Baltimore Ravens Get Red Hot After Slow Start, Win 28-7

Nov 10, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith (89) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the third quarter against the Cleveland Browns at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens were expected to have an easy win against the Browns. It was anything but easy.

The Baltimore Ravens wasted a lot of chances in their battle with the Cleveland Browns. It happened again, the Ravens shot themselves in the foot. On one first half drive the Ravens were driving. They had just gotten big plays from Terrance West and Kenneth Dixon, and it looked like the offense was heating up. Joe Flacco threw an unforgivably bad interception.

The Ravens first points came on a Justin Tucker field goal. The Ravens only had to kick the field goal because Flacco missed a wide open Steve Smith Sr. coming across the field. Flacco threw it deep instead, throwing away a sure touchdown. The recurring theme of the Ravens tripping over themselves continued on Thursday Night Football.

The offensive line was a real problem in this game. It didn’t really matter who you pointed the finger at, none of the offensive linemen had a game to write home about. Flacco took some bone crunching hits. Ronnie Stanley struggled. Alex Lewis missed a blocking assignment on one of the Browns sacks. Vlad Ducasse had some disappointing moments as well.

The Ravens went into the locker room down 7-6 at the half. It looked like the team was sleep walking. Maybe it was because it was a short week, or perhaps it was a let down after a big win. The first half just wasn’t good enough, and the crowd at M&T Bank Stadium made that quite clear.

Nov 10, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Chris Matthews (84) celebrates after scoring a touchdown in front of Cleveland Browns cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun (20) during the third quarter at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

What A Difference A Half Makes

The Ravens got it going in the second half. Baltimore found their first drive of the third quarter resulting in a four yard touchdown pass to Darren Waller. The Ravens went down the field in nine plays, gaining 64 yards and a little momentum. It came at a huge cost though. Alex Lewis, the Ravens rookie left guard went down with an ankle injury.

Now the Ravens were without their two starting guards, Marshall Yanda and Alex Lewis. It seems like the Ravens offensive line is the epicenter of bad luck this season.

The next Browns drive ended with a quick interception. It looked like the Ravens were about to get going. They were moving the ball, the end zone was in sight. The purple and black had a chance to take a 20-7 lead. Instead Flacco threw a brainless interception. It was an inexplicably ridiculous pass. We’ve seen this story before. Baltimore football is never easy.

The Ravens would quickly get the ball back. Joe Flacco redeemed himself, finding Steve Smith Sr. for an 11 yard touchdown pass. The Ravens rolled after this point. Flacco ended up with an impressive stat line. Flacco went 30 for 41 for 296 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Baltimore saw their team win their first win by more than seven points since the 2014 playoffs. The 28-7 win was huge for a team that has made nail biters standard operating procedure.

Nov 10, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; during the second quarter at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Bottom Line:

The Ravens got impressive showing from Kenneth Dixon and Terrance West. Dixon rushed for 38 yards on six carries and had five receptions for 42 yards. West had 65 rushing yards on 21 carries.

Breshad Perriman shined  in this game. This was his best game in the NFL. Perriman had three receptions for 64 yards and a touchdown. Darren Waller played great in this game. He had a touchdown catch, and he downed a ball on the two yard line on special teams.

This win was everything the Ravens could have hoped for. The Ravens may have made it more of a compelling first half than we would have liked. The Browns gave the Ravens a fight though. Overall Baltimore dominated this game.

The Ravens ended up winning this game by a wide margin. The second half worked out so well for Baltimore that it’s tempting to forget the first half. When you go into the half trailing 7-6 against a team that could go 0-16, it’s an eye opener. The purple and black got it together and had a nearly flawless quarter and a half of football. This win puts the Ravens firmly in first place and gives them momentum heading into a pivotal battle with the Dallas Cowboys.

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