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Monday Morning Quarterback: Third and 16


Every season has a defining moment, and what happened Sunday may well define the 2008 Ravens. With 6:07 left in the third quarter, the boys from Baltimore were up against it.

Jason Wright had just scored to make it 27-13, Browns. Cleveland was on a 27-3 run, the Dawg Pound was barking, and it looked like the Ravens were toast.

In the past, it's been safe to say that the Ravens' offense isn't built to play catch-up football; in fact, I think I said it last week. This was a classic comeback, down 14 on the road to a division rival whose fans hate the color purple and all those who wear it.

You could find a dozen "plays of the game" in this comeback. My choice, a 20-yard pass from Joe Flacco to Derrick Mason. The pass converted a THIRD-AND-16. The huge pass play came in the Ravens' first series after the Browns went up 14 points.

The Ravens had the ball on their 15-yard line, instead of having to punt near their goal line, Flacco and Mason converted the biggest first down of the first half of the season.

A punt would have given the Browns great field position and likely a 17- or 21-point lead. Instead, the pass to Mason triggered an 11-play, 79-yard drive that was capped with a Le'Ron McClain TD.

It was the beginning of the end for the Browns; the Ravens would run off 24 unanswered points and go on to sweep the season series with a 37-27 win.

Halfway through John Harbaugh's first season, his Ravens have as many wins as they had all of last season. The Ravens are a legit playoff contender, and if they make it to the second season, remember that third-and-16 Flacco-to-Mason pass in Cleveland.

Ray Rice, Terrell Suggs, and Mark Clayton should all take a bow, but my game ball goes to a third-and-16 play that may define a season.


  • It doesn't happen often, a Ravens' back and receiver with 100 yards in the same game. Ray Rice (21-154) and Derrick Mason (9-136-1) both hit the century mark Sunday. Since the 2004 season, it has only happened 4 times in 73 games, the last 3 times against the Browns.
  • I think Braylon Edwards is a good receiver with BAD hands.
  • If I could have my pick of special team players, I may pass on Devin Hester for Josh Cribbs. He covers kicks almost as well as he returns them. You usually don't win games when a guy has 278 return yards.
  • I wonder if Willis McGahee has heard the Wally Pipp story.
  • I think Derrick Mason and Terrell Suggs are Ravens first-half MVP's.
  • It's Ole Automatic. After an early season hiccup, Matt Stover has converted 8 of his last 9 fields and is 5-5 in the last 3 games. No. 3 has hit 37 straight 3s from inside 40 yards.

Long-time and respected broadcast journalist Scott Garceau has covered Baltimore sports, including all of its pro football teams, for the last 30 years. Scott, who was the radio voice of Ravens football for the team's first 10 seasons (1996-2005), is a seven-time Maryland Sportscaster of the Year. Garceau is also honored as Baltimore's Pro Football Hall of Fame selector/voter. A native of the Upper Peninsula in Michigan, where he is a member of the area Hall of Fame, Scott has covered the NFL since 1971.

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