Ravens' 'D' soars: two picks, four sacks

Team's first shutout since 2006

Nakamura breaks ankle on kickoff

November 17, 2009|By Ken Murray | ken.murray@baltsun.com

CLEVELAND — The Ravens' defense found its groove Monday night, collecting two interceptions, four sacks and its first shutout since 2006.

The 16-0 win over the Cleveland Browns restored normalcy to a defense that has had trouble covering receivers and difficulty getting to the passer. But in the bright lights of "Monday Night Football," against a young quarterback, the Ravens put it all together.

Safety Dawan Landry's48-yard touchdown return of an interception turned the game just 17 seconds after the offense broke through for a third-quarter touchdown. On the next defensive series, nickel back Chris Carr intercepted a pass that deflected off Mike Flurrey'shands, and his 11-yard return set up the final points of the game, a 44-yard field goal by Steve Hauschka.

Quarterback Brady Quinn completed only 13 of 31 passes for 99 yards and didn't threaten deep the entire game.

Landry's interception was his second against Quinn this season.

"Anytime you get a quarterback out of rhythm, it gives us a chance to lock [receivers] down," Landry said.

The pass rush culminated in four sacks by Trevor Pryce, Lardarius Webb, Ray Lewis and Jarret Johnson.

Nakamura breaks ankle
Ravens safety and special teamer Haruki Nakamura suffered a broken right ankle on the game's opening kickoff. He went down when the Ravens' L.J. Smith knocked Joshua Cribbs into Nakamura's lower right leg.

Nakamura, who was born in Cleveland, left the field on a cart for X-rays. His mother, Karen Nakamura, attended the game and went to the locker room after the injury. He was expected to accompany the team home after the game.

Linebacker Tavares Gooden sat out the second half with a concussion, and tight end Todd Heap left the field early with bruised ribs on his left side.

More heat for Mangini
As if there haven't been enough distractions for the reeling Browns this season, the Associated Press reported the NFL Players Association wants to meet with players this week to address the practice habits of coach Eric Mangini.

Two Browns have been hurt in post-practice drills and the union has concern about the health and safety of players under Mangini. Defensive end Keith Grennan, a member of the practice squad, injured his knee in a post-practice drill last week, and rookie running back James Davis suffered a season-ending shoulder injury last month.

The NFL reviewed video of the practice session in which Davis was injured, and decided the Browns did not violate league policies.

Last week, Jamal Lewis complained that Mangini was overworking the Browns. He changed his mind a day later and said the media exaggerated his complaints.

Eliminating 'bye' distraction
The Browns were the third straight team coming off a bye week to meet the Ravens. Although the Ravens didn't publicly complain, they were not happy with that part of the schedule. But after the loss in Cincinnati, they appear to have removed any conspiracy theories from their thinking.

"I've seen teams come off a bye and be great," defensive tackle Justin Bannan said last week. "I've seen teams come off a bye and have a real tough time. You know what? I don't care what's going on. I'm going to do my job. It doesn't matter what anyone else does"

Bannan was making his second straight start, replacing the injury Haloti Ngata (sprained ankle).

End zone
Rookie nickel back Lardarius Webb picked up the first sack of his NFL career midway through the second quarter when he blitzed from the right corner and dropped Brady Quinn for a 4-yard loss. … Quarterback Joe Flacco, running back Ray Rice and safety Ed Reed were captains for the Ravens, and former Raven Lewis was one of three captains for the Browns. … The Ravens' inactive list included running backs Matt Lawrence and Jalen Parmele, tackles Oniel Cousins and Tony Moll, outside linebacker Antwan Barnes and nose tackle Kelly Talavou. … The Browns signed punter Reggie Hodges to replace left-footer Dave Zastudil, who has a right knee injury. Backup wide receiver Chansi Stuckey (calf) was inactive, too.


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