DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The numbers don't lie when it comes to the Browns and the Ravens, especially when it comes to their quarterbacks.
We've already reminisced about Josh McCown's team-record 457 yards in Baltimore a year ago. Those numbers came in an overtime win, which is especially significant because it was one of only two wins that McCown has managed to produce in his last 20 games. Two for your last 20 isn't exactly a ringing endorsement that things are about to get better for the Browns, yet as his teammates rally around him, they insist we should dismiss those stats and instead focus on the savvy veteran quarterback that McCown has become.
"People look at the track record and look at the overall record of him and I say that's BS," said wide receiver Terrelle Pryor, a former Ohio State quarterback, said on Thursday. "Go watch this guy's film when he played for Chicago. Even Tampa, he had a lot of good games throwing the ball. Last year he lit a lot of teams up."
Yes he did, hitting the Ravens for those 457 passing yards in October, which capped off another Browns-record three week stretch of 1,154 yards. Yet the Browns won only one of those games, and McCown wouldn't win again before the Ravens ended his season with a broken collarbone in Week 12.
On the other sideline, the numbers are glaring as well. Joe Flacco is 13-2 against the Browns in his career. He didn't beat them in 2015 (Matt Schaub started the November game for the Ravens), but he's pretty much owned them since coming into the league.
Browns head coach Hue Jackson had a little to do with that -- he was Flacco's position coach in Baltimore during Flacco's first two years in the league. And he admits, he has a sense of pride in Flacco's success, just not this week.
"Oh, I have from afar. I just don't want to see it this week," Jackson said. "He is a very talented player. I knew that he was going to be a star in this league. He is big, physical, can throw the ball -- any ball you want thrown. He is very bright and I think people think Joe doesn't have a lot of passion, but he does. He loves to win. He has done a great job. Obviously, he has led that team to a Super Bowl. He is one of the better quarterbacks in the National Football League. I thought that is exactly what he would be. We have to do everything we can on our side defensively to do everything we can to slow him down. This is a quarterback-driven league, and he is one of the better players so we have to do everything we can to take that away from him this weekend."
The NFL is a quarterback-driven league, no doubt. Which is why the Ravens, led by a Super Bowl champion, have the edge. Unless, of course, McCown can reach down and find another 457 yards somewhere.
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