The Ravens’ first two possessions were so good that they stood up well into the second half.
The running game was potent, the passing game capitalized on the room created by Ray Rice and the defense held the Browns to three field goals in their first three trips to the red zone.
But with 2:39 remaining in the third quarter, Cleveland cut the Ravens’ lead to 14-12 on Phil Dawson’s fourth field goal of the game. The 33-yard kick made it 22 converted field goals in a row for Dawson, and all of a sudden, a fifth boot for three would give the Browns the lead.
The teams now head into the fourth separated by the same score.
Baltimore appeared well on its way to a convincing victory and a 6-2 record, but this one’s all of a sudden a dogfight ... or would it be dawg fight? Forgive me.
The Browns have made the adjustments while the Ravens have appeared to run with the same old. Cleveland has stalled Rice since the first quarter and Joe Flacco appears to have little rhythm. Flacco has made one of his last seven after starting 10-for-10.
If not for Cary Williams’ fourth interception of the season, Cleveland might have the lead by now. Those two early touchdowns are starting to seem like a distant memory with the momentum squarely on the Browns’ side.
Update: With Dawson’s fifth field goal in as many tries this afternoon, the Browns have taken their first lead, 15-14 with 8:48 to go in the contest.
Cleveland has scored the game’s last 15 points, and the Ravens can’t get anything going offensively with five straight three-and-outs and just four yards in the second half. Baltimore dodged a big bullet two plays before Dawson’s 41-yard kick, as an 18-yard touchdown pass to Josh Gordon was nullified by an illegal formation call.
So yet again, this one’s in line for a fascinating finish.
Update II: Right after Cleveland took its first lead, the Ravens bounced right back for their first effective drive since the first quarter.
They moved 81 yards in nine plays and 4:22 to reclaim the lead on Flacco’s 19-yard touchdown pass to Torrey Smith. Moments later, Flacco executed a perfect fake to find Anquan Boldin alone in the back right of the end zone for a two-point conversion and a 22-15 lead with 4:26 to go.
The extra points were just as important as the touchdown, as the Browns will need to cross the goal line just to force overtime. Impressive response.
Update III: Now it looks like the Ravens are about to pull this one out.
Justin Tucker’s 43-yard field goal has Baltimore ahead 25-15 approaching the two-minute warning. And an Ed Reed interception has the ball back in the Ravens’ hands.
Seems 6-2 is about to become reality.
Update IV: And it’s official. The Ravens are 6-2 with a 25-15 win over the Browns.