The defense played a key role in helping the Ravens pull out a tough 25-15 victory over the Browns Sunday in Cleveland.
This was a game when the offense started great and finished strongly but became very quiet for about two quarters. It was something like what happened with the defense in the past, when they needed to help out a struggling offense to pull out a win. Both the defense and offense worked together on this one, but the defense came up big at the right times.
The offense's lack of ability to move the ball for about two quarters often played a big role in helping the Browns start out with good field position on several drives, often around their own 40 yard-line. Cleveland needed just a little bit of work to move into scoring range, but the Ravens didn't allow the Browns into the end zone. Cleveland made it into the red zone five times but came away with five field goals and no touchdowns, a big reason the Ravens were able to hang on for this victory.
"Some times they got in field goal range, most of the time they got in field goal range," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said in his post-game press conference. "And then we were able to hold them to the field goal."
The Browns actually scored one touchdown that would have given them a 19-14 lead in the fourth quarter, but it was called back due to a penalty, a big break for the Ravens. Baltimore stopped the Browns after that and forced them to kick a field goal for a 15-14 lead. The Ravens then scored the game's final 11 points.
Another big stop came after the Ravens had taken back the lead at 22-15. The Browns faced a fourth-and-2 at their own 28 with about four minutes left and decided to go for it-- but they came up empty on that play, giving the Ravens the ball in field goal position. Justin Tucker kicked the game-clinching field goal moments later.