Dolphins quarterback Cleo Lemon rolls out of the pocket as he is chased by linebacker Terrell Suggs at Dolphin Stadium on December 16, 2007 in Miami.
Dolphins quarterback Cleo Lemon rolls out of the pocket as he is chased by linebacker Terrell Suggs at Dolphin Stadium on December 16, 2007 in Miami. (Doug Benc / Getty Images)

Some time this week the Ravens should make outside linebacker Terrell Suggs stand before the team and talk about Cleo Lemon.



Cleo Lemon. He was the starting quarterback for the Miami Dolphins who were winless in 13 games, but beat the Ravens, 22-16, on a warm, windy day at Dolphin stadium in December of 2007. Lemon, a no name, threw for 315 yards and a game-winning touchdown in overtime as he helped the Dolphins avoid becoming the first 0-16 team in NFL history (the following season, the Detroit Lions seized that undistinguished title).

The Ravens got beat by a Lemon.

They face another one Thursday night as the winless Cleveland Browns (0-9) come to M&T Bank Stadium. Only two current players besides Suggs were on the Ravens roster back then, punter Sam Koch and guard Marshal Yanda, but Suggs suffered more embarrassment because he played on defense.

The only other Raven who suffered more indignity was Brian Billick, who was fired as the team's head coach at the end of that 5-11 season.

So, it was easy to see why Suggs and the Ravens were more focused on the Browns than celebrating the win against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.

"This is just one game, though," Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith said. "We know we have to come out and be on point against Cleveland coming up. They jumped out on us by 20 points out there and it's always a tough game against the Browns. We have our hands full coming up Thursday and need to play well to make this win meaningful."

This could be one of those trap games. The Browns are awful. They've won only one game in their last 20 and have started three quarterbacks and used six this season. The Browns are ranked No. 19 in total offense and No. 31 in defense.

The Ravens' win Sunday moved them into a first place tie with Pittsburgh in the AFC North, but they will lose the momentum if they lose to Cleveland.

It would be a setback as significant as the back-to-back losses to the Giants and Jets in New York in Weeks 6 and 7.

"We want to be a veteran team and not make the same mistakes twice," Suggs said. "You all know we started out pretty good, 3-0, and we had some opportunities to just take some steps, and we missed those opportunities. So this is a perfect opportunity. We got another one to take another step. Veteran teams, good teams, they don't take steps back."

Plus, it's a personal thing. No team wants to lose to Cleveland.

On the flip side, the Browns don't want to become a part of modern football history.

The young Browns will remain hungry, as opposed to older teams with veterans who might want to shut it down. Miami wasn't going anywhere in 2007, but the Dolphins didn't want to be humiliated. They played the Ravens like it was the Super Bowl.

Cleveland will fight just as hard. The Browns have always played the Ravens tough. Cleo Lemon, though, has been replaced by Cody Kessler, the Browns' rookie quarterback and third-round pick out of Southern California.


Against the Steelers, the Ravens had their strongest defensive effort of the season. They held Pittsburgh to 277 yards of total offense and held Le'Veon Bell, one of the game's top running backs, to 32 rushing yards on 14 carries.

But when Pittsburgh started to attack the Ravens with the passing game in the fourth period, the Steelers scored twice in the final nine minutes and the Ravens didn't secure the victory until they recovered an onside kick with 48 seconds remaining.

"We gave up some plays down the stretch, and I don't like that," Suggs said. "You don't ever want to have to win the game with your hands team, especially when you have a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter. So, like I said, we've definitely got to finish better. You know, a win is a win. We're going to take the win, but we're going back to work on the short week."

Unlike the Steelers, the Browns don't have a dynamic player like Bell at running back, or Antonio Brown at wide receiver or Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback.

Their players have smaller reputations, but they're still capable of pulling off an upset, as they almost did against the Ravens in Week 2.

The big questions about the Ravens are still centered on their offense. They could muster only one offensive touchdown against the Steelers, who were ranked No. 27 in total defense. The Browns are worse, but there is nothing to prove that the Ravens can take advantage.

We've seen matchups like this before involving the Ravens. The Washington Redskins and Oakland Raiders entered their games against the Ravens with statistically poor defenses, but both beat the Ravens at M&T Bank.

The Browns don't have a quarterback the caliber of the Redskins' Kirk Cousins or the Raiders' Derek Carr, but the Ravens might want to take a look at history. Nine years ago, Miami was in a similar situation as the Browns and the Ravens got squeezed by Lemon.

That loss left a sour taste in their mouths and became a major date in Ravens history.