The Baltimore Ravens not only won yesterday's game by a 25-15 score over the Cleveland Browns, they actually covered the odds-makers point spread (-4) and held Cleveland without a single touchdown. The Browns did appear to score and take the lead in the fourth quarter, but their TD was called back due to a legitimate penalty and they had to settle for temporarily taking the lead on placekicker Phil Dawson's fifth field goal on the day.
However, don't be fooled by the way the Ravens held the Browns without a six-pointer and limited the Cleveland offense down the stretch to pull away for the victory that was a lot closer than the final score indicated. One might deduce that looking at the comparison between the first and second halves, that Baltimore's defense returned to their "pre-2012" form and shut down the Browns offense.
Although Browns RB Trent Richardson finished with a very respectable line of 25 attempts for 105 yards and a 4.2 average per rush, his 2nd half stats were less than impressive (11 attempts for 29 yards). QB Brandon Weeden stats showed a similar trend in the two halves.
Weeden had a relatively decent first half, finishing 11 of 18 for 129 yards and an 83 QB Rating. However, his final 30 minutes were indescribably abysmal. The horrific numbers look like this: 9 for 19 for 47 yards and a QB Rating of final 44.4. Tow of his ten incompletions in the second half went to the Ravens defense.
So before you credit the Baltimore defenders for shutting down the Cleveland offense and allowing Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense to find themselves and score the final points to get in the win column, think again. Equal credit should go to the incredibly inept Browns offense, from the playcalling to the execution on the field.
Between throwing the ball on a third and one when running effectively, to dropping passes that hit receivers in the hands, to ignoring wide open receivers and throwing the ball away, Cleveland's offense made the Ravens mid-game offense look like the "Greatest Show on Turf."