More later on the desperation of the winless Browns, though.
Ten months ago, the Ravens suffered a controversial 33-30 loss as Phil Dawson’s 51-yard field goal with three seconds left in regulation clanged off the left upright, descended over the crossbar and ricocheted off the support post and back onto the field as the football landed in the end zone.
Initially, the officials ruled it no good. While the Ravens celebrated an apparent victory in the locker room with several players taking off their cleats and pads, the officiating crew huddled on the field, inquired whether the kick was reviewable and reversed the call to send the game into overtime.
The deflated Ravens never recovered as they lost the game and went 5-11 in a last-place finish that included a franchise-record nine-game losing streak.
“Yeah, I talked about it in the offseason, you can do that when you don’t have any playoffs,” linebacker Terrell Suggs said. “I was like, ‘What about in basketball when the shot goes in and then it rolls out? It’s no good, right?’ That’s just what I thought happened.”
“You don’t even call that bad luck,” center Jason Brown said. “It’s just as if the football gods are against you. We just hope and pray that they’re with us this year and that things will go in our favor.”
Today, the Ravens (1-0) are hoping to harness the sting of being swept by the Browns a year ago and utilize the unexpected rest following a postponed game against the Houston Texans caused by Hurricane Ike to stomp the Browns into an 0-3 hole.
"This is a game that we have to win, and I’m pretty sure that’s the same mindset that they have as well,” receiver Derrick Mason said, "that they have to win this game."
The Browns entered the season hyped nationally as a strong contender.
However, they’ve looked suspect so far as a revamped defense hasn’t been able to stop the run despite the addition of big defensive linemen Shaun Rogers and Corey Williams.
With last year’s top Browns cornerback, Leigh Bodden, traded to the Detroit Lions to get
Still, the Ravens aren’t taking the Browns for granted.
“They faced one team that’s picked to come out of the NFC with a great defense and they faced another team that’s the defending AFC North champion,” Suggs said. “I think they ran up against some good teams and came up with the short end of the stick. Just because they’re 0-2, they’re not to be taken lightly.
“There’s extra in this game because they whipped our [butts] twice. You just don’t recover from that. You don’t sleep well at night when a team beats you two times. That’s why they’re more oomph on our side this year, and they’re trying to get their season to snowball, especially the way they started.”
The Browns’ passing game is definitely off-kilter as former
In his first dozen games last season on his way to the Pro Bowl,
In his past six starts,
Yet, he has traditionally played well against the Ravens.
“All I know is what he did the last time he faced us,” Suggs said. “I don’t know about his streaks and how he did his last couple games, but I think he had some pretty good games against us. That’s the only thing I can really go off.”
The Browns have scored just one touchdown.
Despite the Browns’ struggles, the Ravens are wary of the danger of potentially allowing a hungry team to right its season against them.
“It’s a storied rivalry,” tight end Todd Heap said. “Obviously, they’ve got an attitude about them with how the first couple of weeks have gone. We’ve got to be prepared for that.”
The Ravens feature the NFL’s top-ranked defense, allowing the least passing yards and fourth-least rushing yards per contest.
They have yet to allow a touchdown.
In the view of Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, he sees a Browns offense headlined by Anderson, Edwards, burly former
“They have the same players they had last year,” Ryan said. “Hey, we know who they are. They know who we are. I’m not worried about
“I see a team with six Pro Bowl offensive players. They may think they’re going to get well against us, but they’ll have the best test they’ve had all year because I think our defense is better than those other two defenses.”
Aaron Wilson covers the