The Baltimore Ravens extended their string of season home-opening victory streak to six straight years after defeating the Cleveland Browns, 14-6, on Sept. 15 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md. The victory also marked the 11th straight win over the Browns, dating back to 2008.
The Ravens had to overcome a very slow start to the game as they went scoreless in the first half and trailed the Browns, 6-0, at halftime. But Baltimore executed better on offense the second half and scored 14 unanswered points. The Ravens ‘defense also dominated in the third and fourth quarter, shutting the Browns’ offenses out to stamp the 14-6 win.
Ravens Player of the Game:
Ravens veteran middle linebacker Darryl Smith led the game 11 tackles and also led his team with 1 1/2 sacks. As the middle linebacker, he orchestrated a Ravens defense that held the Browns out of the end zone all game, allowing just two field goals and only 259 total yards on offense.
Unsung Hero of the Game:
The Ravens didn’t look very impressive on offense all game, especially in the passing game, which makes sense when you realize that most of their best receiving targets from last year’s Super Bowl champion team are either injured or playing for another team. But one Ravens receiver has impressed: Undrafted rookie Marlon Brown, a 6’5, 210-pound target out of the University of Georgia. Brown caught four passes for 41 yards and a touchdown against Cleveland. It was his second touchdown of the season, the first coming against the Denver Broncos in week one. If Brown keeps up the production, he could end up being one of Flacco’s most trusted weapons throughout this season.
More Game Notes:
In spite of dropping a potential touchdown pass, Ravens third-year receiver Torrey Smith led the Ravens with seven catches for 85 yards. Brown also dropped a potential touchdown pass early in the game.
Second-year running back Bernard Pierce led the Ravens with 57 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries; Ray Rice ran for 36 yards on 13 carries before leaving the game early with a hip injury.
Sixth-year quarterback Joe Flacco completed 22-of-33 passes for 211 yards, a touchdown and finished with a 94.4 passer rating. The Ravens finished with 296 yards on offense. Shockingly, Ravens second-year kicker Justin Tucker missed both of his field goal attempts today -one from 50-yards out and another from 44-yard out. Ironically, Browns kicker Billy Cundiff, known famously in Baltimore as the former Ravens kicker who missed a chip-shot kick that cost them the AFC Championship against the New England Patriots two seasons ago, scored all six of the Browns points with two field goals.
Next-up: The Ravens (1-1) will host the Houston Texans (2-0) on Sept. 22 at 1 p.m.