Browns-Ravens: Don's Game Preview

OBR Reporter
Posted Dec 25, 2010


The keys to the game: Feline vision, repetitive foolhardiness, and Peyton Hillis. We think. Or Colt McCoy quoting Who lyrics. Yeah.

 

Fool me once and the next time I won’t be.

No, that’s not the saying.

Is it: You can’t fool me a second time after being fooled that first time?

No, that’s not how it goes.

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, can you help me out?

"A blind cat will find a meal every once in a while,” Lewis said on Wednesday.

Well, I never said anything about felines with impaired vision, but we’ll go with that for now.

On Sunday, Baltimore visits Cleveland for the second and final meeting between the AFC North foes. On Sept. 26 in the land of crab cakes, the Ravens beat the Browns 24-17, but not before Peyton Hillis ran for 144 yards on 22 carries and one touchdown. Hillis was the first Browns running back to reach the 100-yard plateau against the Ravens.

“We blocked well up front,” Mangini said. “We blocked well with the tight ends, with the fullback and Peyton ran the ball well. There’s a way that you have to do it to be successful and I thought collectively we did a good job of that.”

Now, what was I trying to say about being fooled? Former president George W. Bush, can you help me out?

“There's an old saying in Tennessee,” said Bush on Sept. 17, 2002. “I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — [pauses] — shame on you. Fool me — [pauses] — You can't get fooled again.”

Well, that’s not it, but I think we’re getting closer.

When it comes to Hillis repeating his 144-yard performance this Sunday, Lewis isn’t planning on it.

“We understand the two big runs that we gave up against them and things like that,” Lewis said. “To be our team's leader, it won't happen again. So I hope they understand that."

Wait, I got it!

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Hillis hasn’t been able to fool many teams lately. He has rushed for more than 100 yards in only two of the team’s last six games. Last week at Cincinnati, Hillis had 59 yards on 14 carries. He had 102 yards on 27 carries in the first meeting. Mangini does not think Hillis is wearing down, but entering Sunday Hillis has 252 carries. His previous high was 68 carries his rookie season in 2008.

At the same time the Browns have had trouble establishing the run, the Browns have had trouble defending the run. Cincinnati’s Cedric Benson gashed the Browns last week for 150 yards and two weeks ago Buffalo’s Fred Jackson went for 112.

Another year, another strong performance by Baltimore’s run defense. The Ravens are ranked fifth in the league allowing 93.6 yards rushing per game.

Offensively, Baltimore’s run game emerged in last week’s 30-24 win over New Orleans. Ray Rice had only his second 100-yard game of the season at home against the Saints, as he collected 153 yards on 31 carries with a touchdown. Although Rice has not had big games, in the first meeting with Cleveland he had 80 yards on 15 carries (5.3 yards per carry average).

“Ray Rice is outstanding, but what we need to do is we need to play with the proper fits, we need to play with the proper technique and we need to tackle when we have the opportunity to tackle,” Mangini said. “The issue is, just like with running the ball, it’s usually blocking, the technique of blocking, leverage and angles and things like that. Defensively, it’s the same thing. It’s how you fit the blocks, how you read the plays, it’s when you have the chance to tackle, tackling and it’s being consistently physical. Those are the answers.”

And so it is another season winds down with the Browns in position to play the spoiler role. Baltimore and Pittsburgh, who both enter Week 16 at 10-4 overall, come to Cleveland the next two Sundays. A playoff berth is all but assured for them, but the Browns can send their division rivals into to the playoffs with a fresh ‘L.’

“There’s no game that you can go into with the expectation of showing up and expecting the other team to not give it their best shot,” Mangini said. “It’s part of the progression throughout the course of the season.”

It has been three seasons since the Browns beat the Ravens. The last win against Baltimore came on Nov. 18, 2007, as Phil Dawson’s field goal forced overtime where Cleveland won 33-30. The Browns swept the Ravens that season. It has been five consecutive losses since.


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