Rob Carr - Getty Images
The Ravens can still celebrate a tough 23-16 victory over the Browns despite being a double-digit favorite.
The Baltimore Ravens finished the first quarter of the 2012 NFL regular season with a 3-1 record and a share of the lead in the AFC North with the Cincinnati Bengals. Actually, the Ravens sit atop the division by virtue of their 44-13 season opening victory over the Bengals as well as their division best 2-0 record.
The Ravens 23-16 victory over the Cleveland Browns this past Thursday night earned them a ten-day break before the travel to face the Kansas City Chiefs next Sunday. Although Baltimore was a double-digit favorite in the Browns game, the Ravens win was a hard fought victory against a very game opponent.
There's no reason to complain about the game that came down to not only the last play, but the last "extra" play after a stupid personal foul penalty against Paul Kruger. A short week plus a division opponent who always seem to play the Ravens closer than the game appears to be on paper, still equals the win, no different than a blowout would look in the standings.
Once again, QB Joe Flacco threw for well over 300 yards, WR Anquan Boldin topped the 100 yard mark and appeared to be as dominant as he's been in a long time, and the Ravens defense proved that their bend-but-don't-break defense was exactly that.
The gave up over 350 yards of total offense but only one touchdown and had Browns placekicker Phil Dawson been anything other than amazing, hitting three field goals over 50+ yards, the game might have not been anywhere this close.
After a well-deserved rest, the Ravens will begin preparation for their game at the Chiefs, whom they last played in the 2010 postseason and dominated with a 30-7 victory. The Chiefs have a lot less to celebrate this week, losing at home for the second time this season by at least two touchdowns.
However, for the Ravens, the celebrations are long over, as they re-focus their attention on remaining in the lead of the AFC North, as they know they still have a tough road ahead of them in the next few weeks, with games against Dallas and Houston followed by a rematch at Cleveland right after their Bye Week.