Instant analysis of the Ravens' 23-21 victory over the Cleveland Browns

September 21, 2014|The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore Sun reporters, columnists and editors share their initial thoughts on the Ravens' game against the Cleveland Browns in Week 3 of the 2014 NFL season.

Jeff Zrebiec, reporter: This one came at a huge cost. Dennis Pitta may be done for the season with a hip injury. Terrell Suggs (groin) and Chris Canty (knee) both left the game early. Left tackle Eugene Monroe and cornerback Jimmy Smith both hobbled out of the locker room. It's fair to question what the Ravens will be able to get from cornerback Lardarius Webb after watching him play today. But the Ravens will worry about those things in the days ahead. On Sunday, they celebrated a victory they badly needed.

Aaron Wilson, reporter: The Ravens manufactured a dramatic comeback victory behind a game-winning field goal by Pro Bowl kicker Justin Tucker. But it was a costly win as tight end Dennis Pitta injured his right hip again. The Ravens may have discovered a new running back to carry the workload with an impressive effort by rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro, who churns out yards with a powerful one-cut running style. The Ravens displayed deficiencies on defense, where the entire secondary had suspect coverage and tackling, especially strong safety Matt Elam, cornerback Asa Jackson and cornerback Lardarius Webb. There was almost zero pressure on Brian Hoyer, who picked apart a vulnerable defense that now has some serious questions to answer about how it’s going to defend better quarterbacks and offenses going forward.

Peter Schmuck, columnist: The Ravens discovered a young running back, and Joe Flacco did what he has done so many times -- kept his composure until the opportunity to win the game arose. They might still be the Browns, but that was a very good road win.

Jon Meoli, reporter: No one is going to confuse that for a good win, but that's the type of game the Ravens lost countless times last season. The defense held late when it mattered, though not really at any other point, and the pass defense by players not wearing No. 22 is a huge concern. Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs finished the game in a ballcap on the sidelines. Tight end Dennis Pitta left on a cart. The offense didn't miss him too much, and the running game shined with Lorenzo Taliaferro. This team has to commit to the run more heavily in the future, both to maximize its efficiency on offense and keep the defense off the field.

Childs Walker, reporter: This was the type of win that separates a playoff season from a nonplayoff season. The Ravens overcame a late-game deficit on the road and a disheartening injury to Dennis Pitta, all against the backdrop of continued national scrutiny over their handling of the Ray Rice situation. Though questions remain about the secondary and other facets, their resolve was impressive.

Ron Fritz, sports editor: The Ravens lose Dennis Pitta, but they have just enough offense and defense to get the job done on the road. Any AFC North matchup is a slugfest, and this was no different. Cleveland’s play-calling late in the game left a lot to be desired.

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