The Baltimore Ravens (5-4) gained more ground in a tight AFC North by cruising past division rival, the Cleveland Browns (0-10) on Thursday night. The Ravens are now 3-0 versus AFC North teams in 2016.
Although it came against a weak opponent, the Ravens played their best overall performance in 2016, playing well in all three phases of the game. This is the highest point total Baltimore was able to display, with 28 total points being scored.
“It was good to see all three phases of our team contribute fully,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh told the media in his opening statement. “For the offense to step up and play as well as it did in the second half is good for our football team.”
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco wasn’t perfect today, throwing two ugly interceptions, but he did a fantastic job spreading the ball around as he found three different receivers in the end zone against Cleveland. Five players caught at least three passes in this game. Flacco finished the night completing 30 passes for 296 yards and three touchdowns.
Breshad Perriman had the best game of his career, catching three passes for 64 yards and one score. His acrobatic catch in the end zone showed what kind of a playmaker he can be when he is fully healthy and properly utilized.
Baltimore’s backfield had a solid outing against the Browns’ front seven, as Terrance West and rookie Kenneth Dixon were able to rack up 103 yards on the ground.
While the Ravens’ offense was impressive against Cleveland, their defense was stifling, as Baltimore was able to win the turnover battle against the Browns.
Defenders Eric Weddle and Jerrad Powers were able to intercept Browns quarterback Josh McCown, who inexplicably replaced rookie quarterback Cody Kessler despite Kessler performing well, as Cleveland’s third round draft pick completed 11 passes for 91 yards and a 25-yard passing touchdown. The Browns appear to be auditioning quarterbacks for the near future, as they have basically been eliminated from playoff contention with a loss.
Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs had a day to remember, as he channeled his inner Von Miller on a strip-sack which led to a fumble recovery by teammate Timmy Jernigan, effectively putting the final nail in the coffin in this game. T-Sizzle also played a key role in one of Baltimore’s interceptions, getting his hand on one of McCown’s passes and tipping it to cornerback Powers. Suggs finished the day with a tackle, a sack, and a forced fumble.
The Ravens’ defense harassed Kessler and McCown all night, as Suggs, Jernigan, Za’Darius Smith, and Lardarius Webb were able to record sacks. Baltimore’s defensive unit is among the best in the NFL, and they continue to prove it week in and week out.
Ravens kicker Justin Tucker is now 22 for 22 on field goal attempts this season, and may not miss a kick all season at the rate he’s going at.
The Ravens now have 10 days to prepare for their next opponent, the Dallas Cowboys, who they will play on Sunday, Nov. 20 in Arlington, Texas.