Ravens Shutout Browns
Cleveland, OH - For 30 minutes, the Baltimore Ravens were inefficient, unproductive and disorganized.
In 17 seconds, they changed all that.
Ray Rice scored on a 13-yard run and safety Dawan Landry returned an interception of Brady Quinn 48 yards for a touchdown on Cleveland's next play as the Ravens overcame a horrendous start for a 16-0 win over the hapless Browns on Monday night.
The Ravens (5-4) didn't score in the opening half, when they used up their three timeouts in the first 6:15, committed silly penalties, converted just one third down and actually made the Browns (1-8) look respectable.
But on Baltimore's first possession of the second half, quarterback Joe Flacco connected on a 41-yard pass to Derrick Mason, who spun out of cornerback Brandon McDonald's tackle and raced down the sideline to the Cleveland 13. Rice took it in from there to make it 7-0.
On the next snap, Quinn, making his first start since being pulled 10 quarters into the season by Cleveland coach Eric Mangini, threw high and wide to tight end Robert Royal and the ball bounced to Landry, who scampered in untouched to make it 13-0.
The Ravens missed the extra point, but that hardly mattered against a Cleveland offense that has scored only five offensive TDs in its past 15 games and didn't cross the Baltimore 45-yard line.
It was Baltimore's first shutout since Nov. 26, 2006, and it came at the perfect time for the Ravens, who had dropped four of five and were in danger of falling too far behind Cincinnati and Pittsburgh in the AFC North.
Instead, they feasted on Quinn, who was sacked three times, hurried countless more and finished just 13 of 31 for 99 yards and two picks. Mangini switched to the former first-round pick after Derek Anderson went 1-4 and posted the NFL's lowest quarterback rating since replacing Quinn at halftime of a 34-3 loss to the Ravens on Sept. 27.
But Peyton Manning under center couldn't help this bunch of Browns, who managed just 74 yards after halftime.
Cleveland had the ball 13 times. The Browns punted nine, threw two interceptions and ran out the clock to end the league's first scoreless opening half this season. The game ended with Quinn throwing short to Cribbs, who was drilled by Ravens nose tackle Brandon McKinney as the clock expired.
Cribbs laid motionless in the middle of the field for several minutes before he was taken off the field on a cart.
A planned protest by Cleveland fans to stay out of their seats for the opening kickoff never materialized. However, the stadium was nearly empty early in the fourth quarter, a symbol of disgust that may resonate with owner Randy Lerner as he evaluates Mangini's first season in Cleveland.
Following Landry's TD, the Ravens picked off Quinn again as cornerback Chris Carr hauled in a ball that went off wide receiver Mike Furrey's hands. On the return, Quinn took out Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs with a questionable chop block that drew a 15-yard penalty and may lead to a fine.
Suggs limped to the locker room for more tests on what the team said was a sprained knee.
During pregame warmups, Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis reached down, picked up a hunk of torn-up turf and shoved it into his mouth. As he munched on the grass, Lewis told a nearby Baltimore official, ``That's mine.'' If the Ravens thought they could intimidate the Browns, they were mistaken.
Cleveland's defense, which had two weeks to game plan for Baltimore, showed Flacco some new looks and held the Ravens scoreless in the first half.
For the Browns, this was progress.
For the Ravens, this was embarrassing.
Whatever coach Jim Harbaugh said at halftime worked.
Baltimore was in self-destructive mode from the outset.
Harbaugh lost an instant-replay challenge on the first play from scrimmage, costing him a timeout. Baltimore then had to burn its other two timeouts before seven minutes had expired as the Ravens' offense appeared disorganized and was late coming out of the huddle.
Despite the sloppiness, the Ravens drove to the Cleveland 18, but Steve Hauschka was wide left with a 36-yard field goal attempt. He later atoned with a 44-yarder to make it 16-0.
Posted: 11/17/09 12:20AM ET