The streak is over -- the Cleveland Browns have finally defeated Joe Flacco.
The last time the Browns beat the Ravens came six years ago when Phil Dawson's "double doink" at the end of regulation paved the way for a 33-30 win in overtime. Since then, Cleveland fans have suffered through the misery of Flacco compiling an 11-0 record against the Browns. Now, he's 11-1, but more importantly, Cleveland is 4-5 and ahead of Baltimore in the division after winning 24-18 Sunday afternoon.
Things couldn't have unfolded better in terms of the AFC North race this week. The Bengals lost on Thursday to the Dolphins, and at 6-4, they are currently 1.5 games ahead of Cleveland. If they lose to Baltimore next week while Cleveland is on the bye, then a win by the Browns in Week 11 against Cincinnati would put them in first place in the division. How about that?
Anyway, let's get to a few key points about the game:
- We suffered a brief scare when QB Jason Campbell had to leave the game (and QB Brandon Weeden entered), but Campbell returned on the next series. It was another excellent performance by Campbell, who threw for three touchdowns and twice helped extend and convert 4th-and-1 plays.
- No one needed redemption more than WR Davone Bess, but boy did he deliver. Bess had 3 catches for 24 yards, but all of those catches signified "redemption" for all of last week's miscues. The first catch was a 4th-and-goal touchdown grab between two defenders from the one yard line. The second catch was a 20-yard, ankle-breaking touchdown grab. The third catch was a 4th-and-1 reception in the fourth quarter with the Browns only up by a field goal.
- The defense played better than the two touchdowns they allowed to WR Marlon Brown. This game was dominated by the Browns defensively; they sacked Flacco 5 times and held the Ravens' running backs to just 28 yards on 17 carries.
- The Browns finally caught a break in a game -- Ravens punt returner WR Tandon Doss muffed a punt in the third quarter. Then, numerous played combined for clutch plays on offense. None of that even mentions the big day that WR Greg Little had -- 7 catches for 122 yards.