The Baltimore Ravens successfully bounced back from last week’s debacle with a 20-14 victory over the Cleveland Browns Dec. 24 at M&T Bank Stadium in downtown Baltimore, Md.

The Ravens were humiliated on national television in a blowout loss to the San Diego Chargers on Dec. 18. But as they’ve done so many times in recent year, Baltimore followed up their loss with a convincing win, this time against an AFC North division rival.

Since 2008, the Ravens (11-4 overall) are now 13-0 in games immediately following losses, averaging 30 points per game during that span. Baltimore also improved to 8-0 at M&T Bank Stadium this season, marking the first time in franchise history the Ravens have gone undefeated at home in a single season.

Most Outstanding Player(s) of the Game:
Ravens’ four-year running back Ray Rice did it all for Baltimore offensively, rushing for 87 yards on 23 carries, while also catching three passes for 48 yards, including a 43-yard touchdown scored in the second quarter. Rice now has 1,173 total rushing yards, along with 74 catches for 798 total receiving yards on the season.

On defense, it was franchise leader Ray Lewis who stood out, recording a game-high 10 tackles (nine solo) in his second game back from a four-week break due to injury. Cornerback Lardarious Webb also played well, recording four pass deflections and an interception. He now leads the Ravens with five total interceptions this season.

Unsung Hero of the Game:
The Ravens barely edged Cleveland by six points for the victory thanks in part to veteran kicker Shayne Graham. Veteran kicker Billy Cundiff is the usual kicker for the Ravens, but he sat out today due to a lingering injury; but Graham filled the void fine, converting two kicks, including a 48-yarder in the first quarter.

The Ravens will head to Cincinnati, Ohio to face the Bengals in the final game of the regular season for both teams. If Baltimore wins, they’ll sweep the AFC North division with a 6-0 record for the first time in team history. A win could also possibly push the Ravens into either first or second place in the AFC Conference, giving Baltimore a bye week and home-field advantage in the playoffs for the first time since 2006.


Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor