“[Coach Harbaugh] was like ‘there’s no way they jump.’ … I don’t know if I’ve ever been in position for that to happen. It’s never worked.” – Joe Flacco
“It seems that it’s the 15th time I’ve said this, (but) the guys played extremely hard.” — Pat Shurmur
The Browns’ plan to lull the Ravens to sleep with a 20-0 lead through most of three quarters almost worked. Ravens receivers caught a case of the drops in the second half, and the next thing you knew there was an 84-yard Josh Cribbs punt return, a Sheldon Brown interception in the Browns’ end zone, and an 80-yard touchdown drive, and the Browns were right back in it.
Of course, after what unfolded at the end of the first half, it’s impossible to blame the Ravens for forgetting that they were playing in an NFL football game. First down at Baltimore’s 8-yard-line with 57 seconds on the clock and the Browns let the first half expire on a run play without scoring points, with the ball left at the Ravens’ 3-yard-line.
“I never would have called a run in that situation with that much time,” said Browns coach Pat Shurmur, who, we’re told, calls the plays for the Browns. Anyway, it was like nothing anyone had ever seen. Completely bedazzling. And it almost worked. At least until a second consecutive one-yard swing pass failed on fourth-and-5 on what would be the last Browns drive of the game thanks to Phil Taylor jumping offside on a Ravens’ fourth-and-2 when the one thing the defense had to do on the play was not jump offside.
You can call it a close one, and you can call it the sixth time this season that the Browns have fallen behind by three scores by the third quarter.
The Steelers are in town on Sunday for a 4PM start. If Pittsburgh wins and the Ravens lose to the Bengals (in a game that’s also at 4:00), the Steelers win the division and a first round bye.
The rest of the playoff scenarios are laid out here, where we see that the Niners only need to beat the hopeless Rams next week to secure a first round bye and keep the Saints from getting the same. We don’t see New Orleans opening the playbook tonight against a Falcons team they might end up facing two weeks later in the playoffs so we’ll take the points tonight Falcons +6.5 over Saints (10 units).
And will lay them in the Independence Bowl with Missouri -6 over North Carolina (7 units). This can be one to build on for a young and stable Missouri program while the Tar Heels are basically blowing the whole thing up after this game. Even with top five draft pick Quinton Coples playing defensive end, North Carolina hasn’t really been able to stop anybody this season.
We’re 3-2 (+8 units) Bowling for Units so far this season, and 44-27-2 (+110 units) against the spread with the NFL picks (1 unit = 1 percent of your bankroll for the season).
And here’s a good Cavs season preview from Ball Don’t Lie.
Which is all for today. Hope everyone’s week gets off to a good start.