The Ravens had won 11 straight games against Cleveland and had never been under .500 at the midpoint of a season during coach John Harbaugh’s tenure.
Both stats were turned upside down Sunday by Baltimore’s 24-18 loss to the Browns.
Cleveland beat the Ravens for the first time since Nov. 18, 2007, riding a strong performance from quarterback Jason Campbell.
Campbell passed for 262 yards and matched a career high with three touchdowns. That outdid Joe Flacco, who passed for 250 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
The Ravens made a run at the Browns after falling behind 21-10, cutting the margin to three on Marlon Brown’s second touchdown catch of the day followed by a two-point conversion. But Cleveland drained the clock with a final scoring drive that lasted 6:30, forced the Ravens to use all of their timeouts and left the visitors with just 14 seconds for a last gasp down by six.
That gasp never materialized, and Baltimore fell to 3-5 with its third consecutive defeat and fourth in five games. This marks the Ravens’ worst eight-game start since starting 2-6 in 2005, three years before Harbaugh was hired.
The Ravens again were unable to straighten out their running game, finishing with just 55 yards on the ground. Remarkably, Flacco led the team with 25 rushing yards, with two of his three runs being scrambles. Ray Rice managed just 17 yards on 11 carries to go with three catches for 21 yards.
Torrey Smith and Brown joined Flacco as the top offensive performers. Smith made five catches for 78 yards while Brown had five for 54 yards, two touchdowns and the two-point conversion.
Baltimore permitted just 315 yards, but was limited to 278 by Cleveland’s top-10 defense.
The Ravens slide behind the Browns into third place in the AFC North at 3-5, 2 1/2 games behind first-place Cincinnati. And Baltimore comes out of the bye week much like it went into it - struggling and looking for answers.
But this time the Bengals are up next for what could be a make-or-break contest in a season that’s starting to slip away from the Ravens.