It wasn't a carbon copy, but the Ravens' defensive blueprint in Sunday evening's 24-10 victory over the Cleveland Browns was very similar to the one they used against the San Francisco 49ers on Thanksgiving.
For a second straight game, the Ravens smothered their opponents' running attack, then chased their quarterback. The Ravens sacked second-year signal-caller Colt McCoy three times, forced him from the pocket on a few other occasions and briefly knocked him out of the game.
"We've got some young hunters. We've got some killers up front, so they were getting after it," Ravens linebacker Jarret Johnson said. "We were able to keep coming from different angles."
Visibly rattled by the Ravens' pass rush, McCoy completed fewer than half of his pass attempts.
"We knew they were going to try to pound [Browns running back Peyton] Hillis and get the ball out quick," Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "Our [secondary] played phenomenal tonight, and when the quarterback has to hold onto the ball, then you get to go after him a little bit."
McCoy was 17-for-35 for 192 passing yards and threw a late touchdown to tight end Evan Moore. The Ravens picked off him once — Jimmy Smith's second career interception — but the players felt they left a few big plays on the field after getting their fingertips on nine other passes.
"I saw the quarterback's eyes and where he wanted to go, so I sat on it," Smith said of his second-quarter interception. "They're using me a lot more and I'm happy with what I'm doing."
The coverage in the secondary stood out, but McCoy's uniform told the story of his evening.
McCoy strutted into the huddle in the first quarter, his white jersey and white pants looking like the finished product in a Tide commercial. By the time he hobbled off the field at the end of a soggy evening at Cleveland Browns Stadium, his uniform was severely stained from head to toe.
After 18 errant passes from McCoy, the game balls probably wound up with grass stains, too.
"He will make the throws if you give him time but our [defensive] line was in his face all night," Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb said. "He didn't have a chance to get to hike, it seemed like."
McCoy left the game with a knee injury in the first quarter after he was hit while throwing a screen pass to Chris Ogbonnaya. Seneca Wallace spelled him for one play.
"I don't think [it affected my play]," McCoy said. "I think more than anything it stunned me."
McCoy had 12 yards on four scrambles as the Ravens held the Browns to 59 rushing yards. They said their plan all along was to make the Browns one-dimensional, just as they did to the 49ers.
"We had to stop Peyton Hillis and their running attack. You can see how physical he is," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "Colt McCoy is a heckuva quarterback. They have some weapons out there and he didn't really have a lot of time to find them back there except for one play."
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