As opposed to last week, the Browns got to play football in an environment where Mother Nature wasn't re-writing the rules. As the Browns and Ravens kicked off, it was 77 degrees in Baltimore, with winds blowing a mere two miles per hour.
Cleveland won the toss and deferred, somewhat of a change from RAC's usual approach. Maybe more than that has changed.
FIRST DRIVE (RAVENS): Browns start off strong by having Josh Cribbs fly downfield and nail Ravens kick returner Jim Joenhard at the fourteen. Flacco and the Ravens start off effectively, hitting Derrick Mason for 19 yards quickly, and later hitting McGahee for another eleven. Flacco has plenty of time to throw, and continues the drive hitting Todd Heap for fifteen yards following a leisurely lunch waiting for receivers to get open.
Ravens start very aggressively, and Cam Cameron throws a no-huddle at the Browns. The Browns are confused on defense. The Browns don't stop the Ravens advance until Cameron tries three consecutive runs. Matt Stover misses a 48-yard field goal wide right. Drive consumed eight plays and 56 yards.
- Expect a lot more of what you're seeing already – Flacco and the Ravens using play-action.
- Soft coverage is somewhat surprising due to the lack of experience at the QB position for the Ravens.
- On the McClain run for a first down, look at how LB Andra Davis was unable to disengage the offensive lineman.
- On the throw to Heap, there was nice agility by Flacco and a lack of pressure coming from the Browns.
SECOND DRIVE (BROWNS):
Browns take over on the 38 after the missed field goal and get five yards on the ground until Derek Anderson hits Josh Cribbs on a 17-yard strike downfield. With the ball in Ravens territory, a short run by Lewis is followed by two incompletions (short to Steptoe, long to Edwards). Zastudil comes in, and punts the ball into the end zone.
- Nice read by DA going to Cribbs across the formation
- The running game is going to have a difficult time until the Browns can show the pass to be effective. The Ravens are walking into the box
- Again in this game, the opposition is not respecting the Browns passing game as a vertical threat.
- Edwards was open and got an outstretched hand on the ball. The pass was off the mark by DA.
THIRD DRIVE (RAVENS): Ravens and their rookie quarterback again come out in the no huddle and rip off two quick first downs. Completions from Flacco to Clayton and Williams are key early on. A short pass and another ineffective run puts the Ravens in a 3rd-and-9 at their own 44, where he picked up a blitz and hit Williams nearly for a first down. Flacco picks up the first at midfield on fourth down. After the first down, Flacco drops again and is INTERCEPTED by LB D'Qwell Jackson. Jackson runs the ball back to to the Browns 48.
FOURTH DRIVE (BROWNS): The Browns start with terrific field position near-midfield. DA drops on first down and has a great deal of time, hitting Vickers with a five-yard run. Jamal Lewis follows up by ripping a run for 14 up the middle through a nice hole on the right side. The Ravens are missing their nose tackle, Kelly Gregg. The run puts the Browns at the Ravens 33.
After Rex Hadnot stomped on DA's foot, resulting in a loss of three, Anderson hits Vickers short, and Vickers run through tackles to the sixteen of the Ravens. Very impressive play by Vickers.
A pass to Steptoe picks up nothing, and a run by Lewis gets a tough yard, putting Anderson in a third-and-nine situation.
As the second quarter starts, Chudzinski answers the blitz by hitting Jerome Harrison with the screen pass. Harrison zigs and zags like it was September 14th for the score! BROWNS 7, RAVENS 0