The much-maligned Cleveland Browns may have finally gotten the monkey off their back, after all. After years of no respect, the Browns gave the proverbial “black-eye” to one of the AFC North’s perennial powerhouses, or bullies, depending on who you ask. Fueled by Browns quarterback Derek Anderson’s two touchdown passes and a TD run by running back Jamal Lewis, the Browns surprised the Baltimore Ravens, 27-13.
The Browns, unlike in Week 1, looked like a team on the rise. Cleveland struck paydirt early, building a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Lewis exacted some revenge against his former team by scoring what was a disputed 1-yard dive into the end zone; that rushing TD was the first given up by the Ravens all season. The Browns kept Ravens QB Steve McNair in check for most of the game, depsite the Ravens’ statistical advantage thoughout the game. McNair went 34-for 53 for 307 yards with a TD and INT, but he provided what proved to be the deciding factor for the Browns; McNair threw into double coverage and was intercepted by Browns cornerback Leigh Bodden. Nine seconds later, Anderson threw a 78-yard strike to WR Braylon Edwards for a 14-0 lead the Browns would not relinquish. Equally as impressive was the fact that the Browns’ offensive line did not allow a sack by the Ravens.
Besides Anderson’s 204 yards, 2 TD’s and 1 INT, other Browns contributed as well. The aforementioned Lewis ran for 64 yards and a score and Edwards caught 3 passes for 97 yards and a TD. Tight end Kellen Winslow chipped in with 96 yards on 4 receptions. The Ravens, led by McNair’s 307 passing yards and 1 TD and 1 INT, also got a solid contribution from RB Willis McGahee (104 yards on only 14 carries). Cleveland (2-2) will face its toughest test this season they visit the New England Patriots next week while the Ravens (2-2) try to regroup and visit San Francisco to face the 49ers.