Flacco’s TD Pass Leads Ravens Over Browns 25-15
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CLEVELAND (AP) — Somehow, some way, Joe Flacco always finds a way to beat the Browns.
Flacco threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Torrey Smith with 4:26 left as the Baltimore Ravens won their 11th straight game inside the AFC North with a 25-15 comeback win over Cleveland on Sunday.
Smith caught Flacco’s strike and spun away from cornerback Joe Haden as the Ravens (6-2) defeated the Browns (2-7) for the 10th consecutive time — all with Flacco at quarterback. It was also Baltimore’s 15th straight win following a loss, and helped the Ravens shake off a 30-point loss to Houston two weeks ago.
Baltimore improved to 5-0 after a bye week under coach John Harbaugh, who like Flacco is 10-0 in his career against Cleveland.
Phil Dawson kicked five field goals for the Browns, who were again competitive but failed to score a touchdown on five trips inside Baltimore’s 20-yard line.
After Dawson’s 41-yard field goal put the Browns ahead 15-14 with 8:48 left, Flacco got Baltimore’s offense moving again.
The Ravens, who led 14-0 with touchdowns the first two times they had the ball, went six straight possessions without a first down when Flacco completed a 21-yard pass to Anquan Boldin. Two plays later, Flacco threw an incompletion but Browns safety T.J. Ward was called for roughing the passer to move the chains again for Baltimore .
On third-and-10, Flacco fired a slant pass to Smith, who wheeled away from a flat-footed Haden and sprinted into the end zone to make it 20-15.
The Ravens then converted the 2-point try with Flacco hitting a wide-open Boldin to extend the lead to seven.
Baltimore’s defense, which hasn’t been the same without injured linebacker Ray Lewis, closed it out as safety Ed Reed intercepted rookie Brandon Weeden with 2:19 left.
Flacco finished 15 of 24 for 153 yards. He completed his first 10 passes, but Cleveland’s defense shut him and the Ravens down for most of the second half until the final TD drive.
Weeden went 20 of 37 for 176 yards and two interceptions. The one time the Browns found their way into the end zone, Weeden’s 18-yard TD pass to rookie Josh Gordon was nullified by an illegal formation penalty.
Baltimore’s Ray Rice had 98 yards and a TD run. Bernard Pierce’s 12-yard run in the first gave the Ravens a 14-0 lead.
Cleveland rookie Trent Richardson ran for 105 yards on 25 carries. Following the game, he and Rice exchanged jerseys on the field.
Richardson is the first rookie to run for more than 100 yards against the Ravens since Jacksonville’s Fred Taylor in 1998.
Down by two TDs, the Browns’ offense awakened in the second quarter, when Dawson’s three field goals pulled Cleveland within five at halftime.
Dawson’s 29-yarder with 3 seconds left made it 14-9 and sent Cleveland’s players to the locker room feeling confident after nearly letting the Ravens get too far in front.
But it was Cleveland’s inability to score TDs when it had the chance that doomed the young Browns, who will head into their bye week stinging from another game they could have won.
Dawson made field goals of 32, 28, 29, 33 and 41 yards. The 14-year veteran is 17 of 17 this season and has made 23 straight dating to 2011.
Rice’s 8-yard TD run gave the Ravens a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
With a nice mix of play calls, Baltimore drove 70 yards on its first possession with Rice taking a handoff, cutting left and stepping out of Phil Taylor’s tackle at the 6 before going in. Taylor, a first-round pick last season, missed Cleveland’s first eight games after undergoing offseason surgery to fix a chest muscle he tore lifting weights.
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