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Game Recap: Browns 24, Ravens 18

The Ravens aren't familiar with losing to the Browns. They entered Sunday with an NFL-leading 11-game winning streak.

But the way in which Baltimore lost its fifth game this year was quite familiar. Coming out of the bye, not much changed.

The Ravens got off to a slow start. They didn't run the ball well. They allowed too many sacks. They committed turnovers. The defense didn't get off the field in the clutch. They lost another close game.

The reigning Super Bowl champions fell to the Browns, 24-18, at FirstEnergy Stadium, dropping to 3-5 on the season. The Ravens have been defeated in four of their last five games and three straight.

"It's obviously frustrating," quarterback Joe Flacco said. "Right now, we're just not good enough."

It's the Ravens' first loss to the Browns since 2007. Cleveland (4-5) is now ahead of Baltimore in the standings, and the Ravens are falling further away from reaching the playoffs for the sixth straight season.

"The math says it's going to be a challenge," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "We've got our work cut out for us."

The trouble is that the Ravens have been working on a variety of issues, including over the bye, and they have yet to be corrected.

Flacco led the team in rushing with three carries for 25 yards. That's never a good sign for the running game, which eked out just 55 yards on the night and averaged 2.6 yards per carry.

He was sacked five times and hit eight as the Browns dialed up their blitzes and came from all angles. Sacks on third downs knocked the Ravens out of field-goal range on one drive and ended their next-to-last possession as they were driving for a game-tying field goal.

Flacco was off for much of the first half. He got better in the second and finished with 24 completions on 41 attempts for 250 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

Despite playing from behind for the entire game, the Ravens once again looked like they had a chance for a comeback when wide receiver Marlon Brown scored his second touchdown of the game and scored on a two-point conversion, bringing the Ravens to only a field goal behind with 12 minutes, nine seconds remaining.

But the Ravens stalled on their next offensive possession and the defense surrendered a drive that ate six minutes, 27 seconds off the clock and included an impressive scampering fourth-down conversion by Browns quarterback Jason Campbell, who had one of the best games of his career with 262 passing yards and three touchdowns.

Browns kicker and former Raven Billy Cundiff kicked a 22-yard field goal with 17 seconds left that essentially sealed the game.

The defense was unable to get off the field on late-game drives in losses to Green Bay, Pittsburgh and now Cleveland.

"It's extremely frustrating," defensive tackle Art Jones said. "You want to make that play and get that stop. When they get it, it hurts, it burns."

The Ravens got off to another slow start.

They wasted excellent starting field position at the beginning and the Browns made them pay. Cleveland marched 80 yards down the field on its second drive and scored on a fourth-down pass from the 1-yard line to wide receiver Davone Bess.

Baltimore went back down the field thanks to big catches by wide receivers Tandon Doss and Deonte Thompson and cut into the Browns' lead with a 51-yard field goal by Justin Tucker, making it 7-3.

The two AFC North rivals were chippy from the start. Haloti Ngata was flagged 15 yards for unnecessary roughness for landing on Campbell, sending him temporarily out of the game with a rib injury. Then Browns wide receiver Greg Little was flagged for ripping James Ihedigbo's helmet off and throwing it.

But Campbell returned and moved the Browns down the field for another touchdown, again to Bess from 20 yards out. Bess juked cornerback Lardarius Webb on the play, giving the Browns a 14-3 lead with about 10 minutes left in the first half.

The Ravens defense got a turnover when outside linebacker Pernell McPhee caused a fumble by former Ravens running back Willis McGahee. But set up near midfield, the offense did nothing with it. Flacco had an errant throw and crouched to the ground near the Browns sideline in frustration.

Flacco's frustrations continued on the next drive. Looking to hit Doss deep, Flacco floated a bomb down the field, but it hung and turned into a jump ball intercepted by Browns cornerback Joe Haden.

At that point, Flacco was 5-of-15 for 51 yards and an interception, a 16.2 quarterback rating.

"It was a terrible ball," Flacco said. "It didn't come out of my hand right or something. It was a really bad ball. I threw it up in the air and it got caught up there and didn't do anything."

Flacco finally got some momentum in the final minute of the first half. He completed a 46-yard bomb to Torrey Smith, who was wide open down the middle. Then Brown stretched for a 19-yard score to pull the Ravens to just four points down, 14-10, at halftime.

The Ravens shot themselves in the foot at the start of the second half.

They drove down the field, but were knocked out of field-goal range when Flacco was sacked for a fourth time. Then Doss made a critical error, fumbling a fair catch deep in Ravens territory.

The Browns recovered at the Ravens 11 and scored two plays later on a 6-yard pass to backup tight end Gary Barnidge. Cleveland led, 21-10, with 5:06 left in the third quarter.

"Me dropping that ball changed the game," Doss said. "You can't let that happen."

The Ravens weren't done, however.

The defense got a big stop and the Ravens got great starting field position thanks to a 36-yard punt return by Doss, providing some atonement for his earlier fumble.

Brown shined again. He broke up-field for a 14-yard gain, then scored his second touchdown on a 7-yard pass. Brown also scored a two-point conversion, pulling the Ravens to three points down, 21-18, with 12:09 remaining. The rookie free agent wide receiver has a team-high five touchdowns this year. Three are against the Browns.

The Ravens got to near midfield on their next drive, but Flacco was once again sacked (fifth time) on third down, forcing a punt. Sam Koch shanked it, giving the Browns better field position at the 29.

The Browns responded with a 15-play drive. They converted on a fourth-and-1 from Baltimore's 43-yard line when Campbell rolled to his right and found Bess back across his body for a sliding 3-yard catch. Time-eating runs by McGahee and a 17-yard pass to running back Chris Ogbonnaya essentially ended the game.

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