The Ravens went and took care of business on Sunday by shutting down the Cleveland Browns and clinching their 3rd playoff berth in as many years under HC John Harbaugh. It was the running game that did the work offensively and Ed Reed who stymied youngin’ Colt McCoy on the other side of the ball.
The Ravens knew well in advance that they would need to win to stay on par for a possible AFC North title with the Steelers, who man-handled the Panthers on Sunday. Ray Lewis vowed to keep Browns RB Peyton Hillis from stomping up another 100+ yard day as he did in their week 3 showdown. Lewis and the Ravens D kept that promise as they held Hillis 35 yards on 12 carries. To make matters worse, Ed Reed terrorized McCoy for 2 interceptions and made his way up the record book ladder for 52 career INT’s. The defense smothered the Browns and held them to 280 yards total for the day and a lowly 27.0 passer rating for McCoy.
Offensively, Cam Cameron put it to the ground with 161 total yards rushing as Ray Rice contributed 92 yards on 25 carries. Joe Flacco went about his work quietly, only throwing for 102 yards and 2 TDs. His two TD’s were to T.J. Houshmanzadeh and Derrick Mason in the second and third quarter. And just to make sure the World Cup kicker that is Billy Cundiff gets his points, the Ravens added 2 FGs of 27 and 40 yards.
Overall it was an efficient day for the Ravens. The Ravens still have a shot at the AFC North title with a win over the always stubborn Bengals, but they also need the Browns to beat the Steelers. A win and some help would mean a bye week and a home game in the playoffs. Here’s to hoping Santa can deliver some New Year’s gifts…
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Written by Lea Anderson