Third quarter gives Ravens momentum (Ravens win 23-16)

The third quarter began with the Ravens holding a two-point lead.

Far from comfortable.

It’ll end with the Ravens holding a 13-point lead.

Ok, not lounging in a recliner, but at least there’s room to breathe.

The Ravens lead the Browns 23-10 heading the fourth quarter, earning touchdowns from both the offense and defense. Joe Flacco has been terrific this quarter. He’s up to 305 yards and rushed for a touchdown, while cornerback Cary Williams took an interception 63 yards for a score to put Baltimore 15 minutes away from its second win against an AFC North opponent.

Flacco is now 25-of-40 with two touchdowns and the early interception. He’s showing great rhythm this half and has made some tight throws to Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith. Boldin has seven catches for 90 yards, while Smith has hauled in six balls for 97 yards and a score.

The defense, meanwhile, is keeping Brandon Weeden guessing, though running back Trent Richardson is having a nice game. He’s got 48 yards on 13 carries to go along with a touchdown and has added a trio of catches, too.

The only blemish for the Ravens in the second half has been a missed field goal by Justin Tucker. He pulled a 47-yard field goal to the right for his first miss of the season.

Cut him.

Update: A pair of field goals from Phil Dawson have kept the Browns within striking distance. They trail 23-16 with 4:33 left in the game.

Now is the classic dilemma of whether to play it safe with rushing attempts to kill the clock, or continue to play as if it was the first quarter. The Ravens should play the latter. What will they actually do?

Update II: That’s a final. The Ravens held off the Browns on the final drive to earn a 23-16 win. With the win the Ravens move to 3-1, while the Browns fall to 0-4.