to create more suitable matchups against Cleveland's offensive tackles.

Because of his fine play in the Ravens' first 13 games, McNair put Baltimore in position to clinch a postseason berth by defeating the Browns. The veteran quarterback could not complete the task, however, after having his right hand cut open during the second series of the game.

Enter Boller, whose inconsistency over the previous three years caused the Ravens to trade for McNair during the offseason.

"Everybody knows life in the NFL is very tenuous when it comes to your backup," Baltimore coach Brian Billick said. "He has to be ready to play. I thought Kyle played very well today."

McNair indicated he expects to play next Sunday.

The Ravens (11-3) had blown a 14-point lead when Boller threw a 77-yard touchdown pass to Demetrius Williams with 5:24 left in the third quarter, and the lead stood up.

"We know we're the best defense in the NFL," linebacker Bart Scott said. "We had to go play like that."

Jamal Lewis ran 22 times for 109 yards and a touchdown for the Ravens, who are assured a spot in the playoffs for the first time since 2003. Baltimore will win the AFC North if Cincinnati loses to Indianapolis on Monday night.

"Making the playoffs, that's step one," Billick said. "Every team, when they show up at training camp you have the same goal. It first begins with making the playoffs, and we're there."

Cleveland (4-10) did not go down easily. Former Ravens draft choice Derek Anderson went 23-for-32 for 233 yards, and his touchdown throws to Joe Jurevicius and Braylon Edwards brought the Browns out of a 17-3 hole.

"I saw the field real well and I had a good idea of what they were doing," Anderson said. "I made pretty good decisions for the most part. They just got me a couple of times."

Anderson completed 13 straight passes at one point. But he was intercepted twice, sacked five times and went 0-for-11 on third-down opportunities.

"We gave them too much," Cleveland coach Romeo Crennel said. "And when you give good football teams yards and plays, they usually take advantage of it."

It was 17-all when Boller dropped back and heaved the ball to Williams, who had slipped behind two defenders. The rookie caught the ball in stride at the 20, cut left and completed his journey with a dive into the end zone.

"I just wanted to put it up there nice and high for him, let him run underneath it," Boller said.

Boller, who started 34 games for the Ravens from 2003-2005, went 13-for-21 for 238 yards. He threw an interception and lost a fumble, but played well enough to prevent Billick from thrusting McNair back into action.

"You can't let the little things bother you," Boller said. "You've got to keep grinding."

With the Ravens nursing a 24-17 lead, Boller completed a 42-yard pass to Mark Clayton to set up the clinching score, a 22-yard field goal by Matt Stover with 2:53 left.

McNair left after Cleveland's Andra Davis accidentally stepped on his hand after he threw an incomplete pass. He was 0-for-4.

Baltimore took a 7-3 lead while McNair was receiving X-rays for his injury. Dawan Landry intercepted an overthrown pass by Anderson and returned it 37 yards to the Cleveland 16, setting up a 7-yard touchdown run by Lewis.

After a Cleveland punt, Boller converted three third-down plays during an 85-yard drive that put Baltimore up 14-3. Boller went 5-for-6 for 50 yards, including a 9-yard touchdown pass to Ovie Mughelli, and ran twice for 14 yards.

Baltimore's next drive, however, ended with an interception by Leigh Bodden -- the first against the Ravens in five games. Boller fumbled a snap on the next possession and Cleveland recovered on the Baltimore 26, but Phil Dawson missed a 47-yard field goal.

The Ravens then moved 42 yards before Stover kicked a 38-yard field goal to make it 17-3.

Anderson responded by going 6-for-6 during a 70-yard drive culminated with his 3-yard touchdown pass to Jurevicius.

The Browns held the ball for more than 11 minutes in the third quarter, but Boller found enough time to deliver the pivotal pass to Williams.

Game notes


Davis and Ravens CB Corey Ivy left with concussions. ... Ravens CB Samari Rolle left with a shoulder sprain. ... Jurevicius left with headaches, and Cleveland RB Jason Wright sustained a "pretty severe" knee injury, Crennel said.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
CLE
BAL
1st Downs1314
Passing 1st downs
108
Rushing 1st downs
34
1st downs from penalties
02
3rd down efficiency
0-117-15
4th down efficiency
0-10-0
Total Plays5561
Total Yards236373
Yards per play4.36.1
Total Drives1415
Passing168231
Comp-Att
23-3313-25
Yards per pass
4.38.9
Interceptions thrown
21
Sacks-Yards Lost
6-551-7
Rushing68142
Rushing Attempts
1635
Yards per rush
4.34.1
Red Zone (Made-Att)2-22-3
Penalties7-504-30
Turnovers23
Fumbles lost
02
Interceptions thrown
21
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession29:4830:12

Passing Leaders

CLEC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Anderson23/322237.0225-41
Cribbs0/100.0000-0
BALC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Boller13/2123811.3211-7
McNair0/400.0000-0

Rushing Leaders

CLECARYDSAVGTDLG
Wright8374.6018
Droughns8313.909
BALCARYDSAVGTDLG
Lewis221095.0152
Anderson3227.3019

Receiving Leaders

CLERECYDSAVGTDLG
Edwards56813.6128
Winslow56112.2036
BALRECYDSAVGTDLG
Williams210050.0177
Heap55811.6019

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERCLEBAL
cleFG9:48Phil Dawson 51 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 6 plays, 43 yds, 3:38
30
balTD6:44Jamal Lewis, 7 yd run (Matt Stover kick is good)
Drive info: 2 plays, 16 yds, 0:50
37
SECOND QUARTERCLEBAL
balTD14:22Ovie Mughelli, 9 yd pass from Kyle Boller (Matt Stover kick is good)
Drive info: 11 plays, 85 yds, 5:41
314
balFG2:44Matt Stover 38 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 8 plays, 42 yds, 4:18
317
cleTD0:57Joe Jurevicius, 3 yd pass from Derek Anderson (Phil Dawson kick is good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 70 yds, 1:45
1017
THIRD QUARTERCLEBAL
cleTD6:34Braylon Edwards, 14 yd pass from Derek Anderson (Phil Dawson kick is good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 84 yds, 4:55
1717
balTD5:36Demetrius Williams, 77 yd pass from Kyle Boller (Matt Stover kick is good)
Drive info: 3 plays, 77 yds, 1:05
1724
FOURTH QUARTERCLEBAL
balFG3:43Matt Stover 22 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 6 plays, 50 yds, 3:10
1727