The Ravens Never Take the Browns Seriously, Yet Always Somehow Win

What it feels like to watch the Ravens and Browns play football.

What it feels like to watch the Ravens and Browns play football.

What would a Ravens season be without a narrow win over the Browns that feels less like victory and more like escape? Every year I go into this ugly slugfest hoping it won’t be an ugly slugfest, and every single year it’s an ugly freakin’ slugfest that makes me wish I was watching lead-based paint dry instead. Ravens-Browns games are basically what is shown on a loop on TVs in the seventh circle of hell. They never inspire real emotion in anyone, because everyone can assume, rightfully, they already know the outcome. (Pro tip: Cleveland is now 0-11 against Joe Flacco.) And yet everyone sits on pins and needles thinking this might be the game when the tides turn. And by “everyone,” of course, I mean “only people in Baltimore and Cleveland,” because no one in their right mind cares about such a meaningless game between two traditionally bad offenses. And by “sits on pins and needles,” of course, I mean “is miserable.”

Actually, I’ll take that one stat up there out of parentheses, just because it amuses me so much. The Cleveland Browns are 0-11 against Joe Flacco. Amazing. It’s as if the Browns had the childhood dream of being reliably futile. At first it shocked me to realize the Browns hadn’t beaten the Ravens at least once during the Cam Cameron years. (Really, who didn’t have a shot back then? LOL “back then,” it was like eight regular season games ago [horrifying, I know, forget I said anything].) But it’s not all that shocking now that I saw what happened Sunday. The Browns couldn’t even beat a guy who literally just learned his wife gave birth to a baby and who was also playing with three-fourths of his star receivers from the year before not on the field. (Not a joke figure! That’s the actual amount of guys missing from the Ravens offense!)

Twice a year we can count on seeing the Ravens dick around against the Browns. You can set your watch to it. It’s because the Ravens take playing the Browns about as seriously as a pack of tigers takes hunting an elderly goat. We zone out until the game is about 65% over, come alive just long enough to punch the Browns in the Adam’s apple, then return to our shell of bare minimum effort until the game is done, trusting that since we’re the Ravens and they’re the Browns the universe won’t let us lose. Miraculously, that tactic hasn’t failed in six years.

What it feels like when the Ravens beat the Browns.

What it feels like when the Ravens beat the Browns.

But there were some good things to draw from this mostly unwatchable affair! Marlon Brown continues to impress, and he caught a TD on a clutch game-winning drive that put the game away for good. (I call it “clutch” because, despite the Browns’ haplessness, Ravens fans live in paranoia that THIS’LL BE THE GAME the Ravens lose a close one to Cleveland. I call it “game-winning” because being up by eight points with eight minutes left against the Browns means you’ll win. [And no I’m not piling on. Even Browns fans admit this. {Actually, don’t click that link. It’s sad.}]) I love how Torrey Smith has developed so smoothly from a rookie with the dropsies to an unafraid No. 1. And, if I’ve said it once I’ll say it again: I love Bernard Pierce. I know Ray Rice is king of the Ravens offense, but Pierce has a speed burst that Rice either never had or has lost. (Quiet as it’s kept.)

Lowlights of the game? Justin Tucker, who did his best Billy Cundiff impersonation in front of Billy Cundiff, in Baltimore, as Baltimore booed Billy Cundiff. Also, perhaps Rice, as mentioned. Look, Rice is an impact player, not only for the actual “wow” plays he makes (which have diminished in number of late) but for the threat of those plays. Rice may make one to three plays a game that come at a good time, but for the most part, and you probably don’t have to ask a Ravens fan this but could ask a fantasy owner, he is kind of a black hole when it comes to consistency. And that may not be entirely his fault (the Ravens have dubious run blocking and uninventive play-calling [new drinking game: drink every time the Ravens run on first down! {pro tip: you’ll die of alcohol poisoning}), but it does seem like Rice is pressing way more than he used to. He wants to make the big play so bad that he won’t run north and south to just take three or four yards when it’s in front of him.

In a few days, we get the Texans. Don’t know how to feel about that game. I told a friend for an office pool to take the Ravens, mostly because it’s in Baltimore and Andre Johnson may be out with a concussion (thanks, Bernard Pollard!!! … Seriously though, Pollard is a confirmed sorcerer at this point.) It’ll be tough, but the Texans aren’t that imposing and the Ravens are coming together. I like our chances. CAW, bitches.

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2 comments

  1. Phil

    Nice recap, really.
    They had me worried throughout the first half. Every time I see the Raven’s running game I’m thinking: why the hell are they running right into the defensive line about 90% of the time? If our run-blocking lacks it’s strength, what about outside routes and tosses (thinking of the speed of #27 and #30, they should give it a try, seriously)? I can’t remember those plays and I’m tired of 2 yard gaines. Do you have any thoughts about that?

    Well, as for the passing game, it shows potential, definitely. They could do it more often on 3rd down, though (You are 3rd and 8 and you are running, and again right through the middle into the arms of a defensive lineman, who “accidentally” happens to be there, are you serious? Who calls those plays?). With Smith and Brown we’re good to go, Clark and Stokley are finally catching some passes (or re-catching their drops) and as for Dickson…. even Blocking-Bajema catched something and has more receiving yards. It’s about time to start your season, man.

    Oh, and nice to see the Ravens pass-rush is so good it just slipped through your attention and double-sacked the “we have a hell of a pass-rush down there” paragraph :)

    Greetings from Germany, Phil

  2. Andy Schaub

    For a girl that got her Masters from Georgetown, no wonder you are so high on the Ravens! How’s NYC treating you?
    Take it easy on my boy Schaub. I think his good years are in the past and will be on his way out before long! Yo momma told me about your blog and warned me about it being pretty raunchy.LOL I’ve seen worse. You know your Ravens, keep on keepung on. GO DOLPHINS !!!! 3-0!

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