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Game day blog: Browns at Ravens (Week 16)

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 24, 2011

Final: Ravens 20, Browns 14 (game story; notebook; box score)

Game action

End 1Q: Ravens 10, Browns 0 -- The Browns marched from their own 26-yard line to the Ravens’ 30 during the first drive of the game. On third-and-1, Browns quarterback Seneca Wallace felt pressure and threw a pass toward wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi. But Ravens cornerback Ladarius Webb cut in front of Massaquoi, intercepted Wallace’s pass and returned it 4 yards to the Ravens’ 36 with 10:13 left in the first quarter. Then on the Ravens’ first offensive play from scrimmage, Browns free safety Mike Adams drew a 60-yard pass interference penalty while trying to defend quarterback Joe Flacco’s deep pass to rookie wide receiver Torrey Smith. Three plays later, Flacco connected with tight end Ed Dickson in the back of the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown pass that Browns middle linebacker D’Qwell Jackson failed to breakup in coverage. The Ravens extended their lead to 10-0 with 58 seconds left in the opening quarter. Kicker Shayne Graham capped an 11-play, 62-yard drive by making a 48-yard field goal.

End 2Q: Ravens 17, Browns 0 -- Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo used an outside rush to blow past Browns right tackle Tony Pashos and sack Wallace for a 7-yard loss. The sack on third down forced the Browns to punt early in the second quarter. The Ravens continued to punish the Browns during the ensuing drive. Flacco and running back Ray Rice put the finishing touches on a nine-play, 82-yard march with a 42-yard, catch-and-run touchdown. Jackson tried to cover Rice, but he was burned. Rice caught Flacco’s pass near the Ravens’ 23 and outran Jackson and strong safety Usama Young to the end zone, helping the Ravens capture a 17-0 lead with 8:57 left in the first half. The Browns got possession with 3:21 left in the second quarter. With the help of a 30-yard pass interference penalty on Ravens cornerback Chris Carr, the Browns marched to the Ravens’ 3. But the Browns lost track of their timeouts and failed to trim the Ravens’ 17-0 halftime lead as a result. They used their third and final timeout of the half with 57 seconds left. On second-and-goal from the Ravens’ 3, the Browns snapped the ball with 11 seconds left, and Wallace handed off to Hillis, who was stuffed for no gain. Time ran out.

End 3Q: Ravens 20, Browns 7 -- The Ravens built a 20-0 advantage when Shayne Graham made a 43-yard field goal with 5:50 left in the third quarter. Graham’s successful kick capped a seven-play, 33-yard drive. During the previous series, Ravens outside linebacker Paul Kruger beat right tackle Tony Pashos with an inside move and sacked Wallace on third-and-15. The Browns’ offense went three-and-out during each of their three possessions in the third quarter. The Browns, though, found a spark when Josh Cribbs returned a punt 84 yards for a touchdown, cutting the Ravens’ lead to 20-7 with 3:07 left in the third quarter. Cribbs, who has been bothered by a groin injury as of late, broke an attempted arm tackle from punter Sam Koch en route to the end zone. It was Cribbs’ third career punt return for a touchdown and the longest punt return of his career. It was the second punt return for a touchdown allowed by the Ravens this season.

End 4Q: Ravens 20, Browns 14 -- With 14:07 left in the fourth quarter, Browns cornerback Sheldon Brown intercepted Flacco’s pass intended for wide receiver Lee Evans in the end zone. The Browns used the momentum created by Brown’s pick and Josh Cribbs’ punt return for a touchdown late in the third quarter to orchestrate a 12-play, 80-yard touchdown drive and cut the Ravens’ lead to 20-14. Wallace rolled to his right and threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to tight end Evan Moore, who gained position against Ravens safety Bernard Pollard, with 8:22 left in the fourth quarter. On fourth-and-5 from the Browns’ 45-yard line, Browns quarterback Wallace completed a pass in the left flat to running back Peyton Hillis, who finished with 24 carries for 112 yards. But Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo met Hillis right away and pushed him out of bounds for no gain with 3:55 left. After the turnover on downs, Ravens running back Ray Rice had three consecutive rushes, but failed to gain a first down. On fourth-and-2 at the Browns’ 37-yard line, the Ravens used a hard count, and Browns rookie defensive tackle Phil Taylor jumped offside. The penalty gave the Ravens a first down and allowed them to run out the clock.

