Ravens Outlast Browns in Tightly Knit Ballgame BALTIMORE – In what seems to be typical AFC North fashion, Sunday’s contest between the Cleveland Browns (0-2) and the Baltimore Ravens (1-1) came down to the fourth quarter. Trent Richardson got the game started with a bang, taking the first play from scrimmage 52 yards on the ground. “We were definitely looking to come out and make a statement early on. We wanted to let them know they were going to be in a dogfight all night,” said Richardson who finished the night with 10 carries for 88 yards and a score. From there the Browns seemed to move the ball with ease making their way down inside the Ravens 10 in only a few plays. Once inside the 10 it looked as though the drive would end in a disappointing field goal until quarterback Brandon Weeden connected with receiver Josh Gordon for a 6-yard TD on 3rd down. “One of our main focuses this season as an offense is on finishing drives, finishing in the red-zone, finishing with touchdowns, not settling for 3,” said Weeden. “That is something we did a poor job of last year, but did a great job of today going 2-2 in the red-zone with 2 TD’s.” The Ravens offense, from their opening possession, looked much better than they did in week 1 at Denver. Behind the strong running of All-Pro runningback Ray Rice, Baltimore drove 75 yards down the field on their opening possession before a costly sack on 1st and goal forced the team into settling for a a 32-yard field goal. “There is no excuse for the sack down there like that,” exclaimed Ravens QB Joe Flacco. “We did a great job of moving the ball down the field to start the game and that sack ruined any chance for us to put 7 on the board.” When asked what exactly lead to the sack, Flacco was quick to respond, “I was trying to do too much. Plain and simple. They (Cleveland) did a great job of locking everyone up and instead of getting rid of the ball, I tried making a play, held onto the ball and it hurt the team. As the quarterback of this team I have to be smarter than to take an inexcusable sack in that situation.” It did not take long however for Flacco (17-24 223 1-1) and the Raven offense to get a chance at redemption in the red-zone. On Cleveland’s second possession, Baltimore LB Arthur Brown picked Weeden off returning the interception down to Cleveland’s 18-yard line. Flacco did not waste any time as he hit TE Dennis Pitta on first down for an 18-yard TD strike. Both teams proceeded to exchange scores throughout the first half with Cleveland ultimately heading into halftime with a 21-17 lead. Baltimore took the opening kickoff of the second half, and you could see their game plan stayed much of the same – feed Ray Rice. The Ravens feed Rice so much that he was surprisingly the only Raven runningback that carried the ball this week. He finished the game with 104 yards and 2 TD’s on 23 carries as he was named player of the game. “Coming in to today’s game we really wanted to get several of our runningbacks involved in the running game. All week long we worked on getting our backups more touches in practice,” explained head coach John Harbaugh. Who then went on to say, “All of them looked good this week in practice and we wanted to get them all involved, but it just so happened that Ray was the only one to carry the ball today. If we want to have a great season and a healthy Ray Rice all year, that is something we need to fix. We are going to fix it.” The fourth quarter began with the stingy Ravens defense forcing the Browns into a 37-yard FG. Facing a 24-20 Baltimore quickly drove the field only to settle for a 45-yard FG to pull the game within 1. With Cleveland poised to march the field, run clock, and extend their lead the game would suddenly change. On 2rd and 7 from the Browns 35, QB Brandon dropped back looking to hit WR Josh Gordon on a skinny post only to be picked off by Ravens CB Lardarius Webb. “That was route they had had some success with earlier in the game. Once they came out in that formation, I knew exactly where they were wanting to go with the football and luckily I was able to make a play,” Webb explained after the game. Down four with just under five minutes left in the game, the Ravens scored a TD in only three plays. Needing a two-point conversion to extend the lead to seven, Joe Flacco hooked up with the TE Pitta for the successful two-point play. With the ball down seven and only four minutes left to play, Weeden would prove to make another costly mistake. Looking to work the ball deep over the middle on 3rd down, Weeden was picked off by MLB Daryl Smith to essentially seal the victory for the Ravens. When asked what he thought about the team’s performance thus far this season, Browns QB Brandon Weeden was quick to reply, “We have played well these first two games, now we just need to find a way to continue to put everything together throughout the course of a whole game and we will win games heading into the future.” The second year quarterback, who finished 10-22 for 158 yards with a TD and 3 picks, went on to acknowledge that starts with him taking better care of the football. “Anytime you turn the football over 3 times it is tough to win in the QSF. Overall the team played a great game today, but my mistakes cost us the victory.” Although the Browns have not cracked the win column as of yet early this season, they certainly are a team that looks to be headed in the right direction. “That is one tough football team we played tonight,” stated Ravens coach John Harbaugh. He went on to say, “If not for a few timely plays by our defense late in the ballgame, we very easily would be sitting here 0-2 to start the season. I tell ya what, anyone expecting a cake walk when they play this team (Cleveland), they will certainly be in for a rude awakening.” The Browns (0-2) will look to continue their strong play as they travel to face the Minnesota Vikings (0-2) in week 3. As for the Ravens, this was their first game since new owner Josh Barnes purchased the team earlier in the week. When asked if he thought the team had a little extra motivation to come out and play well Barnes replied with a smile, “Absolutely – you always want to impress the new girlfriend.” The Ravens may not have overly impressed the new owner; however, they certainly had to of given him plenty to be excited about going forward. Baltimore (1-1) will play host to the Houston Texans (0-2) in week 3 as both teams continue to work through early season struggles after last year’s productive seasons. Game Notes: With the win Baltimore is undefeated (11-0) in their last 11 games against the Browns… CB Buster Skrine suffered broken ribs in the contest and is expected to miss 3-4 weeks… With three interceptions in the game Baltimore has now picked off at least two passes in each of their first two games this… Rookie Barkevious Mingo recorded his first sack in his young career… Ravens runningback Ray Rice topped the century mark for the 17th time in his career.