Ravens Sit On Couch, Browns

A slipper of one of the victim of a roadside bomb is seen as Iraqi army soldiers secure the blast site, in Baghdad, Iraq, March 9, 2006.
AP Photo/Hadi Mizban

Sitting in his luxury suite, Art Modell would have loved the sight.

As his Baltimore Ravens celebrated, embarrassed Cleveland Browns fans who came to the game seeking revenge, hung their heads and raced for the exits.

With Modell watching on TV back in Baltimore, refusing to return to the city he left four years ago, Errict Rhett rushed for two touchdowns and Baltimore's defense thrashed Cleveland rookie quarterback Tim Couch in a 41-9 rout of the Browns.

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Game Summary

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  • "It was three times bigger for him than it was for us," Rhett said of Modell. "We really wanted to win this game for him."

    Cleveland fans waited four years for a chance at revenge over Modell, the owner who took their beloved Browns to Baltimore in 1995. They also wanted a piece of Ravens coach Brian Billick, who earlier this week said the NFL hoped the Browns would win and that the game officials might be influenced by Cleveland's rabid home crowd.

    But the Ravens (3-5) didn't need help from anyone, snapping a three-game losing streak by dominating the expansion Browns (1-8), who managed just 10 first downs five during garbage time in the fourth quarter and entered the fourth quarter with just 66 total yards.

    "When I signed here, the first thing I heard from everybody was beat Baltimore," Browns tackle Orlando Brown said. "Bust 'em up. That was on my mind the whole time. This is very disappointing."

    Following the game, Billick spoke on the phone with Modell before being asked about his remarks that touched off the controversy and could lead to a fine from the NFL.

    "Outstanding," Billick quipped when asked about the officiating. "Unbelievable. I couldn't have agreed more with every single call."

    The 41 points were the most points ever scord by a Ravens team and the fewest they've ever allowed.

    Modell must have been loving every second.

    "He's excited," said Billick, who talked to his owner after the game. "He felt good we played hard, worked hard and handled ourselves with class."

    Rod Woodson returned a late interception 66 yards for a TD and Matt Stover kicked two field goals for the Ravens. Justin Armour, cut during training camp by Cleveland, had five receptions for 38 yards.

    Couch, whose desperation pass on the final play at New Orleans gave the Browns their first win last week, finished 9-of-21 for 57 yards and was sacked four times. As the clock wound down, the rookie sat dejectedly on the Browns bench with a towel draped over his head.

    He was replaced at the start of the fourth by Detmer, who hit Terry Kirby on a 5-yard TD pass with 5:13 left.

    "It was very disappointing," Couch said. "We wanted to put on a good show today and we were just not able to."

    Baltimore quarterback Tony Banks wasn't spectacular, but didn't make any mistakes, completing 14 of 25 passes with a TD for the Ravens. Rhett had 17 carries for 117 yards, and broke open a still-close game in the third quarter with a 52-yard TD run.

    Banks, who began the season as the Ravens' third-string quarterback, looked like he wants to keep the job for the whole season in the first half.

    He went 5-for-5 on Baltimore's first possession, completing a pair of third-down passes to keep the scoring drive alive. From the Browns 11, Rhett plowed through a pileup at the 2 for the score.

    "That makes the crowd sit back," Rhett said. "That's what we needed. We know this is the most hostile crowd in the NFL."

    Following Rhett's score, the Browns blew the first of two excellent scoring chances in the first half, settling for a 25-yard field goal after recovering a fumbled punt at Baltimore's 17.

    Cleveland then recovered an onsides kick and drove the ball to the 23 before Couch's pass was picked off by Duane Starks in the end zone.

    Bailed out by his defense, Banks took Baltimore's offense 80 yards in 10 plays, capping the drive with a 28-yard scoring pass to Quadry Ismail, giving Baltimore a 14-3 lead with 8:09 left in the first half.

    "We didn't make any plays on offense, defense or special teams," Browns coach Chris Palmer said. "I thought we controlled the momentum early with the onsides kick and fumble, but we never turned it into anything."

    Stover kiked a 28-yard field goal with three seconds left to put the Ravens up 17-3 at halftime.

    In the fourth quarter, Woodson picked off Detmer's pass and outran Detmer and two Cleveland lineman as Baltimore opened a 34-3 lead.

    After Kirby's score, Ravens backup QB Stoney Case capped the scoring with a 20-yard TD run.

    Notes

  • Billick said he wasn't trying to deflect attention from his team during the hype-filled week by making his comments about the officiating. "I'm not that smart," he said. "I'm just a frustrated rookie coach that's just trying to survive."
  • Baltimore had twice scored 38 points in a game, and had allowed 10 points eight times.
  • Detmer played for the first time since starting the opener against Pittsburgh.
  • Ravens linebacker Peter Boulware's right shoulder popped out late in the game. "It's going to happen all the time until I have surgery," he said.

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