The Cleveland Browns are not really a “bad” football team. They have a lot of individual talent. They play hard. They actually had a 7-3 lead on the Ravens in this one. They just haven’t been able to close the deal yet this season.
The Ravens pulled away from the Browns with an opportunistic defense and an efficient offensive game plan. And punter Sam Koch kept the Browns pinned down deep in their own territory to help dominate the field position battle.
Joe Flacco threw a touchdown pass, ran for a score and beat Cleveland again as the Baltimore Ravens stayed on track for the AFC playoffs with a 27-10 win Sunday over the Browns, now two losses from becoming the NFL’s second 0-16 team. The Ravens are now 8-6.
Flacco scored on a 2-yard run and threw a 33-yard TD pass toBenjamin Watson as the Ravens took control with two touchdowns in the final 3:01 of the first half.
Defensive tackle Brandon Williamsrecovered a fumble and rolled in for a TD in third quarter to put the Ravens up 24-10.
Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer threw two more interceptions, the last into a group of defenders in the fourth quarter.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh wasn’t concerned about his team overlooking the Browns with so much on the line. Baltimore was coming off a last-second, 39-38 loss at Pittsburgh last week, and while the Ravens weren’t at their best, they didn’t do anything to help Cleveland.
Flacco completed 26 of 42 passes for 288 yards and improved to 17-2 in his career against Cleveland.
With the Ravens leading 17-10, Baltimore’s defense put away the Browns.
Kizer was stripped in the end zone by Za’Darius Smith and the loose ball was pounced on by Williams, who shimmied his 340-pound frame across the goal line.
Later, Kizer forced a throw to the back of the end zone that could have been picked off by three Ravens.
Cleveland was held to zero total yards in the first quarter, but the Browns went on a 96-yard drive — Isaiah Crowell ran for 59 on the first play — to take a 7-3 lead on Duke Johnson’s 12-yard run.
After reaching the end zone, Johnson knelt with teammates before flashing “5-0” with his hands to salute Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier, who is recovering from back surgery.
Baltimore has scored five defensive touchdowns so far this season. It’s also forced 33 takeaways — nine in two games against Cleveland.
Ravens: WR Jeremy Maclin injured his knee on the first series, returned briefly and then was held out. … S Chuck Clark sustained a head injury in the first quarter but returned after clearing concussion protocol. …DT Carl Davis left to be treated for a head injury in the second quarter.
UP NEXT: Ravens host Indianapolis on Sunday.
Justin Tucker 31 Yd Field Goal
13 plays, 62 yards, 6:14
Duke Johnson Jr. 12 Yd Run (Zane Gonzalez Kick)
5 plays, 96 yards, 2:59
Joe Flacco 2 Yd Run (Justin Tucker Kick)
11 plays, 75 yards, 5:11
Benjamin Watson 33 Yd pass from Joe Flacco (Justin Tucker Kick)
3 plays, 45 yards, 0:37
Zane Gonzalez 45 Yd Field Goal
7 plays, 47 yards, 0:59
Brandon Williams 1 Yd Fumble Return (Justin Tucker Kick)
1 play, -3 yards, 0:07
Justin Tucker 43 Yd Field Goal
8 plays, 36 yards, 3:13
|Passing 1st downs||12||8|
|Rushing 1st downs||10||5|
|1st downs from penalties||1||2|
|3rd down efficiency||7-16||5-14|
|4th down efficiency||0-1||0-1|
|Yards per Play||5.1||4.6|
|Yards per pass||6.5||3.5|
|Yards per rush||3.1||6.8|
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||1-3||1-2|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||1||0|
|Anthony Levine Sr.||4||4||0||0||1||1||0|