Ravens - Browns: 5 reasons for the outcome

1. In yet another road meltdown that typified an underachieving season, the Baltimore Ravens' intensity waned and quarterback Kyle Boller's hot streak skidded to an alarming halt.

The Ravens' sloppy 20-16 loss Sunday to the Cleveland Browns, which dropped Baltimore (6-10) to 0-8 away from M&T Bank Stadium with an 11-game road losing streak that dates back to Nov. 14, 2004, was low-lighted by squandering a 13-0 lead. Cleveland scored 17 of the game's final 20 points for their lone win in the AFC North. The Ravens failed to capitalize on any of their three red-zone opportunities as penalties, inaccuracy from Boller and a porous offensive line were the major breakdowns. Baltimore converted only 4-of-18 third downs, a putrid 22-percent clip.

2. Boller failed to follow up two impressive performances, regressing to 15 of 36 passing, including a 1-for-7 third quarter for 13 yards. He finished with 151 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions to safety Brian Russell for a 31.1 quarterback rating. Boller was errant late in the fourth quarter on a deep pass intended for Derrick Mason that could have been a game-winning touchdown or given Baltimore a first-and-goal if he hadn't sailed the football out of bounds. Boller was victimized at times by the offensive line's failure to pick up blitzers up the middle. Afterward, Boller said he hoped to be retained as the starter for 2006. Last week, he said he was certain he would be back and welcomed any and all competitors.

3. Defensively, Baltimore had rookie quarterback Charlie Frye on the ropes, including a forced fumble that Adalius Thomas returned for a touchdown. But they let him off the hook. He rebounded from a rough start to complete 8 of 11 passes in the third quarter for 78 yards and a touchdown. Although Frye was intercepted twice and sacked four times, his scrambling kept Cleveland in the game. He ran around long enough on a muddy field and clearly out-dueled Boller.

4. The Ravens' special teams units were as messy as the field conditions. They allowed Dennis Northcutt to reverse field and slip through linebacker Adalius Thomas' tackle attempt for a 62-yard punt return for the game-winning touchdown. They surrendered a 54-yard kickoff return to Josh Cribbs that set up a Frye touchdown. Plus, rookie long snapper Matt Katula's wide snap caused an aborted field goal attempt in the second quarter.

5. Wide receiver Antonio Bryant had more than enough time to break free downfield for nine receptions, 123 yards and a touchdown.

In addition to being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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