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Ravens go Retro in Home Opener

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Ravens overcome slow start, take control in second half, defeat Browns, 14-6.

Scoring Summary

        FIRST QUARTER

CLE

BAL

FG

08:40

Billy Cundiff 21 Yd

3

0

        SECOND QUARTER

CLE

BAL

FG

00:02

Billy Cundiff 51 Yd

6

0

        THIRD QUARTER

CLE

BAL

TD

05:13

Bernard Pierce 5 Yd Run (Justin Tucker Kick)

6

7

        FOURTH QUARTER

CLE

BAL

TD

08:57

Marlon Brown 5 Yd Pass From Joe Flacco (Justin Tucker Kick)

6

14

Remember that “bend, but don’t break” defense the Ravens were known for?  The type of defense that no matter how close the opposing team came to the end zone, the Ravens would hold them to a field goal?  This 2013 team showed a glimpse of Raven pride, holding the Cleveland Browns to six points (2FG’s) and no offensive touchdowns.

The Ravens fought a hard match against this young Browns team.  Every week Cleveland earns more respect for their stingy and hard-hitting defense.  Maryland natives: D’Qwell Jackson and Joe Haden were at the helm of this Browns defense, which kept Baltimore scoreless in the first half.  Brandon Weeden showed poise throughout the game completing 21/33 passes for 227 yards.  Trent Richardson, on the other hand, felt this inspired Ravens defense the worst getting crushed on several rushing attempts, only gaining 58 yards on 13 carries in Sunday’s afternoon loss.  Credit to the Ravens defense.

Wow!  What a difference a week can make.  After giving up over 500 yards to the Denver Broncos in the season opener, the Ravens defense cut that in half, limiting the Cleveland Browns to 259 total yards.  Daryl Smith and Lardarius Webb led the way combining for 20 tackles in the win.  Terrell Suggs (a.k.a. T. Sizzle), Daryl Smith and Arthur Jones recorded at least one sack whilst keeping the Browns from the end zone in the touchdown shout out.  With the offense still adjusting to new pieces, the Baltimore defense will need to keep that same intensity into the bye week.  The question is can the Ravens play that well on the road? Three out of five of the games before the bye week are away games (at Buffalo, at Miami, and at Pittsburgh).  Miami is 2-0 and Buffalo has shown promise in the first two weeks of regular season play.  No need to discuss the Steelers, who were abysmal in their week one loss to Tennessee.

With the defense taking care of business, quarterback Joe Flacco transformed back into his usual self, throwing for 211 yards and one touchdown.  There is still some uncertainty about his receiving weapons, but Marlon Brown stepping up big time to deliver the game’s only receiving touchdown was encouraging. He finished with four catches, 45 yards and scored on a slant route where he snatched the ball out of the air for a 5-yard reception.  Brandon Stokley pitched in with four catches, and Torrey Smith had his second straight game over 80 receiving yards, which puts him on pace to record more than 1,200 receiving yards for the year.

Despite the offense’s success in the second half, the tight end and running back positions are big questions marks.  Tight ends Ed Dickson and Dallas Clark have no chemistry with Joe Flacco, and, as of now, look out of place with the offense.  Running back Ray Rice, for the second week in a row, has looked out of sync and is now out until further notice with a hip injury. Unfortunately for the Ravens, the injury bug has plagued them on offense with one main target going down at every skill position (WR, TE, RB).*See “Team Notes”

Overall, how refreshing was it to see some good ol’ fashion Ravens football?  No matter how ugly a win looks, it’s a win.  Any team would rather start 1-1 and gain a divisional win in the process, than start 0-2.  Although the next five games for the Ravens will not be easy, this is the perfect stretch for a young team to mature and measure themselves going into the bye week.

*Team Notes

  • Defense held Cleveland to no offensive touchdowns (2FG’s)
  • Offense improved their third down conversion rate from 36.4% to 50% in week two
  • Flacco: no turnovers
  • Key Injuries: Ray Rice (Hip), Jacoby Jones (Knee), Dennis Pitta (Hip, out for season)
  • Next five games: Houston, at Buffalo, at Miami, Green Bay, at Pittsburgh
  • Bye week: Week 8

 

By Darnell Dixon, SEN Analyst

Any thoughts or suggestions email me: ddixon@sentelevision.com

Follow me on Twitter: @DDixon_SEN

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