Ravens should take a les­son from ’07 Dol­phins loss

Baltimore Sun - - FROM PAGE ONE -

back then, punter Sam Koch and guard Mar­shal Yanda, but Suggs suf­fered more em­bar­rass­ment be­cause he played on de­fense.

The only Raven who suf­fered more in­dig­nity was Brian Bil­lick, who was fired as the team’s coach at the end of that 5-11 sea­son.

So it was easy to see why Suggs and the Ravens were more fo­cused on the Browns than on cel­e­brat­ing the win against the Pitts­burgh Steel­ers on Sun­day.

“This is just one game, though,” cor­ner­back Jimmy Smith said. “We know we have to come out and be on point against Cleve­land com­ing up. They jumped out on us by 20 points out there and it’s al­ways a tough game against the Browns. We have our hands full com­ing up Thurs­day and need to play well to make this win mean­ing­ful.”

This could be one of those trap games. The Browns are aw­ful. They’ve won only one game in their past 20 and have started three quar­ter­backs and used six this sea­son. The Browns are ranked No. 19 in to­tal of­fense and No. 31 in de­fense.

The Ravens’ win Sun­day moved them into a first-place tie with Pitts­burgh in the AFC North, but they will lose that mo­men­tum if they fall to Cleve­land.

It would be a set­back as sig­nif­i­cant as back-to-back losses to the Giants and Jets in New York in Weeks 6 and 7.

“We want to be a veteran team and not make the same mis­takes twice,” Suggs said. “You all know we started out pretty good, 3-0, and we had some op­por­tu­ni­ties to just take some steps, and we missed those op­por­tu­ni­ties. So this is a per­fect op­por­tu­nity. We got an­other one to take an­other step. Veteran teams, good teams, they don’t take steps back.”

Be­sides, it’s a per­sonal thing. No team wants to lose to Cleve­land.

On the flip side, the Browns don’t want to be­come a part of mod­ern foot­ball his­tory.

The young Browns will re­main hun­gry, un­like older teams with vet­er­ans who might want to shut it down. Miami wasn’t go­ing any­where in 2007, but the Dol­phins didn’t want to be hu­mil­i­ated. They played the Ravens as if it were the Su­per Bowl.

Cleve­land will fight just as hard. The Browns have al­ways played the Ravens tough. Cleo Lemon, though, has been re­placed by Cody Kessler, the Browns’ rookie quar­ter­back, a third-round pick out of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia.

Against the Steel­ers, the Ravens had their strong­est de­fen­sive ef­fort of the sea­son. They held Pitts­burgh to 277 yards of to­tal of­fense and lim­ited Le’Veon Bell, one of the league’s top run­ning backs, to 32 yards on 14 car­ries.

But when Pitts­burgh started to at­tack the Ravens through the air in the fourth quar­ter, the Steel­ers scored twice in the fi­nal nine min­utes and the Ravens didn’t se­cure the vic­tory un­til they re­cov­ered an on­side kick with 48 sec­onds re­main­ing.

“We gave up some plays down the stretch, and I don’t like that,” Suggs said. “You don’t ever want to have to win the game with your hands team, es­pe­cially when you have a 21-point lead in the fourth quar­ter. So, like I said, we’ve def­i­nitely got to fin­ish bet­ter. You know, a win is a win. We’re go­ing to take the win, but we’re go­ing back to work on the short week.”

Un­like the Steel­ers, the Browns don’t have a dy­namic player such as Bell at run­ning back, or An­to­nio Brown at wide

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