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November 18, 2009

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Ravens blank Browns to keep playoff hopes alive

BALTIMORE'S smothering defense held the Cleveland Browns at bay as the Ravens kept their post-season hopes alive with a 16-0 victory over their AFC North rivals on Monday.

The Browns (1-8) replaced Derek Anderson with Brady Quinn at starting quarterback as they desperately sought to revive their flagging season, but it was tough assignment for the 25-year-old, who was sacked four times and intercepted twice.

The third-year player finished 13-for-31 passing with 99 yards and is now a woeful 1-6 as a starter.

"It's frustrating for everyone including me," Quinn told reporters, his team having scored a league-low five offensive touchdowns all season. "Starting again is obviously a good learning experience but you rather it be at the expense of winning and not losing."

Ray Rice gave Baltimore a 7-0 lead with a 13-yard touchdown run in the third quarter before Dawan Landry intercepted Quinn and returned it for another score to put the visitors in command after a scoreless first half. The Ravens (5-4) held Cleveland to just 160 total yards.

"Any time you get a shutout that's a credit to your defense," Baltimore coach Jim Harbaugh said.

"We were dealing with some difficult formations that were tough to lineup against. I thought our guys handled it well."

After an uninspired offensive performance in the first half, Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco found Derrick Mason on a 41-yard pass play in the third to set up the team's first score.

Flacco attempted just 18 passes while the Ravens kept the ball on the ground behind Willis McGahee and Rice, who finished with 89 yards on the ground.

In addition to a poor performance, Quinn was involved in a play that injured Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs, rolling into his opponent's knee after his pass was intercepted.

"There was definitely no ill-intent behind it," Quinn said of the collision with Suggs, who was forced to leave the game. "I apologize to him and his teammates."

Browns wide receiver Josh Cribbs was taken off the field on a stretcher on the last play of the game when he took a hit following a lateral pass to a teammate.

Cribbs was taken to a hospital and Cleveland coach Eric Mangini reported the player could move all parts of his body.


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