Sure you'll say it was only the Cleveland Browns, right!? But this is the NFL and shutting down another team for 60 minutes is still a big thing. The New York Giants shut out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24-0 Sunday and with a 3-0 record, they should get a ton of credit, regardless of the Bucs ineptitude, much less the Browns as well.
Good teams are supposed to beat up on the weaker ones and that's just the Ravens did. For the second time out of three games, the defense ruled the roost, limiting Cleveland to a 186 yards of total offense. In the team's first game against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Ravens held them to 188 yards of total offense. The blip on the screen was the offensive explosion of the San Diego Chargers, but most Ravens fans see that game as just a rare gem of a game against a top notch QB with some big, fast and strong receivers that we should not see the rest of the season.
(More on "Ravens Defense Returns To Form" after the 'Jump')
The Ravens' run defense was "roughed up" for 71 rushing yards vs. Cleveland, including 52 by Jerome Harrison. That's 30 yards more than any player has gained against the team this season and that also makes it 38 straight games without allowing a 100 yard rusher, easily the longest in the NFL. The secondary came through as well, with four interceptions, spread out between both safeties, a corner and a linebacker. While the defense continued its curious line of getting so few sacks for such a tough defense, their pressure resulted in those interceptions and anyone will tell you they'd much rather have the interceptions over the sacks any day.
The Ravens improved to #7 in total defense, up from #20 last week. Only three other teams have allowed less plays from scrimmage than the Ravens, and although the Ravens are tied for 9th in fewest points allowed, they'd be 3rd if you take away the blocked punt and seven yard drive off the interception return by the Chiefs.
Baltimore is tied for third in interceptions and for touchdowns allowed they have only given up a total of five, four on the ground, one on special teams and none rushing.
Looking at the trends, it continues to look like this defense is quickly returning to the form that most offenses have feared for years. While there will be teams that will roll up yards in their attempt to catch up with this offense, most of them will continue to flounder statistically when they face Baltimore's defense. If the New England Patriots thought they faced a tough defense when they were shut down by the New York Jets two weeks ago, just wait until they face the original Rex Ryan defense this Sunday!