The scary injury to Ravens safety Dawan Landry was a sobering moment in Baltimore's 28-10 win over Cleveland at M&T Bank Stadium yesterday and it also was clearly a turning point in the game. At the time, the Browns led 10-7 with less than a minute remaining in the first half and the game was being contested fairly evenly.
However, Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs said that the Baltimore defense -- specifically the front seven -- blamed itself for Landry being injured and a new resolve took hold. On the play, Browns running back Jamal Lewis had broken into the second tier of the Ravens' defense and Landry and cornerback Chris McAlister had to bring him down after a 9-yard gain. Landry made contact low and took a knee that left him motionless on the field as his teammates gathered to pray. He was taken off the field on a cart as the stadium went silent. Fortunately, Landry had feeling in all his extremities and the diagnosis has been good.
But again, it was the injury to Landry and the realization that Lewis had been allowed to get to the secondary that motivated the Ravens, according to Suggs.
"We lost one of our soldiers because we really weren't really playing Ravens' defense up front," Suggs said. "They were able to do whatever they want, and that's not how we play football, and we end up losing a guy. We all knew it. It kind of hit the rest of the 10 guys who were out there. So we got in here, in the locker room, (defensive coordinator) Rex (Ryan) cussed us out the way he usually does, and we came out, we were fired up and it started with a big hit from Ray (Lewis). After that it just snowballed, we just kept going."
The Ravens went on to outscore Cleveland 21-0 in the third quarter, mostly on inspired defensive play that included two interceptions, one by safety Ed Reed for a touchdown. In the second half, the Browns had just 17 net yards.
"Right after (Landry) left, I locked eyes with ... (Reed) and said, 'Come on, come on,'" Suggs said. "We knew it, we knew it. ... We all looked at Dawan laying there and we were worried. And the front seven knew, it was like (Jamal Lewis) shouldn't even got (to the secondary). We definitely weren't playing our most physical football at that moment and he got hurt. And that's why every time you've got to line up and you've got to be a Raven. You have the Ravens decal on your helmet, you have to play like a Raven every play so, you know, stuff like that doesn't happen."