Today, they defeated the Browns in a shootout, 37-27.
Flacco continued to mature as a rookie quarterback. The NFL's Rookie of the Week last week, Flacco went 17-for-29 with 248 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. And, after a three-interception showing against the Colts, Flacco has zero interceptions in his last three contests—all Raven wins.
The Ravens started quite well Sunday. The Browns got the ball first and went nowhere. They got minus four yards on the first drive, as the Ravens' defense looked very good on the first drive. The Ravens took the ball to the Cleveland 22 and settled for a Matt Stover 39-yard field goal to take a quick 3-0 lead.
The Browns got the ball back but were not able to respond to the score. After getting all the way to the Ravens' 40-yard line, the Browns' drive stalled. Derek Anderson was sacked by Trevor Pryce, the Browns committed a five-yard penalty, and Syndric Steptoe fumbled, giving the Ravens the ball back on the Browns' 47.
The second play of the ensuing drive, Joe Flacco fired a pass to Mark Clayton in the end zone for a 47-yard touchdown, and it was 10-0 Ravens.
The Browns would respond, though, and it didn't take very long.
Actually, it took about three seconds.
Following a long kick by Matt Stover, all the way to the Browns' eight, 2007 Special Teams Pro Bowler Joshua Cribbs returned it 92 yards for his first special teams touchdown of the 2008 campaign.
The Ravens got the ball back and 40-years young kicker Matt Stover booted a FG from 32 yards out.
But again, the Browns responded. A big gain by Braylon Edwards took the Browns offense all the way to the Baltimore 37 with eight seconds left in the half. The ageless Phil Dawson booted a 55-yard field goal to make it a 13-10 game heading into the locker room.
Despite the Ravens leading, the Browns looked better.
Baltimore didn't do anything on their first drive coming out after the score, and Braylon Edwards caught an amazing touchdown pass when he grabbed the ball away from Ravens corner Frank Walker and safety Jim Leonhard.
So, it was 20-13.
The Browns got the ball right back after a stalling possession by Baltimore and scored again, this one on a seven-yard touchdown pass to halfback Jason Wright. So, it was 27-13 and the Browns had it in the bag.
Right? Umm, no. This is the Cleveland Browns.
Joe Flacco led an inspired drive that ended when Le'Ron McClain punched it in from one yard out for the touchdown, making it 27-20, Browns.
It was McClain's fifth touchdown of the year, solidifying his case for a Pro Bowl.
Now, the Ravens had a huge momentum advantage. All because of a one-yard score. Only in football, folks.
Derek Anderson and the offense went nowhere the next drive, and the Ravens tied it on a 28-yard touchdown strike to Derrick Mason on a simple curl route.
After a huge run by Ray Rice for 60 yards to take the Ravens to the three, Matt Stover kicked a 22-yard field goal.
The Browns still had a chance, though.
There were approximately three minutes left and the Browns definitely are a powerful offense, with Anderson, Edwards, Winslow, and Jamal Lewis.
But not this year.
Anderson followed by throwing a pick to Terrell Suggs, who took it in for a touchdown from 42 yards away and it was 37-27, and the game ended by that score. Derek Anderson left the field to chants of "Brady, Brady."
All because of a one-yard touchdown run.
Joe Flacco: 17-for-29, 248 yards, 2 TD
Derek Anderson: 17-for-33, 219 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Ray Rice: 21 rush, 154 yards
Jamal Lewis: 19 rush, 49 yards
Derrick Mason: 9 catches, 136 yards, 1 TD
Braylon Edwards: 4 catches, 86 yards, 1 TD