The Browns had an up-and-down start to their 2007 season, but things were on an up when they hosted the Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 30 at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
Playing a team that had beaten them four of the last five times, and six of the last eight, the Browns jumped to a 14-point first-quarter lead, increased it to 21 points late in the second quarter, and rolled to a 27-13 win before a crowd of 73,024.
The victory continued the pattern the Browns (2-2) had followed through their first three games, losing the opener to the Pittsburgh Steelers, beating the Cincinnati Bengals and then falling to the Oakland Raiders by two points.
The Ravens saw their two-game winning streak end in dropping to 2-2.
Browns quarterback Derek Anderson made the most of nearly everything he tried against his former teammates, connecting on 10 of 18 attempts for 204 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. He had completions of 78 yards for a touchdown to wide receiver Braylon Edwards and 49 yards to tight end Kellen Winslow.
The one to Edwards produced the Browns’ second score of the first quarter and thus set the tone early.
Running back Jamal Lewis, another former Raven, gained 64 yards, but included in that was a 28-yarder along with a one-yarder for a touchdown.
The Browns came up big defensively as well, yielding yardage but not points.
On special teams,
Excelling in all three phases, then, the Browns turned in about as complete of a performance as a team can have.
Anderson threw a two-yard scoring pass to wide receiver Joe Jurevicius, a product of Mentor (Ohio) Lake Catholic, to open the scoring. Then came the 78-yarder to Edwards to make it 14-0 after one quarter.
Matt Stover hit a 21-yard field goal for Baltimore, but then
The teams then traded field goals, Stover making a 29-yarder as time was running out in the first half and Dawson with 20-yarder late in the third quarter, to put the score at 27-6.
Steve McNair’s four-yard pass to tight end Quinn Sypniewski with 7:14 left merely padded both players’ stats.
The Ravens were headed toward a 5-11 finish.
The Browns would lose to the New England Patriots the following week to continue their on-again, off-again season, before getting on a roll and winning three straight, five of six and seven of nine.
The result was a 10-6 record, the same as Pittsburgh and Tennessee. But on tie-breakers, the Browns were beaten out for the AFC North crown by the Steelers, and also for the conference’s final wild-card spot by the Titans.
Still, it had been an exciting and productive season for the Browns as they recorded their most wins since 1994.