Final

Browns 14

(4-11, 1-7 away)

Ravens 20

(11-4, 8-0 home)

Coverage: CBS

1:00 PM ET, December 24, 2011

M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD 

1 2 3 4 T
CLE 0 0 7 714
BAL 10 7 3 020

Top Performers

Passing: S. Wallace (CLE) - 147 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: P. Hillis (CLE) - 24 CAR, 112 YDS

Receiving: R. Rice (BAL) - 3 REC, 48 YDS, 1 TD

Ravens dismiss Browns to move within 1 win of North crown

Associated Press

BALTIMORE -- Eight games, eight wins. The Baltimore Ravens achieved perfection at home for the first time, and now they're looking to add to that ledger in the playoffs.

Joe Flacco threw two touchdown passes, and the Ravens beat the bumbling Cleveland Browns 20-14 on Saturday to move one step closer to winning the AFC North.

Ray Rice ran for 87 yards and caught a TD pass for the Ravens (11-4), who led 17-0 at halftime and held on.

"I have never been perfect at home in 16 years of football. That's amazing," Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis said. "As good of teams we've had here, we've always found (a way) to lose one or two here or there. I think this year we really made a focus on taking care at home. This is the result, us being able to go 8-0 and being able to be sitting where you want to sit at the end of the day."

The Ravens would win the AFC North by defeating Cincinnati on the road next week. That would also give Baltimore a first-round bye and a home playoff game -- two if New England loses next Sunday at home against Buffalo.

"It's big, man," linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "We are at our best when we are at (home) and our fans are rocking. So we definitely need a home playoff game, by any means necessary."

Flacco went 11 for 24 with touchdown passes to Rice and tight end Ed Dickson. He also had a 33-yard run.

Josh Cribbs had a career-high 84-yard punt return for a TD for Cleveland (4-11). But the Browns generated very little offense and were guilty of questionable play calling, bad clock management and untimely penalties in their fifth straight loss.

Cleveland saved the worst for last. Having already burned their three timeouts, the Browns lined up on defense after the two-minute warning with the Ravens facing a fourth-and-2 at the Cleveland 37.

It appeared obvious that Flacco and the Ravens were merely hoping to draw the Browns offside.

As the play clock moved close to zero, Cleveland tackle Phil Taylor jumped across the line of scrimmage to give Baltimore a first down.

"It was the first hard count and we stayed onside," Taylor said. "The second time, I just jumped. Of course you feel bad, but you just got to move on."

Said Flacco: "I don't know if I've ever been in position for that to happen. It's never worked."

The Ravens then ran out the clock on their eighth straight win over the Browns, including two this month.

"We knew this would be quite a challenge for us," Cleveland quarterback Seneca Wallace said. "We're playing the Ravens at home, and they're playing for everything. I should have played better, and I should have made better decisions."

Wallace went 19 for 33 for 147 yards in place of Colt McCoy, who was out with a concussion. Peyton Hillis ran for 112 yards, but Cleveland's offense mounted only one decent drive.

The Browns took the opening kickoff and moved from their own 26 to the Baltimore 30 behind the power of Hillis, who gained 30 yards on six carries. But on a third-and-1, Cleveland inexplicably went to the air, and Lardarius Webb intercepted Wallace's pass for Mohamed Massaquoi.

Flacco immediately threw deep for Torrey Smith, who drew a 60-yard penalty for pass interference on Mike Adams to set up a 5-yard touchdown pass to Dickson.

Later, a 29-yard throw from Flacco to Smith led to a 48-yard field goal by newcomer Shayne Graham, signed in the middle of the week to take over for the injured Billy Cundiff.

After another Cleveland punt, Flacco directed an 82-yard drive that gave Baltimore a 17-0 lead. Rice slipped behind linebacker D'Qwell Jackson on the right sideline, caught a soft pass in stride and sprinted into the end zone to complete a 42-yard scoring play.

That made Flacco 5 for 5 for 94 yards and two touchdowns on third down.

Cleveland moved deep into Baltimore territory late in the first half, thanks in part to a 30-yard pass interference call against Chris Carr. But with the clock inside 10 seconds and the Browns without a timeout left, Wallace handed off to Hillis instead of spiking the ball, and Hillis went nowhere.

