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Instant Recap: Browns "Battle" Back, Still Fall 20-14

Despite being down 20-0 early in the second half, the Cleveland Browns "battled back" and were in position to take a potential lead against the Baltimore Ravens. It wasn't meant to be though, as Cleveland failed on a fourth-down conversion. When they tried to get the ball back one more time, the Ravens got defensive tackle Phil Taylor to jump into the neutral zone even though they probably were not going to run a play. Ouch.

That wasn't the first error the Browns made in the game. Two major errors in the first half cost them dearly. On the team's opening possession, Seneca Wallace was picked off on a 3rd-and-1 after a good start to the drive. To close out the second half, the Browns had the very definition of "poor clock management" on display. A run play with no timeouts was executed as time was winding down, so the Browns went into the half without anything on the board.

Cleveland battled back at the end of the third quarter with an 84-yard punt return by Joshua Cribbs. I don't know how Cribbs did it, because it almost looked like he hobbled his whole way to the end zone. Nonetheless, it served as somewhat of a boost to the team. Mid-way through the fourth quarter, the Browns drove the ball 80 yards for a touchdown pass to Evan Moore after an interception by Sheldon Brown.

The Browns still got the ball back for one more chance to score, but the key miscue was an short third-down throw by Wallace to Peyton Hillis on a blitz by the Ravens. If Wallace steps into that throw, Hillis easily gets the first down and the drive continues. The fourth down play to Hillis was, of course, thrown too quickly and only at the line of scrimmage.

Even though this game looked ugly with a 20-0 start for Baltimore, I think there were some improvements for Cleveland. They held Ray Rice to just 83 yards rushing, even though he had a big reception for a touchdown. In the running game, Hillis showed exactly why I want him to remain the team's featured back next season. He punished Baltimore's defense with 112 yards rushing on 24 carries; it's rare that someone goes over the century mark against Baltimore. We also got to see some youngsters like Carlton Mitchell and Jordan Cameron in action, albeit with limited production.

Cleveland faces the Steelers at home next week for the season finale. Without Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers shut out the Rams 27-0 today.