Pregame notes

Inactives: Browns -- WR Jordan Norwood (concussion), QB Colt McCoy (concussion), CB James Dockery, OL Steve Vallos DL Kiante Tripp, OL Oniel Cousins and WR Rod Windsor. Ravens -- K Billy Cundiff (left calf), WR LaQuan Williams, RB Anthony Allen, DB Danny Gorrer, WR Anquan Boldin (knee), DE Cory Redding (ankle) and OLB Sergio Kindle.

Lineup changes: Browns -- Seneca Wallace will start at quarterback in place of McCoy, who will miss his second consecutive game since taking a helmet-to-facemask hit from Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison; Usama Young will start at strong safety in place of T.J. Ward, who's on injured reserve. Ravens -- Shayne Graham will kick in place of Cundiff; Torrey Smith will start at wide receiver in place of Boldin; Arthur Jones will start at defensive end in place of Cory Redding.

Storylines -- 1. The Browns (4-10) hope to play the role of a spoiler today against the host Baltimore Ravens (10-4). The Ravens would be guaranteed the AFC North title if they win their final two regular-season games because they have defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers (10-4) twice this season and own the tiebreaker. The Browns, however, could disrupt the Ravens’ plans if they can pull off an upset today at M&T Bank Stadium. Both the Ravens and the Steelers have clinched playoff spots, but the team that is forced to settle for a wild-card berth will have a tougher road in the postseason. 2. The Browns are seeking redemption on at least a few fronts. They’re looking to avenge their 24-10 loss to the Ravens on Dec. 4. The defense is aiming to rebound after allowing 290 rushing yards, including 204 to running back Ray Rice, in its most recent meeting with the Ravens. And coach Pat Shurmur’s men are searching for their first win since Nov. 20. The Browns have lost four consecutive games and seven of their past eight. Meanwhile, the Ravens will probably be motivated coming off their 34-14 loss to the San Diego Chargers. 3. Quarterback Seneca Wallace will make his second consecutive start for the Browns today as Colt McCoy continues to recover from the concussion he suffered Dec. 8 against the Steelers. In his first start of the season Sunday, Wallace completed 18-of-31 passes for 226 yards and a touchdown without an interception. His passer rating was 91.6. Wallace, though, also lost a fumble on the Browns’ 5-yard line in the fourth quarter. 4. Although the Browns will face the Ravens for the second time this season, today will be their first meeting of the season with 12-time Pro Bowl linebacker Ray Lewis. He missed four consecutive games, including the Browns’ loss to the Ravens, with turf toe. Lewis, the heart and soul of the Ravens’ defense, returned to action Sunday. 5. Browns-Ravens connections: Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome played tight end for the Browns (1978-90) and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. ... Ravens senior personnel assistant George Kokinis spent part of the 2009 season as the Browns’ general manager. ... Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano was the Browns’ secondary coach (2001-04). ... Ravens assistant head coach/special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg was the Browns’ special teams coordinator (2001-06). ... Ravens defensive line coach Clarence Brooks held the same job with the Browns (1999). Northeast Ohio connections: Ravens wide receiver Lee Evans is a native of Sandusky who attended Bedford High School. ... Ravens safety Haruki Nakamura is a native of Elyria who went to St. Edward High School. ... Ravens linebackers coach Dean Pees was a head coach at Kent State University (1998-2003).

Preview stories via Ohio.com: 1. Nate Ulrich column: Finding a franchise quarterback tops the list of needs the Browns should address in the upcoming offseason. 2. Matchup of the week: The Browns' defense seeks redemption against Ravens running back Ray Rice. 3. Keys to the game. 4.Storylines. 5. Quote of the week. 6. Numbers to watch. 7. Predictions. 8. Injury report.

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