- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 22, 2002

OWINGS MILLS, Md. Now the Baltimore Ravens must win and wait.
The Ravens must defeat the Cleveland Browns today and hope the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers tomorrow night to keep their AFC North title hopes alive.
The loser of today's game at Ravens Stadium will be eliminated from playoff contention. Buoyed by a 7-3 conference record, the Ravens (7-7) have a slim chance of getting a wild card if they beat Cleveland and Pittsburgh next week.
"There is just one [playoff scenario] for us beat Cleveland, period," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "It's simpler when it's real clear-cut like this. There is no ambiguity about it. We know what is in front of us, as does Cleveland coming in."
The Ravens stunned the Browns 26-21 on Oct.6 in Cleveland, when rookie safety Ed Reed intercepted Kelly Holcomb's pass in the end zone on the last play. Browns starting quarterback Tim Couch suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter and had to leave the game.
Also in that game, Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis partially dislocated his left shoulder pouncing on a fourth-quarter fumble. Lewis played just one game afterward (Nov.17 at Miami) before being placed on injured reserve. He underwent shoulder surgery last week.
"These guys are used to Ray coaching them," Billick said of his team's undisputed leader. "They go over to his house during the week. His presence is always a positive."
Both teams have changed key offensive personnel since their first meeting. The Browns have inserted rookie running back William Green into the starting lineup in place of ineffective Jamel White. A back injury to quarterback Chris Redman forced the Ravens to go with veteran backup Jeff Blake. In both cases, the moves have worked.
Green, whom the Browns took with the 16th overall pick out of Boston College, has rushed for 492 yards and three touchdowns in the last five games. During last April's NFL Draft, the Ravens tried to trade up to get Green. For the season, he has rushed for 653 yards and four touchdowns.
"Before, they were basically shuffling backs to see who was going to get the job done, and Green emerged," Ravens middle linebacker Ed Hartwell said. "This late in the season, he definitely stepped up and took the job over."
Blake has gone 4-4 as the Ravens' starter and has six touchdown passes and just two interceptions in the past three games.
Jamal Lewis, the Ravens' 1,141-yard rusher, ran wild in the first meeting between these teams. Lewis gained 187 yards on 26 carries, which tied the second-best rushing day in team history.
The Ravens can expect this game to be close. Of the 30 games the Browns have played under coach Butch Davis, 17 have been decided in the final minute. Two weeks ago in Jacksonville, the Browns beat the Jaguars 21-20 on a 50-yard Hail Mary from Couch to Quincy Morgan on the game's last play.
Ten of the Browns' last-minute finishes have been this season. Against Kansas City, linebacker Dwayne Rudd was flagged for an unsportsmanlike penalty when he ripped his helmet off to celebrate an apparent victory only to see the Chiefs get ball at the Browns 12. That set up a 30-yard field goal by Morten Andersen as time expired in the Chiefs' 40-39 win.
"This season has been one of unbelievable ups and downs from an emotional standpoint because so many of the games have been so close, so many of the games have been decided in the last four or five minutes," Davis said.

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