Final Score: Baltimore 24, Cleveland 10
You know that it's been a somewhat dismal football day when you follow the game on twitter—and all tweets about your team cease in the third quarter.
When the scoring squirrel is a home-team highlight.
When the opposing QB has a rating of 63.9 and you lose by two touchdowns.
When you have three suited-up running backs and one of them carries the ball 12 times—almost all in the first half. One of them has one rush and one of them just stood there.
These are not good things.
The Browns' secondary didn't give up much, even without starting Safety T.J. Ward.
The linebackers, however, had a rough outing versus Ray Rice, Ricky Williams and Vonte Leach. They probably could have used Ward's help on the run.
A shimmering ray of hope for Cleveland continues to come in the form of their large, talented and young defensive line. Jabaal Sheard played like a Pro Bowler today and Jayme Mitchell came storming back from a week off. Phil Taylor and Ahtyba Rubin's names weren't called as often, but they played equally well.
The offense did nothing to encourage anyone to think that either Colt McCoy or Pat Shurmur may have answers for their slump.
Cleveland needs to figure out what their plan is on offense. I thought for a moment there in the first quarter that we might see some sparks. But they died by the second quarter.
Conversely, the Baltimore Ravens' coaching staff and veteran leadership impressed me today by not taking the Browns for granted.
The team was focused and dedicated. They had a game plan. It was called, "Run the football." And it worked perfectly.
Five Ravens (six if you count one Flacco scamper) toted the rock 55 times for 290 yards. That is not a typo; it is almost 300 yards given up on the ground in one 60-minute period.
Even if Colt McCoy had been channelling Joe Montana, that would have been tough to overcome.