After what could be described as a disappointing 4-4 start, the Ravens were in need of a kick start to the second half of the year.
Playing the Browns is a great way to build confidence, and the Ravens needed it. In their last five games, they played four teams with a combined record of 27-9 and came out of those five games with a record of 1-4. The losses were by an average of 5.25 points and they beat a previously undefeated Denver team by 23. Maybe that 4-4 record wasn’t so bad after all.
Playing the Browns is like having your car tuned up and detailed. The Ravens should have come out of this victory looking shiny and new, but instead they appear to need some repairs and a new paint job.
For starters, an offense this talented can’t get shut out in the first half by a Browns defense that is allowing 26.1 points per game. Cam Cameron needed to come out of the gate with some aggressive play calling in order to establish an early lead. Instead, they played it close to the vest with a variety of fullback plunges and conservative runs. Scoring 10 offensive points against the Browns is nothing to get excited about.
The defence, at least, held up their end of the deal. Against an offense that has only scored 9.8 points per game, anything less than a shut out would seem like a disappointment. The pass rush was consistent and relentless, the coverage was smothering, and Dawan Landry returned one interception for a touchdown. Poor Brady Quinn looked completely lost trying to find a hole in coverage.
Steven Hauschka continued his string of ugly field goal misses. In the first half, he missed a seemingly simple field goal from inside the red zone. He will need to step up during big moments if the Ravens want a chance at the playoffs.
The Ravens control their own destiny if they can come up big against the Colts and the Steelers, but they’ll need to play better than they did tonight. They’re capable of a big performance, just like they had against Minnesota, but they’ll need to shrug off tonight’s lackluster performance first.
That said, they’re 5-4 and back to their winning ways, so we’ll see if they can build on the victory.