Work in Sports
After watching former Browns owner Art Modell move their storied franchise to Baltimore more than three years ago, Cleveland fans waited for their moment of revenge. But they will have to wait until next year as the Ravens defense held the Browns to just 10 first downs and 159 yards of offense.
"This game meant a lot to the Cleveland fans and would have probably made their season," said Baltimore defensive end Rob Burnett, who spent six seasons with Cleveland prior to their move to Baltimore. "As far as the fans are concerned they probably wanted to beat us, then everything else would have been righted. The 'Dawg Pound' was a little more subdued then when I played here."
"It was a good win for us and I don't get any extra satisfaction out of it," said Baltimore reserve safety Bennie Thompson, another former Brown. "It is just another game that we won. The fans surprised me. I had a lot of people saying good things to me, then I had a couple of knuckleheads say a few crazy things."
Rhett carried just 17 times in recording his fourth 100-yard game of the season and Banks completed 14-of-25 passes for 129 yards.
"We came out and had a good week of practice and the receivers were confident," Banks said. "They had some success and the rest was history. The biggest thing is to have consistency and confidence."
"We had a great week of practice and a great week of preparation," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "The players were not going to get caught up in the rhetoric and everything that was going on. It was great to come in and play that type of game."
Cleveland quarterback Tim Couch was awful, completing just nine of 21 passes for 57 yards. He threw one interception and was sacked four times. The Browns converted just 3-of-17 third down opportunities.
"I thought the game really broke down to the fact that we did not make any plays on offense, defense or special teams," Browns coach Chris Palmer said.
Baltimore (3-5) took the first meeting of the season, 17-10 on September 26.
Despite posting their first victory last week, the Browns continued to struggle offensively, scoring less than 10 points for the sixth time in eight games.
"It was very disappointing after winning last week," Couch said.
"We wanted to put on a good show today against Baltimore but just were unable to. We just have to go back to work, you can't sit around and feel sorry for yourself."
Cleveland fans had their bubble burst quickly as the Ravens took the opening kickoff and scored. It marked the first time this season that Baltimore had done that. Banks was 5-for-5 for 48 yards on the drive, which was capped by an 11-yard burst up the middle by Rhett.
The Browns actually drew within 7-3 with 18 seconds left in the opening quarter when Baltimore's Jermaine Lewis fumbled a punt at his 17 and linebacker James Williams recovered. Couch converted a 4th-and-1 opportunity on the drive but a pair of incompletions led to a 25-yard field goal by Phil Dawson.
Baltimore exteneded its lead to 14-3 early in the second quarter. Couch threw an interception into the Baltimore end zone and Banks needed 10 plays to move the Ravens 80 yards. After finding Justin Armour with a clutch third-down completion, Banks hit Ismail with a 28-yard scoring strike.
Stover, one of the holdovers who played here with the Browns, pushed the lead to 17-3 with a 28-yard field goal on the final play from scrimmage in the first half.
Cleveland had a chance to draw closer but Couch threw an incompletion on 4th-and-3 from the Baltimore 37. Rhett ran for three yards and Banks broke up the middle for eight before Rhett scampered 52 yards for his second touchdown of the game. He entered play today with just two rushing scores on 135 attempts.
Leading 24-3, the Ravens had everything working in their favor.
On 4th-and-11 they opted to punt the ball away from the Browns 26. They were whistled for delay of game and decided to instead try a field goal, which Stover made.
Longtime Cleveland nemesis Rod Woodson pushed the Baltimore advantage to 34-3 with 6:59 left in the contest by returning an errant Ty Detmer pass 66 yards for a score. Woodson, who spent 10 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, has 49 career interceptions, returning eight for touchdowns. Only Ken Houston, with nine, has more all-time.
"I always loved to play in Cleveland," Woodson said. "I always used to play in the 'Dawg Pound' with Pittsburgh. They are going to have some great games here in the future, especially when the guys get a little older."
After a five-yard scoring toss from Detmer to Terry Kirby cut the Cleveland deficit to 34-9, the Ravens recovered an onside kick and backup quarterback Stoney Case rambled 20 yards for the final touchdown.