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Ravens Steamroll Browns 34-3

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The Baltimore Ravens used an opportunistic defense and an efficient offense to move to 3-0 for the second time in franchise history as they cruised to a 34-3 win over the Cleveland Browns.

The defense, which took loads of criticism during the week for giving up 471 net yards of offense to Phillip Rivers’ Chargers, rebounded strong as it stifled Cleveland’s struggling attack and scored 21 points off of turnovers.

Baltimore was out quickly as they capitalized on a Domonique Foxworth interception that led to a scoring drive capped by a 7 yd scamper by Willis McGahee to take the lead 7-0 with 10:15 in the first quarter.

The Ravens continued to move the ball but had to settle for two Steve Hauschka field goals, one for 33 and the other from 36 yards to push the lead to 13-0.

But before they broke for the locker room Joe Flacco who ended with a career high 372 yards led one final drive that saw McGahee hit pay dirt one last time as he walked into the endzone untouched after a shotgun draw play. This put the Ravens up 20-0.

Things didn’t get much better after the Browns decided to bench starting quarterback Brady Quinn (6-8, 34, 1 int) in favor of former Raven Derek Anderson.

Anderson looked downfield but often connected with purple jerseys as he threw three interceptions which led to more Baltimore scoring. Ray Rice ran for a 9 yard score and the final nail in the coffin was a Joe Flacco 72 yard bomb to Derek Mason that put things away early in the fourth.

Next week, the Ravens travel to New England for yet another stern test on the road. The team should get a better idea of where they stand among the AFC elite after week four.

POINTS TO PONDER

-Are the Browns that bad? Yes, they are and with the Lions whipping our good friends the Redskins they may have just taken the mantle of the NFL’s worst team. The quarterback situation is still unsettled with Anderson coming in and pouring gasoline on the fire but they have worse problems than that. Their defense was atrocious and didn’t offer much resistance all day long. These guys will struggle to win two games this season.

-Are the Ravens that good? One trademark of Harbaugh’s teams has been that they beat the teams they are supposed to. They are now 7-0 against teams with losing records. They don’t just win those games they win them in blowouts. That shows preparation and focus.

Next week is a bigger test traveling to New England and if the offense can continue to have the same success they have had in the first three games then this team will be a tough out all year. I’m not totally sold on our Ravens being an elite squad yet but a win next week would make a strong case for it.

-Did the defense rebound? They did exactly what they needed to do. They slammed an offense that hasn’t scored a meaningful touchdown in nine games dating back to last season. They frustrated whatever quarterback was under center and turned them over (4 interceptions, 2 sacks) and only gave up 186 total yards. This was a good game to get some confidence back because they get a heavy dose of Tom Brady in New England next week.

-Who was the offensive player of the game? Joe Flacco hit for a career day in terms of yardage and Willis McGahee notched two more touchdowns. But, the honor goes to Derrick Mason. Mason hit a milestone catching his 800th career reception to go along with a nifty move for a 72 yd. touchdown strike to seal the win.

-Who was the defensive player of the game? You have to feel good about the secondary’s efforts today. But, I really like Brendan Ayanbadejo. He’s proving to be more than just a special teams player. He had several key stops and an interception today.


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