Coming out of the bye week, the Ravens promised to showcase a more efficient offense in their first AFC North road game of the season.
For one quarter, they succeeded Sunday by grounding the hurry-up offense and relying on the running of Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce to set the table as they tallied 11 first downs.
The problem: The Ravens only had one first down for the next two-plus quarters
QB Joe Flacco started by completing 10 of his first 12 passes, but he went cold until the last drive of the fourth quarter when he led Baltimore 81 yards on nine plays to retake the lead with a 19-yard TD pass to Torrey Smith with 4:26 left.
Flacco then hit Anquan Boldin on the two-point conversion of the final margin. He finished 15-for-24 for 153 yards without a turnover as Flacco remains unbeaten in 10 career games vs. Cleveland.
The last time Baltimore lost to this team was 2007, the season before Flacco’s rookie season andJohn Harbaugh’s arrival as coach.
The Ravens won the first meeting this season, 23-16, in Baltimore.
This was the perfect opponent for the Ravens to get their confidence back with a 43-13 loss at theHouston Texans in Week 7 and a bye in Week 8.
Flacco came in averaging only 189 yards passing per game on the road, and hadn’t had a 300-yard passing game since Week 4 against the Browns.
It appeared he didn’t need a big passing day with the way they ran the ball early. The Ravens took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter on scoring runs of 8 (Rice) and 12 (Pierce).