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The Baltimore Ravens (11-4) bounced back from their disappointing loss to the San Diego Chargers with a 20-14 victory over divisional rivals, the Cleveland Browns (4-11). The Ravens maintained their position at the top of the AFC North with the victory and will finish top of the division if they can beat the Cincinnati Bengals in the last game of the regular season, regardless of how the Pittsburgh Steelers do in their game.
The Ravens got off to the perfect start, with Ed Dickson collecting a 5-yard touchdown pass from quarterback, Joe Flacco, in the first quarter and was soon followed up by a field goal from Shayne Graham, giving Baltimore a 10-point lead going into the second quarter.
Flacco then threw his second touchdown of the game in the second quarter, finding running back Ray Rice open, and Rice had little difficulty coasting into the end zone for a 42-yard touchdown. The Ravens added another field goal early in the third quarter, giving themselves a 20-point lead over the Browns, then had to brace themselves for a comeback from Cleveland. Josh Cribbs gave the Browns’ fans some hope with a touchdown on an 84-yard punt return in the third quarter, which was followed up by a 6-yard touchdown pass from Seneca Wallace to Evan Moore in the fourth quarter, but could not find another score as they lost the game by six points.
Whilst Wallace performed competently, if not spectacularly, at quarterback, running back Peyton Hillis looked in formidable form for arguably the first time this season, running for 112 yards on 24 carries. Although Hillis has slowly begun to find his form in this injury-plagued season, it may be too little, too late to save his career in Cleveland, and he could well be looking for a new team come the end of the season.
Although they allowed two touchdowns late in the game, the Ravens defense looked far more solid than they did last week against the San Diego Chargers. Ray Lewis looked to have fully recovered from his toe injury, registering a game-high 10 tackles as Baltimore managed to make the Browns’ offense look fairly ineffective for the majority of the game.