EASY PICKINGS PAY OFF

THE BALTIMORE SUN

The Ravens' suffocating defensive effort in their 34-3 pasting of the Cleveland Browns on Sunday at M&T; Bank Stadium was highlighted by interceptions from a pair of unlikely sources.

Cornerback Domonique Foxworth grabbed the fifth interception of his career, and linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo got his second as each picked off Cleveland quarterbacks on their opening drives of the first and second halves to snuff out any potential hope the Browns had for an upset.

The interceptions led to touchdown runs by Willis McGahee and Ray Rice, respectively, paving the way to the Ravens' win.

"It was huge to come back from the San Diego game and make some plays this week to get the monkey off your back," said free safety Ed Reed, who also had an interception. "It was just guys being where they were supposed to be and executing the game plan."

Foxworth's interception set the tone for the Ravens' defense as he accurately read quarterback Brady Quinn's pass to wide receiver Braylon Edwards on an out route with Cleveland threatening to cross midfield.

"In those situations, when you play a premier receiver, I think a lot of teams take for granted that the defender is going to be a little soft in coverage," Foxworth said. "After last week, that was the last thing on my mind, just giving them underneath stuff. I wanted to make plays and make plays badly."

Ayanbadejo's takeaway was nearly as impressive. Shadowing Mike Furrey, Ayanbadejo found an errant pass from Derek Anderson in his abdomen.

"Coach [Vic] Fangio [who tutors the linebackers] always says, 'It's going to be hard to get an interception. They're not going to throw it right to you like I do,' " said Ayanbadejo, who also recorded his second career sack when he took down Quinn in the first quarter. "But the guy threw it right to me better than Coach Fangio throws it to me in practice."

Touchdown Willis

McGahee currently leads all NFL running backs and receivers with six touchdowns.

With 38 touches this season, the running back has scored a touchdown once every 6.3 times he touches the football.

"It's all right," said McGahee, who has rushed 32 times for 190 yards and caught six passes for 41 yards. "As long as we're winning, that's what counts."

Not to be outdone, Ray Rice enjoyed the first trip to the end zone of his career when he scampered 9 yards to give the Ravens a 27-0 advantage in the third quarter.

"I was patient enough," said Rice, who leads the team in carries (38) and rushing yards (192). "I would always get down there and sniff it. But it does feel good to say that I got one, and I'm going to get that ball and frame it."

Making up for lost time

After enduring two seasons with no interceptions, strong safety Dawan Landry recorded his second straight game with a pick when he grabbed a deep pass from Anderson intended for Edwards midway through the fourth quarter.

"He tossed it up and didn't really see me. I just made a play on it," said Landry, who leads the Ravens in interceptions with two. "The D-line's been getting a lot of pressure, and that just gives us a chance to make plays on the ball. We got four today. We're just trying to do that each and every game."

JJ's OK

Outside linebacker Jarret Johnson said he had no doubt he would make his 38th consecutive start despite missing a good chunk of practice last week because of an injured left shoulder.

"Sitting on the sideline is far worse than being out there and struggling a little bit," said Johnson, who added that he was unaware that he has played in 87 consecutive games. "I felt pretty good today, and when you've got that many good guys behind you, they're going to help you."

Reed, who had been questionable Friday with a recurring nerve impingement in his neck, said the injury requires day-to-day monitoring.

"It's sore, and it's just something I'm going to have to deal with," he said. "It's not something that is going to heal in-season. It's something I'm going to have to take care of eventually."

End zone

Kelley Washington has caught 12 of 13 passes thrown in his direction - with the only exception occurring Sunday when he dropped a pass from Joe Flacco in the end zone in the second quarter. "I was hoping to be perfect, but we've got to make some more plays," Washington said. ... After the game, Browns coach Eric Mangini was asked whether his approach with the players - which includes fines - was working. "I've dealt with a lot of football players over time, and I feel very comfortable with my ability to deal with people," he said. ... Tight end L.J. Smith caught a pass for 26 yards in his first regular-season game for the Ravens. "It felt good to get a pass - a meaningful pass," said Smith, who hadn't played since pulling his left hamstring Aug. 24. "Hopefully, I can just stay healthy." ... Offensive tackle Jared Gaither also played despite missing practice Wednesday and Thursday with the flu before returning Friday. Gaither had been probable Friday but was downgraded to questionable Saturday. ... The Ravens deactivated offensive tackles Oniel Cousins and Tony Moll, linebackers Dannell Ellerbe and rookie Paul Kruger, tight end Tony Curtis, running back Jalen Parmele and defensive tackle Kelly Talavou. John Beck was the third quarterback. ... Cleveland played without two offensive starters in running back Jamal Lewis (hamstring) and right guard Floyd Womack (ankle). Jerome Harrison started for Lewis; Hank Fraley replaced Womack. Kicker Billy Cundiff, signed Saturday, kicked off for the Browns, who did not have Phil Dawson (right calf). Cleveland also deactivated tight end Greg Estandia, offensive lineman Rex Hadnot, defensive back Gerard Lawson and rookie wide receiver Brian Robiskie. Brett Ratliff was the third quarterback. ... McGahee, defensive tackle Kelly Gregg and return specialist-cornerback Chris Carr represented the Ravens for the pre-game coin toss.

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