CLEVELAND — Go ahead, laugh or cry.
If the Ravens were of championship caliber, this game should have been a blowout.
But right now, the Ravens are of unknown quality. They are an average team struggling to make it into the postseason, and before Monday night they had lost four of their past five.
So, if Monday was a barometer, then the Ravens will be staying home when the postseason starts. But the Ravens don't want to talk about postseason. They were just desperate for a win, any win.
Granted, the Browns (1-8) are a mess. They have a quarterback who couldn't hit the ground if he dropped the ball and an offense that is one-dimensional. They don't have a general manager and probably will need a new head coach as soon as the season ends. The franchise's fan base has eroded, and there were only about 1,000 fans left in the stadium as the game ended.
But the Ravens have their own problems. They still don't have an offensive identity, and there are lingering questions about the defense. But at least the Ravens can breathe for another week.
If they had lost to the Browns, they wouldn't have recovered. The Ravens still have a lot of work to do with Indianapolis and Pittsburgh coming to town. There probably won't be any upsets there, but at least there is some hope.
You can't call up and brag to your friends that your team just beat the Browns, but it's better than hiding under the bed if the Ravens had lost. Face it, Baltimore. Times have changed.
With 8:45 left in the first period, the Ravens were already out of timeouts for the first half. Granted, one was used to challenge a call, which the Ravens lost. But the others were because they weren't prepared to snap the ball or had too many players on the field.
In the first period, the Ravens had the look of a losing team, one in disarray.
Quinn's not the answer
The Browns are a team without a quarterback and certainly don't trust second-year quarterback Brady Quinn
to throw downfield.
When a team has to resort to the Wildcat offense, reverses and other gimmicks, it's essentially a statement from the coaching staff about the quarterback.
Quinn isn't the answer in Cleveland, and that short passing offense the Browns run is very high school-like. Quinn had a lot of passes batted down Monday night at the line of scrimmage.
Conspire no more
The Ravens or their fans can't complain anymore about other quarterbacks getting special treatment. Cleveland linebacker Jason Trusnik
was called for hitting quarterback Joe Flacco
below the knees late in the first half.
It was a poor call by the officials and was nothing more than the continuation of the play by Trusnik. Maybe that ruins another one of those conspiracy theories.
In Flacco's face
Is it me, or does it appear that Flacco isn't getting deep enough on his drops or the Ravens' offensive line is giving way too much ground initially on the snap of the ball? For the past three games, opposing defenses seem be getting into Flacco's face quickly from the line of scrimmage.
The Ravens' lack of speed at the wide receiver position was evident in the third quarter. Wide-out Derrick Mason
ran about a short, 5-yard hitch. Flacco delivered the ball, and Browns cornerback Brandon McDonald
slipped on the play.
If Mason had good speed, that would have been a touchdown.
Quinn's lame attempt to block Ravens defensive end-linebacker Terrell Suggs
seemed like a cheap shot to me. As soon as Ravens cornerback Chris Carr
intercepted the pass in the third quarter, Quinn went straight for Suggs' legs instead of tackling Carr.
Enough about Hauschka
There is nothing left to say about Ravens kicker Steve Hauschka
, who missed a 36-yard field goal in the first quarter.
Action speaks louder than words, and it's time for coach John Harbaugh to take some action.