1:00 PM ET, November 4, 2012
FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, OH
The Baltimore Ravens have shown under John Harbaugh they never stay down for very long.
They've also shown a knack for beating the Cleveland Browns.
Coming off their bye week following the franchise's worst loss in five years, the Ravens try to sweep the season series from their AFC North rival for the fifth straight year Sunday when they visit a Browns team seeking its third win in four games.
The first-place Ravens (5-2) have had plenty of time to mull over a 43-13 loss to Houston on Oct. 21, the franchise's worst setback since a 31-point loss at Pittsburgh in 2007. The loss to the Texans was the fourth defeat of 20 points or more since Harbaugh took over in 2008, and in each previous instance, Baltimore bounced back with a win.
"You can't achieve anything without going through some adversity," Harbaugh said. "So, the opportunity that is presented to us now is an opportunity to get better -- to become whatever it is we're going to become."
If they're to repeat their recent history of success following blowout losses, the Ravens will have to find a way to patch up a banged-up defense that has been exposed.
Playing without the injured Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb, Baltimore has allowed 400 yards in back-to-back games for the first time since 2009. The defense has been brutal against the run, allowing an average of 142.9 yards to rank 30th in the NFL.
The Ravens did get linebacker Terrell Suggs back from a torn right Achilles tendon for the Houston game, but it wasn't enough as they gave up their most points since a 44-20 loss to Indianapolis in 2007.
"We have all the players we need and we have all the scheme we need," Harbaugh said. "Now what we have to do is organize it in a way that gives our players a chance to play their fastest and their best under pressure, on the road against good teams, and at home."
Baltimore has won 14 straight home games -- the longest current streak in the NFL -- but has dropped two of three road contests this year. It has won its last nine against Cleveland, however.
In Baltimore on Sept. 27, Joe Flacco threw for 356 yards with a touchdown and an interception in a 23-16 win over the Browns. Flacco has been outstanding at home, averaging 317.8 yards with seven touchdowns and two picks in four games for a 106.6 QB rating. It has been another story on the road, though, as he averages 188.7 yards with two scores and four interceptions for a 55.9 rating.
"We've all got to be better on the road," Harbaugh said. "That's something that we're not happy with right now."
After an 0-5 start, the Browns (2-6) have won two of three and still feel they have time to turn their season around.
Quarterback Brandon Weeden continues to show improvement, and had thrown two touchdown passes in three consecutive games before last week's 7-6 win over San Diego in wet, sloppy conditions. In his first look at the Ravens, the rookie threw for 320 yards with no touchdowns and one interception.
Rookie running back Trent Richardson, who has fought through a rib cartilage injury, ran for a season-high 122 yards and a touchdown against the Chargers.
"I see a team that's battling," coach Pat Shurmur said. "I see a team that's with me every step of the way. And they believe in their coaches. And I see a team that's improving. I'm hopeful we're going to continue to make those improvements and win a heckuva lot of games."
While the Ravens are looking for more consistent play from Flacco, they're also hoping to get Ray Rice back on track after he ran for a season-low 42 yards against Houston. Rice is fifth in the AFC with 74.9 rushing yards per game, but managed just 49 yards on 18 carries against the Browns in September.
The Browns have allowed an average of 146.0 yards on the ground in four games since.
Cleveland's defense will be getting a nice boost, though, with the return of tackle Phil Taylor, who missed the first eight games after undergoing surgery on a torn chest muscle he hurt lifting weights in May.
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|Avg Points Allowed||22.0||23.4|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||BAL|
|Rush Yds Allowed||BAL|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|Baltimore leads 17-7|
|Sep 27, 2012||BAL 23, CLE 16|
|Dec 24, 2011||BAL 20, CLE 14|
|Dec 4, 2011||BAL 24, @CLE 10|
|Dec 26, 2010||BAL 20, @CLE 10|
|Sep 26, 2010||BAL 24, CLE 17|
|Nov 16, 2009||BAL 16, @CLE 0|
|Sep 27, 2009||BAL 34, CLE 3|
|Nov 2, 2008||BAL 37, @CLE 27|
|Sep 21, 2008||BAL 28, CLE 10|
|Nov 18, 2007||BAL 30, CLE 33|
|Sep 30, 2007||BAL 13, @CLE 27|
|Dec 17, 2006||BAL 27, CLE 17|
|Sep 24, 2006||BAL 15, @CLE 14|
|Jan 1, 2006||BAL 16, @CLE 20|
|Oct 16, 2005||BAL 16, CLE 3|
|Nov 7, 2004||BAL 27, CLE 13|
|Sep 12, 2004||BAL 3, @CLE 20|
|Dec 21, 2003||BAL 35, @CLE 0|
|Sep 14, 2003||BAL 33, CLE 13|
|Dec 22, 2002||BAL 13, CLE 14|
|Oct 6, 2002||BAL 26, @CLE 21|
|Nov 18, 2001||BAL 17, CLE 27|
|Oct 21, 2001||BAL 14, @CLE 24|
Ray Rice has averaged 19.3 rushes in the Ravens' wins since the start of 2011, including postseason, but has averaged 13.9 rushes in losses. Without Rice involved as much, the Ravens haven't been able to take advantage of the play-action game.[+]
Joe Flacco Play-Action Passing - Last 2 Seasons (Inc. Playoffs)
Brandon Weeden went 7-of-20 on throws more than 10 yards downfield against the Ravens in Week 4, but has completed over 54 percent of such throws since. Weeden is 7-of-15 to Josh Gordon over the last four games with four touchdowns, after going 2-of-6 to Gordon in the first four games.[+]
Brandon Weeden Passing More Than 10 Yards Downfield - This Season
ESPN Stats & Information