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Red zone a black hole for Browns in 25-15 loss

Associated Press Published: November 4, 2012
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It was up to Cleveland's defense to stop the Ravens again.

That was asking too much.

Baltimore went six straight possessions without a first down before Flacco completed a 21-yard pass to Anquan Boldin, igniting the Ravens.

"You need a play to get yourself going," Flacco said. "That was a good one."

Two plays later, Flacco threw an incompletion on second down, but Browns safety T.J. Ward was called for roughing Baltimore's QB with a blow to the helmet.

"I was coming pretty fast," Ward said. "He held it, he held it, he held it. He got rid of it at the last second. I pulled up. I don't see what was wrong with the hit. I didn't touch his head."

Ray Rice picked up 20 yards on two carries and on third-and-10, Flacco fired a slant pass to Smith, who wheeled away from a flat-footed Haden and scored to make it 20-15.

The Ravens then converted the 2-point try with Flacco hitting a wide-open Boldin to extend the lead to seven.

Cleveland had plenty of time left and two timeouts. But facing a 4th-and-2 at his own 28, Shurmur, who chose to punt two weeks ago at Indianapolis in similar circumstances, decided to go for it with 3:53 remaining. However, Weeden's pass for Greg Little was incomplete and the Ravens took over.

"I felt like we had a play that we liked and we didn't execute it," said Shurmur, who got defensive when pressed on his decision.

Baltimore's Justin Tucker kicked a 43-yard field goal to put the Ravens up by 10.

The Browns' last chance ended when safety Ed Reed intercepted Weeden, who went 20 of 37 for 176 yards with two interceptions. He didn't play poorly, but Weeden couldn't come up with a big lay Cleveland penetrated Baltimore's 20.

"You don't want to force it. I learned that earlier in the year," said Weeden. "People can boo or do whatever, but Phil's a hell of a kicker. You can't force it and give them another possession."

Dawson also made kicks of 32, 28, 29 and 33 yards for the Browns, who were minutes away from what would have been a momentum-building win only to lose again.

NOTES: Richardson, who ran for 122 yards last week, joined Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell (1958) and Earnest Byner (1984) as the only Browns rookies to rush for 100 yards in two straight games. He's also the first rookie to gain 100 against the Ravens since Fred Taylor in 1998. ... Dawson has made 23 consecutive field goals, 19 shy of the NFL record set by Mike Vanderjagt, who converted 42 straight for the Colts. ... KR Josh Cribbs became the NFL's career leader in kickoff return yards with one team. Cribbs has 9,638 yards with Cleveland. Brian Mitchell had 9,586 with Washington.

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