Wallace took the blame, and so did Browns coach Pat Shurmur.

"I need to communicate it better, OK?" Shurmur said.

Time expired before Cleveland could get off another play, and the Browns headed to the locker room after being held scoreless in the first half for the second time this season. The other time it happened was also against Baltimore.

Graham kicked a 43-yard field goal in the third quarter to make it 20-0.

The Browns finally scored when Cribbs took a punt on the right sideline, escaped an arm tackle and broke toward the center of the field before outrunning three defenders into the left corner of the end zone late in the third quarter.

"I was wondering where all the defenders were," Cribbs said. "I saw all the great blocking around me. From there, it was easy. It was just a walk in."

Cribbs also contributed to Cleveland's next touchdown, catching a 23-yard pass from Wallace as part of an 80-yard drive that ended with a 9-yard TD throw to Evan Moore midway through the fourth quarter.

The Browns forced a punt, but on a fourth-and-4 from the Cleveland 45 with 4:03 left, a pass to Hillis did not produce the necessary yardage.

Taylor's jump across the line of scrimmage soon followed.

Game notes


Ravens KR David Reed hurt his left knee and declared himself out for the season. Also, Baltimore OT Marshal Yanda (chest) and CB Cary Williams (concussion) did not play in the second half. ... Shurmur said the Browns sustained no serious injuries. Cleveland closes the season next Sunday against Pittsburgh.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
CLE
BAL
1st Downs1815
Passing 1st downs
106
Rushing 1st downs
67
1st downs from penalties
22
3rd down efficiency
5-137-17
4th down efficiency
0-10-0
Total Plays6062
Total Yards256284
Yards per play4.34.6
Total Drives1111
Passing139122
Comp-Att
19-3311-24
Yards per pass
4.04.9
Interceptions thrown
11
Sacks-Yards Lost
2-81-10
Rushing117162
Rushing Attempts
2537
Yards per rush
4.74.4
Red Zone (Made-Att)1-21-1
Penalties6-955-51
Turnovers11
Fumbles lost
00
Interceptions thrown
11
Defensive / Special Teams TDs10
Possession27:4232:18

Passing Leaders

CLEC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Wallace19/331474.5112-8
BALC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Flacco11/241325.5211-10

Rushing Leaders

CLECARYDSAVGTDLG
Hillis241124.7015
Wallace155.005
BALCARYDSAVGTDLG
Rice23873.8011
Williams10454.5014

Receiving Leaders

CLERECYDSAVGTDLG
Little44010.0012
Moore5357.0111
BALRECYDSAVGTDLG
Rice34816.0142
Smith23819.0029

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERCLEBAL
balTD9:16Ed Dickson 5 Yard Pass From Joe Flacco (Shayne Graham Kick is Good)
Drive info: 3 plays, 64 yds, 1:01
07
balFG1:42Shayne Graham 48 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 11 plays, 62 yds, 5:09
010
SECOND QUARTERCLEBAL
balTD9:05Ray Rice 42 Yard Pass From Joe Flacco (Shayne Graham Kick is Good)
Drive info: 9 plays, 82 yds, 4:53
017
THIRD QUARTERCLEBAL
balFG5:54Shayne Graham 43 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 7 plays, 33 yds, 3:12
020
cleTD3:27Joshua Cribbs 84 Yard Punt Return (Phil Dawson Kick is Good)
Drive info: 1 plays, 84 yds, 0:00
720
FOURTH QUARTERCLEBAL
cleTD8:30Evan Moore 6 Yard Pass From Seneca Wallace (Phil Dawson Kick is Good)
Drive info: 12 plays, 80 yds, 5:45
1420

Research Notes

FlaccoJoe Flacco improved to 8-0 in his career against the Browns. He is averaging nearly 200 yards passing per game while completing over 60 percent of his passes against Cleveland.

  [+]
Josh Cribbs' 84-yard punt return TD is tied with Gerald McNeil (1986) for the 4th-longest in Browns history. The longest is a 92-yard one by Eric Metcalf in 1994.

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