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Ravens Defense Bends But Doesn’t Break

Posted Nov 4, 2012

Terrell Suggs said the defense wouldn’t allow a touchdown. Cleveland ended with five FGs.

At one point during Sunday’s game, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs came to the sideline to motivate the Ravens offense.

The offense staked the Ravens to an early 14-point lead, but fell flat for two-and-a-half quarters. It was the defense holding Cleveland to five-straight field goals that kept the Ravens in the game.

“We’ll hold them from scoring touchdowns,” Suggs told the offense, as relayed by running back Ray Rice. “You guys go ahead and put a drive together and let’s win this game.”

That’s exactly what happened in the fourth quarter, sealing a 25-15 win.

Browns running back Trent Richardson broke the 100-yard mark, meaning the Ravens didn’t follow through on priority No. 1 of holding the rookie in check.

Cleveland punted just twice after two straight three-and-outs to open the game. They marched into field-goal range five times.

But the Browns only mustered 15 points, and had to settle for Phil Dawson field goals time-after-time. Dawson connected from 32, 28, 29, 33 and 41 yards, respectively.

It was similar to the Week 4 game against Cleveland. The Ravens allowed just one touchdown and three field goals in a 23-16 win.

"That’s a part of the game we take a lot of pride in, if they do get into the red zone. And they did today," safety Ed Reed said.

“We knew what it was going to come down to. We knew what we were getting. It was just a matter of not letting them in the end zone.”

In five visits to the red zone (inside the 20-yard line), the Browns registered just seven yards.

The Ravens did a good job against Richardson deep in their own zone. He had four rushes for 3 yards in the red zone. Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden was 3-for-6 for eight yards in the red zone, as Baltimore was able to get better pressure on him as well.

The Browns finally punctured the end zone in the fourth quarter, but a touchdown pass to Josh Gordon was nullified because of an illegal formation penalty. Browns wide receiver Travis Benjamin was on the line of scrimmage when he shouldn’t have been.

“We got a big penalty call on that one where they did score, but we knew we had to stay focused and not let them in the end zone,” Reed said.

“We know where we’re at on the football field. Before they even get to the red zone, our job’s to keep them out of the end zone. We made plays down there and did what we were supposed to do.”

Cornerback Cary Williams, who logged his second interception against the Browns this season, said the team did a better job of communicating with their backs against the wall.

“We just bend but we didn’t break,” he said. “We continue to play within the confines of the defense. We play together, we stay together.”

Head Coach John Harbaugh also shared the credit with Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees.

“Sometimes they got in field-goal range – most of the time they got in field-goal range – and then we were able to hold them to the field goal,” Harbaugh said. “I have to give Dean Pees a lot of credit. I thought our defensive coaches did a great job.”

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