Ravens vs. Browns: Baltimore Leads on 3 Cleveland Turnovers: First Half Analysis

Alan ZlotorzynskiCorrespondent IIIDecember 26, 2010

CLEVELAND - DECEMBER 26:  Wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, #84 of the Baltimore Ravens catches a touchdown pass over defensive back Sheldon Brown, #24 of the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on December 26, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

The Baltimore Ravens take a three-point lead into the locker room in a first half reminiscent of Raven’s football past. Ugly offensive possessions and an opportunistic defense staked the Ravens to a 13-10 halftime lead.

Browns starter Colt McCoy started the game converting eight of his first 10 passes.

Cleveland led 7-0 after the first quarter on a trick play. Seneca Wallace, in the game in a mock wildcat formation, took the snap and handed off to Peyton Hillis, who pitched the ball back to Mohamed Massaquoi, who threw a 29-yard pass to Brian Robiskie in the end zone.

With Robiskie appearing to trap the ball, Baltimore challenged the catch and lost. The touchdown was Robiskie's second of the year and second in consecutive weeks.

On the ensuing drive, the Ravens would travel 16 plays and 80 yards, matching their longest drive of the year. Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff would come through once again, kicking a 27-yard field goal.

On the first play of the Browns next possession a catch and fumble by Mohamed Massaquoi would give the Ravens excellent field position. Massaquoi was stripped fighting for extra yards near the sideline. A weird spin kept the ball in bounds, allowing Ravens linebacker Jameel McClain to recover and return the ball nine yards to the Browns 20.

The Ravens would run three plays, and for the third consecutive week Joe Flacco converted a third down into a touchdown, as he found T.J. Houshmandzadeh in stride for a 10-7 Ravens lead. Six plays into Cleveland's next drive, Ed Reed picked off a floating downfield pass once again intended for Massaquoi. Reed returned the ball 20 yards to midfield. Reed was shaken up on the play.

The Ravens, staying on the ground, drove to the Browns 22, and Billy Cundiff kicked a 40-yard field goal to put the Ravens up 13-7.

The Browns drove 10 plays, as Phil Dawson pulled the Browns to within three before the half at 13-10.

Joe Flacco threw for just 56 yards in the first half, as the Browns owned a slight advantage in total yards.

The Ravens converted three Browns turnovers into 10 points, but they were unable to really put the Browns in a significant hole.

Eric Mangini once again turned to his bag of tricks to start the second half. The Browns tried an onside kick to open the second half — check back to see if they converted.

The Ravens defense has gone 23 games without allowing a third quarter rushing touchdown, an NFL modern era record (1933). See if Cleveland can snap the streak.