Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE
There is only one 0-4 team in the NFL, and that would be the Cleveland Browns.
Despite putting up a valiant effort in several of their games this season, especially Thursday night's comeback attempt against the Baltimore Ravens, the Browns can't always be "on the verge of winning" -- they need to pull out some of these victories. Things did not start well for Cleveland when Joshua Cribbs was knocked out after taking a vicious hit on a punt return half-way through the first quarter. Cribbs lost the ball upon contact and the Ravens recovered the fumble.
Cleveland's offense continued scuffling and kept starting drives backed up in their own territory. At the start of the second quarter, Flacco finally started clicking with his receivers, connecting on passes of 39 and 34 yards, before ending the drive with a 19-yard strike to WR Torrey Smith, putting the Ravens up 6-0 (they botched the extra point).
On their next drive, the Ravens added a 45-yard field goal by Justin Tucker to make it a 9-0 lead. Two drives later, the Browns' offense finally started moving the ball to close out the second quarter. After starting at their own 6 yard line, Weeden and company drove the ball 94 yards for a touchdown. The drive was capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run by RB Trent Richardson, making it a 9-7 Ravens lead.
The Ravens answered on their first drive of the third quarter with a long drive of their own. They capped off an 89-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run by Flacco, giving Baltimore a 16-7 advantage. Thanks to Phil Dawson, the Browns kept chipping away at the Ravens. On their next drive, Dawson drilled a 51-yard field goal to make it 16-10 Ravens. After the Ravens missed a 47-yard field goal on their next drive, Weeden had the Browns moving well again. Unfortunately, on a 3rd-and-5 a little bit past midfield, CB Cary Williams jumped in front of Weeden's pass for Travis Benjamin and took it to the house for a 63-yard touchdown return.
That gave the Ravens a 23-10 lead just as the third quarter was coming to a close. The Browns refused to give up, though. Cleveland got the ball into field goal range on their next possession, and Dawson connected on a 50-yard attempt to make it 23-13. A few defensive stops later, Benjamin set the Browns up with good field position after a 40-yard punt return. WR Greg Little, who was plagued by several crucial drops in the game, dropped a touchdown in the end zone that could've made it a three-point game. Instead, the Browns had to settle for a 52-yard field goal, which Dawson made look easy again. It was a one-possession game again at 23-16 Ravens.
Cleveland's defense needed one more stop. They had to use all their timeouts and only gave the offense a little over a minute to work with, but they still gave the offense another opportunity. They almost came through. Starting at their own 10 yard line, Weeden had three quick passes of 13, 27, and 17 yards to get the ball to the Ravens' 33 yard line with 23 seconds to play. Weeden's attempts to the end zone came up short, including his fourth down heave to TE Jordan Cameron...but WAIT! A flag? Ravens DL Paul Kruger was called for unsportsmanlike conduct on the play, and Browns LT Joe Thomas sold the flop.
The Browns had a first down with 2 seconds left on the clock. The ball was just 18 yards away from the end zone. Unfortunately, Weeden's pass sailed way out of the end zone as he targeted Little. The Ravens held on, improving to 3-1 on the year. The Browns now have ten days off before they take on the New York Giants. That should be fun, eh?