Week 3 was the charm for the Baltimore Ravens, who finally displayed explosiveness on offense after struggling in the first two weeks of the season. Ravens receiver Anquan Boldin scored three touchdowns to help Baltimore beat the Cleveland Browns, 24-17, at M&T Bank Stadium Sept. 26..

Boldin came up big for Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who had one of his worst career performances against Cincinnati. Flacco was able to bounce back, completing 22 of 31 passes for 266 yards, three touchdowns and a passer rating of 128.7.

The Ravens secured the win when…

Joe Flacco completed a three-yard pass to T.J. Houshmandzadeh to pick up a first down with just over two minutes left in the game. The Ravens were sitting on a 24-17 lead and simply ran the rest of the clock out to earn their first AFC North Division win of the season.

Outstanding Player(s) of the Game:

Boldin had his coming out party as a Raven Sunday, catching eight passes for 142 yards and three touchdowns. Boldin’s first touchdown catch of the game made him the fastest player in NFL history to reach 600 career receptions and his three touchdowns tied a Ravens record for second-most in a single game.

“I guess it’s something to be proud of, but at this point I don’t really want to dwell on it,” Boldin said of his 600th career catch. “I think once my career is all said and done, it’s something I’ll look back on. I think as a player you can’t get caught up in things you do while you’re playing. For myself, I always want to stay hungry. You can never be satisfied.”
Unsung Hero of the Game:

There isn’t a better kick returner in the NFL than Browns’ Joshua Cribbs, but the Maryland native hardly had a chance to return any kicks, thanks in large part to Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff. After the Ravens took a 21-17 lead in the fourth quarter, Cribbs hoped to put his team in good field position with a long return. Instead, Cundiff booted the kickoff 78 yards and deep into the Browns’ own end zone, forcing Cribbs to kneel for a touchback. Cundiff booted another kickoff for a touchback after nailing a 49-yard field goal to make the score 24-17.

“I told he was a stud when he came off the field. I couldn’t think of a better word,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “We were piddling around in our minds of squib-kicking it and side-kicking it and stuff like that because is dangerous. But Billy said, ‘I want the deep kick’ and he came through twice.”

More Game Notes:

The Browns’ most productive player was running back Peyton Hillis, who ripped the Ravens’ defense for 144 yards on 22 carries. He’s only the second running back in more than 40 games to rush for more than 100 yards against the Ravens’ stingy defense.

“This guy, Hillis, we watched him on tape and we thought, he’s a downhill player…he’s physical, I mean, this guy is hard to bring down,” Harbaugh said. “He’s a north-south runner and he’s a guy we’re going to have to contend with for a long time in this division.”

Next Up:

The Ravens (2-1, 1-1 AFC North) will travel to Pittsburgh to face key division rival, the Steelers, on Oct. 3 at 1 p.m. The Steelers will be without franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, but that hasn’t stopped them from rolling to a 3-0 record so far this season. The Steelers have perhaps the best defense in the NFL, so it should be a very physical matchup.


Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor