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Browns look to recapture what went so right vs. Ravens in September

It took all three units coming together to produce such a dominant effort, and it's something no one has done since the Browns downed the Ravens, 40-25, in a Week 4 matchup in Baltimore.

The Browns have won some games since that memorable Sunday, but not enough to be where they wanted to be at the start of the season. The Ravens, meanwhile, were 2-2 after that loss but are now 12-2. They've already clinched the AFC North and are one win away from locking up a first-round bye and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.

Though it's been months since the two division foes played and there's been plenty of changes to both team's gameday rosters, there's some value in the experience, Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said Wednesday.

"I think in the run game we did some good things, We know that we have to be able to run the ball and we have to be able to run the ball when we want to run the ball, but that is the case with any team in the National Football League," Kitchens said, referring to the 193 rushing yards Cleveland compiled in its win over the Ravens. "We have to create explosive plays. That is how you win football games."

Make no mistake, the teams that faced each other Week 4 and the ones that take the field at FirstEnergy Stadium on Sunday are significantly different.

The Browns, of course, have added Kareem Hunt to the mix on offense but are down a number of the players on defense who gave Lamar Jackson and Baltimore's vaunted offense some issues. Neither of the players who intercepted Jackson -- Jermaine Whitehead and Devaroe Lawrence -- are on the roster anymore, Pro Bowl pass rusher Myles Garrett is serving an indefinite suspension and Olivier Vernon, who sacked Jackson, is battling a knee injury that has kept him out of five of the past six games. On the plus side, the Browns do have CBs Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams, who were sidelined vs. Baltimore with hamstring injuries at the time, back in the mix.

Baltimore, meanwhile, has bolstered its defense with the addition of Pro Bowl CB Marcus Peters in a trade with the Rams. The Ravens will also have two veteran defensive starters (CB Jimmy Smith and DT Brandon Williams) who weren't available when the teams last met. The one significant loss the Ravens are dealing with is on their offensive line, as C Matt Skura was lost for the season with a knee injury.

"Any time you lose somebody of the stature of Myles, it definitely hurts," Kitchens said. "But there is no excuses going on here we got to play better up front, we got to play better at the linebacker spot, we got to play better at the secondary, and we have opportunities to make tackles, we got to make tackles, that is what defensive football is about. It is about being consistent on your gap control and then when you have the opportunity to make tackles, you make them. Our guys are going to work hard this week to get to the point where we can do that again."

No matter the players, there's no doubting the formula that worked on that day.

The Browns are one of two teams to out-rush the Ravens -- who average more than 200 rushing yards per game -- this season, out-gaining them 193-173. A big chunk came on Nick Chubb’s game-sealing, 88-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. Cleveland also hit on a number of big pass plays, including a 65-yard catch by Jarvis Landry and a 59-yarder by Ricky Seals-Jones, on its way to a season-high 337 passing yards. The Ravens haven't surrendered more than 268 yards since that game and have held their opponents below 200 on six different occasions.

Defensively, the Browns were the first of just two teams this season to win the turnover battle against the Ravens, picking off two passes and forcing a key fumble that helped the Browns stretch their lead in the second half.

It was an ideal performance in every sense of the word, and it will be mandatory Sunday to defeat a team that clicks on all cylinders as often as the Ravens have.

"If we play together, we play great complementary football and we execute, we are a very good football team," Kitchens said, "and when we do not, we are just like everyone else."

Check out the best photos from the Cleveland Browns game against the Arizona Cardinals yesterday by team photographer Matt Starkey