For the most part, the Ravens defended fairly well during Sunday's loss to the Cleveland Browns. But the Browns converted a couple of critical plays on fourth down and also exploited a few Ravens breakdowns. "It's just really rough," cornerback Corey Graham said afterward. "It seemed like everything went those guys' way. We couldn't get a break. We just got to play better. It's real simple. We have to make more plays than we are making right now. Those guys went out there and made a lot of plays. The receivers made plays for the quarterback. It just [stinks] right now. It's tough. Everybody needs to get better." One of those breakdowns came when the Ravens were trailing by four points in the second quarter. Quarterback Jason Campbell and the Browns, who had started their drive near midfield, had advanced the ball to the Ravens' 20-yard line, where they needed 3 yards on third down to move the chains again. They would get more than that, though, when Browns slot receiver Davone Bess, who has been under fire in Cleveland recently, made a play that was all over the highlight reels Sunday and Monday morning. The Browns went three-wide with top receiver Josh Gordon alone on the left side of the formation. Tight end Jordan Cameron was flexed out to the right. Bess was standing on the numbers on the right, stacked behind wide receiver Greg Little. He motioned left into the slot before the ball was snapped to Campbell. The Ravens crowded the line of scrimmage, leaving Matt Elam as the lone deep safety. The Ravens were playing tight man-to-man across the board in Cover One. Strong safety James Ihedigbo had Cameron in the slot. Cornerback Lardarius Webb had Little. And nickel cornerback Corey Graham covered Bess.
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The Ravens were blitzing with a five-man rush. Outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil and inside linebacker Josh Bynes were both lined up wide of the right tackle. Outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Courtney Upshaw were lined up wide of the left tackle. After the snap, Dumervil and Suggs crashed down to attack the guards while Bynes and Upshaw tried to beat the tackles. Inside linebacker Daryl Smith ended up joining the rush after he saw that Browns fullback Chris Ogbonnaya was staying in to pass protect. The play would develop quickly, though. Gordon ran straight up the numbers, but Jimmy Smith was all over him. Ihedigbo blanketed Cameron on his crossing route. And Webb had pretty tight coverage on Little, who ran a deep out toward the sideline. Campbell was reading the route combination on the right. Bess, meanwhile, darted to his left as if he was running a slant, but he hit the brakes after a few yards, made a sharp cut back to his right and ran toward the sideline. His whip route was so effective it caused Graham to tumble to the turf. The separation allowed Campbell to complete the pass before Dumervil hit him. "I was just excited and happy to be there for my teammates," Bess told reporters after the game. "When the plays was called, coaches did a great job putting me in a position to make the play and just execute it."
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Each week, blogger Matt Vensel breaks down a critical play, sometimes with the help of Ravens players and coaches, from that week's game. Today, he looks at the second touchdown scored by Cleveland Browns wide receiver Davone Bess in the Ravens' 24-18 loss in Cleveland on Sunday.