Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Brown Out

Ray Rice ran for 89 yards and a touchdown on Monday night.

The Ravens (5-4) looked very unimpressive on offense in their 16-0 win over the Browns (1-8) last night. In a game they should have won by at least 20 points, the Ravens were blanked by the Browns defense in the first half and only managed to score points when the defense created turnovers deep in Cleveland territory.

They totaled just 274 yards of total offense against the Browns 31st defense. That's 3 straight games now where the Ravens have failed to go over 300 yards of total offense.

Joe Flacco and Ray Rice lead the way again, with Flacco tossing for 155 yards and no turnovers while Rice rushed for 89 yards and the only touchdown on offense. Derrick Mason turned in a decent performance after being shut down in Cincinnati with 78 receiving yards.

But despite some decent single performances, the offense as a whole sputtered for most of the night. The Browns defense does deserve some credit for stepping up and playing a good game, but the Ravens offense, which was 9th in points scored coming into the game, should've put the game away in the first half. Instead they went into halftime tied at zero and needed Browns turnovers to score points on offense.

Last night's game is just another example that the league has figured out the Ravens offense. Give Rice his yards, but pressure Flacco and box out the Ravens WR's.

And the Colts, who come to Baltimore this Sunday, have been figuring out the Ravens for years.

The Ravens' lone bright spot last night was the defense, which held the Browns' 32nd ranked offense to just 160 total yards and no points. They played physical, and did an excellent job pressuring Browns' QB Brady Quinn, but I won't put too much stock in their shutout last night. The Browns offense is worse than most college teams and maybe some high school teams. They didn't attempt to stretch the field until their final drive. They failed to challenge the Ravens' weak secondary. And they barely used Jamal Lewis, the kind of physical running back the Ravens have had trouble stopping this season.

Also, the controversy surrounding kicker Steve Hauschka should continue for another week after he missed his first field goal attempt of the game, a 36-yarder. He did, however, come back and make a 44-yarder later in the game but I wouldn't be surprised to see the Ravens make a move this week. Too bad a certain former Raven future Hall of Fame kicker will be wearing a Colts uniform this Sunday.

Anyway, the Browns are bad, really bad, and the Cleveland fans should have stuck to their plan of walking into the stadium after kickoff, leaving the stadium mostly empty for the start of the game. However, during the weeks since that plan was announced the Browns have taken steps to mend the fences in Cleveland and the stadium looked mostly full at kickoff.

All in all it was a less-than-impressive win over the Browns who are easily the worst team in the NFL. The Ravens on offense look slow and uninspired and the defense will still have issues against a team that can actually complete a forward pass.

Last night the Ravens played the worst team in the NFL. This Sunday, they play the best.

They better bring their A-game against the Colts, or the Ravens will be looking more like the team they were before they moved to Baltimore.

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