The Browns Sunday had a lead in the fourth quarter, but gave up one drive too many to the Ravens, allowing them to rally and take home a 25-15 win.
The loss drops the Browns to 2-7, as they now enter the bye.
The Browns made five trips inside the Ravens 20, and all five times and came away with field goals by Phil Dawson, once again showing if they could have traded a few for a touchdown or two, they would have won with ease.
“We had some momentum,” Browns QB Brandon Weeden said. “Guys were excited. Guys are still optimistic, but we have a hard time putting two back-to-back together and I don’t know what the answer is. We’ve got to play better.”
Weeden, like the whole team, got off to a rough start, but rallied to throw for 176 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions for a 44.4 rating.
The Browns defense was the story after an awful first quarter in which they looked up and saw the Ravens lead it 14-0 after two Ravens rushing touchdowns.
Cleveland started to rally, and found themselves down 14-9 at the half, and then after two more field goals, led it 15-14 with 8:48 to play.
Joe Flacco and the Ravens rallied, getting their 1st first down of the half on a big pass play to Anquan Boldin, and then marching down the field and scoring on a Flacco to Torry Smith 19-yard TD.
After the score, the Ravens defense stuffed the Browns, as they forced the Browns into a 4th-and-2 on their ensuing touch. Choosing not to punt, Weeden’s pass intended for Greg Little fell incomplete and the Browns turned it over on downs deep in their own territory.
The Ravens only advanced four yards, but Justin Tucker kicked a 43-yard field goal through the uprights to secure the victory for Baltimore.
Weeden was picked off by Ed Reed on the Browns’ final offensive drive and the Ravens ran out the remaining clock.
The loss had some bright spots, as Trent Richardson went for 105 yards on 25 carries.
The Ravens offense looked phenomenal early, scoring touchdowns on their first two possessions of the game, but slowed drastically afterward.
“Hey, I wish we would go out there and continue to play like we were in the first quarter and go up and down the field the whole game,” said Flacco. “Sometimes it doesn’t work out that way and you have to be ready to continue to play the whole game, play the full 60 minutes and take whatever is thrown your way and make the best of it.”
On their first touch, Flacco completed all four of his passes, connecting three times with Anquan Boldin, who made a 16-yard catch on the ninth play of the drive to put Baltimore on the Cleveland 8. On the next play, Rice took a handoff around the left side and stiff armed a defender to reach the end zone for an 8-yard score.
It was more of the same on the Ravens’ next possession. Smith made a leaping catch down the sideline for 26 yards to move the Ravens inside the Browns’ 20- yard line.
From there, Baltimore converted twice on third and short, the second on a toss to Pierce, who bounced to the outside and tight-roped the sideline to reach the end zone for a 12-yard score, capping a march that lasted nearly seven minutes. The touchdown was the first of Pierce’s career and put Baltimore on top 14-0.
Baltimore went into the tank after that, as the Browns offense caught enough spark to get five field goals, but as they learned Sunday – you have to score touchdowns in the NFL.
Sadly, they learned that lesson the hard way.