CLEVELAND - For 30 minutes, the Baltimore Ravens were inefficient, unproductive and disorganized.
In 17 seconds, they changed all that.
Ray Rice scored on a 13-yard run and safety Dawan Landry returned an interception of Brady Quinn 48 yards for a touchdown on Cleveland’s next play as the Ravens overcame a horrendous start for a 16-0 win over the hapless Browns on Monday night.
The Ravens (5-4) didn’t score in the opening half, when they used up their three timeouts in the first 6:15, committed silly penalties, converted just one third down and actually made the Browns (1-8) look respectable.
But on Baltimore’s first possession of the second half, quarterback Joe Flacco connected on a 41-yard pass to Derrick Mason, who spun out of cornerback Brandon McDonald’s tackle and raced down the sideline to the Cleveland 13. Rice took it in from there to make it 7-0.
On the next snap, Quinn, making his first start since being pulled 10 quarters into the season by Cleveland coach Eric Mangini, threw high and wide to tight end Robert Royal and the ball bounced to Landry, who scampered in untouched to make it 13-0.
The Ravens missed the extra point, but that hardly mattered against a Cleveland offense that has scored only five offensive TDs in its past 15 games and didn’t cross the Baltimore 45-yard line.
It was Baltimore’s first shutout since Nov. 26, 2006, and it came at the perfect time for the Ravens, who had dropped four of five and were in danger of falling too far behind Cincinnati and Pittsburgh in the AFC North.
Instead, they feasted on Quinn, who was sacked four times, hurried countless more and finished just 13 of 31 for 99 yards and two picks. Mangini switched to the former first-round pick after Derek Anderson went 1-4 and posted the NFL’s lowest quarterback rating since replacing Quinn at halftime of a 34-3 loss to the Ravens on Sept. 27.
But Peyton Manning under center couldn’t help this bunch of Browns, who managed just 74 yards after halftime.
Cleveland had the ball 13 times. The Browns punted nine times, threw two interceptions and ran out the clock to end the league’s first scoreless opening half this season.