Baltimore Ravens win home opener against Cleveland Browns 24-10
The Baltimore Ravens force 5 turnovers against the Cleveland Browns in their home opener as they win 24-10.
The Ravens forced 5 turnovers in consecutive games as it is a franchise first for the Ravens. The Browns were coming off a close game as they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-18 in week 1. The Browns run game struggled again and there were not many options for Kizer/Hogan to throw to against a revamped Ravens secondary. Joe Flacco was more consistent this week with more passes, as they went away from the run a few times when they ran the ball over 40 times last week against the 0-2 Cincinnati Bengals. Jeremy Maclin and Terrance West both had touchdowns in back to back weeks but Benjamin Watson was the catalyst for the passing game today. The offense was more balanced as they did their part to wear down the young Browns defense but Flacco still threw an interception this game, which is the 8th consecutive game with an interception by him. Even though the Ravens won the game, there were still some major injuries in today’s game for the Ravens as it will impact the rest of the season.
The Ravens lost a few impact players in this game; including All-Pro Marshal Yanda with an ankle fracture and undrafted rookie Bam Bradley with a torn ACL, who are both out for the whole season.
Both Yanda and Bradley will be put on injured reserve in the coming days as the Ravens have stated that Tony Bergstrom will replace Yanda for now. This is a huge blow as it is a big step down from Yanda to Bergstrom as this is a reshuffled offensive line already. Brandon Williams and Maxx Williams were also injured in this game with foot injuries as they are awaiting the return of Za’Darius Smith, who was injured last week with a knee injury. Some additions will be made this week to try to replace their key losses with 15 players on injured reserve so far. As the Ravens head to London for their Week 3 tilt against the 1-1 Jacksonville Jaguars, here is what I saw in today’s game.
The Ravens run game was again effective with Javorius “Buck” Allen, Terrance West, and Alex Collins all getting snaps.
The Ravens were committed to the run last week and while they were more balanced this week, the Ravens still ran the ball 29 times. Harbaugh said after the game that he gave fewer snaps to West later on because he didn’t want him to get injured when the Ravens were up by 2 scores. West still had a rushing a touchdown with 8 carries for 22 yards and Allen had 14 carries for 66 yards. Collins was getting more work near the end, rushing 7 times for 42 yards and Maxx Williams and Michael Campanaro also got a rush each, which was intriguing. Collins did fumble but the Ravens still gave him carries to finish out the game, as he was elevated to the roster from the practice squad and was kept over Jeremy Langford, who the Ravens waived yesterday. With their healthy rotation of running backs, the run game should be pretty consistent and involved going forward.
The tight ends were more involved in this game than last week and Jeremy Maclin got his 2nd receiving touchdown in consecutive games.
Joe Flacco did better this week, throwing for 217 yards with 25 completions in 34 passing attempts and threw 2 touchdowns with 1 interception. The Ravens threw the ball more this week and the gameplan was more balanced as they did go away from the run game more than they needed to. Veteran Benjamin Watson exploded as the main target, with 8 catches for 91 targets and was the big play receiver for the Ravens to move the chains. Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle combined with 5 catches for 30 yards and Javorius Allen had 5 catches for 35 yards and a receiving touchdown. Jeremy Maclin had more targets this week, with 4 catches for 31 yards and a receiving touchdown, as Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman were quite and combined with 1 catch for 7 yards and a couple vital drops. I would imagine they will get involved in the coming weeks as the big play deep threat receivers that can stretch the field when Flacco gets in sync with them.
DeShone Kizer showed some poise but made some rookie mistakes last week and it continued today as the whole Browns offense struggled against the Ravens defense.
Kizer came out of the game with a migraine in the 2nd quarter and was replaced by Kevin Hogan, who led the Browns to 10 points and went 5/11 for 118 yards with 1 passing touchdown to rookie David Njoku and 1 interception to rookie Tyus Bowser. Kizer did not do much better when he came back into the game, as he went 15/31 for 182 yards with 3 interceptions and no passing touchdowns. Those interceptions went to the much-improved secondary (Eric Weddle, Ladarius Webb, Brandon Carr). Both quarterbacks were pressured a handful of times as the Browns let up 3 sacks to Terrell Suggs (who forced a fumble), Patrick Onwuasor, and rookie Tyus Bowser (each with 1 sack) but still held the ball too long and made some questionable throws. Other than Rashard Higgins, who was elevated from the practice squad yesterday and had 7 catches for 95 yards, the other receivers were quiet. Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson Jr. combined for 58 rushing yards on 14 total carries as C.J. Mosely lead the Ravens in tackles, with 8 combined. If the Ravens keep this up, they could win most of their games on defense alone and they will have to against a talented Jaguars defense.Follow @kookykim1357