Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens prove too much for Cleveland Browns

CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Browns started fast, but the Baltimore Ravens finished strong and scored 25 unanswered points on their way to a 25-20 win in an AFC North Division matchup at FirstEnergy Stadium Sunday afternoon.

Quarterback Joe Flacco’s 25-of-45 showing for 302 yards with two touchdowns and the combination of tight end Dennis Pitta and wide receiver Mike Wallace carried the comeback. Pitta turned nine receptions into 102 yards, and Wallace scored a pair of touchdowns in the come-from-behind victory.

The Browns totaled just 126 yards and seven first downs in the second half.

“I couldn’t be more proud,” Flacco said. “It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t great. Do you want to play that kind of game in September? Not necessarily, but every, single game in January and come February, where we hope to be, is going to be like that. There’s going to be tough situations.

“Over the years, these games have just taken us to that next level and really made us mentally tough, so when we get into those games, we don’t blink. We’ve already been through it four, five, six times in September, October and November. That’s why we can be so good late in the year. I think this was one of those games that helps some of our young guys out with confidence and toughness, to help you win late in the year.”

Down by 20 points after Josh McCown’s second touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Corey Coleman, the Ravens blocked the ensuing extra point try and first-year cornerback Tavon Young returned 63 yards for a safety.

After struggling through the first quarter, the Ravens found their way into the end zone on a pass from Flacco to Wallace with 1:15 to play in the first half.

Facing a second-and-goal from the seven-yard line, Flacco took the snap and found Wallace with inside position on a slant route from the right side of the formation for the touchdown, a scoring play that capped off a six-play, 75-yard drive and cut the Browns’ lead to 20-9 late in the first half.

As the first-half clock expired, kicker Justin Tucker buried a 52-yard field goal that cut the deficit down to 20-12 at the halftime break.

The Ravens took a 22-20 lead when Tucker buried a 49-yard field goal with 11:19 to play in the fourth quarter. Tucker capped off the five-play, 27-yard go-ahead drive that was set up by a missed 52-yard field goal from Browns kicker Patrick Murray on the previous possession.

The Ravens extended their lead over the Browns to five points, 25-20, on a 41-yard field goal from Tucker with 2:53 to play in the fourth quarter.

“The first key is that blocked extra point,” Flacco said. “The fact that you can get two points on it now, that forced them to have to get into the end zone at the end. There was room out there to make plays, get the ball downfield, get the ball in our guys’ hands and score some points.”


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