The Browns start off in a clumsy fashion on a sunny day in Cleveland.
FIRST SERIES (Browns): Following a 27-yard runback by Josh Cribbs to the Browns 31, the Browns quickly go three-and-out. Jamal Lewis runs for a half-yard on first down, followed by successive incompletions to Braylon Edwards and Syndric Steptoe.
Zastudil makes the situation worse by shanking the punt off the side of his foot where it goes out at the 47 of the Browns.
Proving that it's not impossible to make the situation even worse, Mike Adams makes sure he's offsides on punt coverage, putting the Ravens first-and-ten at the Browns 42 to start.
SECOND SERIES (Ravens): The Ravens start off running, with the speedy Ray Rice who gets five right off the bat. After an incomplete to Mark Clayton, Flacco hits Rice for six yards and a first down as he just gets across the first-down marker.
Going to the no-huddle, the Ravens then get to the Browns 29 with Ray Rice again, and then throw short to Derrick Mason for another first down at the Browns 21.
Then the Browns defense stiffens… Rice is trapped a yard behind the line by Rogers and Wimbley to make it second and eleven, and then Flacco takes a shot in the end zone for Mark Clayton, which almost works, but the ball is a bit overthrown.
Then things get a little crazy. On third-and-eleven, Alex Hall gets to Flacco who grounds the ball and gets called for it. But, the Browns had 12 men on the field. So, they try it again, this time with a bit of confusion and weirdness as Flacco leaves the field and Troy Smith runs in. After that gets settled, Smith gives to LeRon McClain who loses a yard despite holding on the part of the Ravens.
Crennel decides to decline the penalty – kind of an odd decision – so Stover's field goal try is within his range, and he nails it from 41 yards.
RAVENS 3, BROWNS 0
THIRD SERIES (BROWNS): Cribbs returns the ball to the 27… he just seems to lack the explosiveness of past years to me, but I might be saying that just because he exploded after I derided him last week.
With Cribbs in at WR instead of Donte Stallworth, the Browns go to the ground on first down and get just two to the 29.
The Browns start getting a little traction with short passes. On third down, Anderson finds K2 in space, and he takes a five yard pass and turns it into 15 upfield. First down Browns at their own 47.
The Browns then strick again, with another short pass to Jamal Lewis, who turns it into another first down with a 13 hard scamper up the Ravens sideline.
From the Ravens 40, the Browns stumble a bit. Lewis goes left tackle but gets only one, and then Kellen Winslow is called for a false start, which creates a lovely 2nd-and-14 for the Browns. With the Browns in an obvious passing situation, Trevor Pryce blows through the middle of the Browns line and hits Anderson nine-yards deep, creating a third-and-23.
That's not a good situation against the Ravens.
DA drops on third-and-long and throws right to Steptoe, who takes it to the Ravens 47 before being hit by Corey Ivy. Instead of last week's touchdown scamper, Steptoe coughs up the ball, which is covered by the Ravens Oglesby.
Ravens ball at the Browns 47.
Shanked punts, penalties, turnovers, weird coaching decisions. The Browns are digging themselves a hole.
At least the Browns are clearly tilting the field position battle in their favor. On the first series, the Ravens started at the Browns 42. This time, it's all the way back at the Browns 47. So, that's going well.
FOURTH SERIES (RAVENS): When you've just gotten a break against your opponent, go for the throat.
The Ravens do. And it works.
Flacco drops deep on first down, gets great protection, and hits Mark Clayton racing past Brandon McDonald. Clayton has to leap forward for the ball, grabs the pass, and falls forward into the end zone. Touchdown Ravens.
The hole just got a lot deeper.
RAVENS 10, BROWNS 0
FIFTH SERIES (BROWNS): Once again, taunting Cribbs in the OBR Live Blog works to perfection!!
Stover kicks off to Cribbs, who takes the ball at the ten. Cribbs sees a hole in the coverage in the middle of the field, soars through it, and then uses his leg strength to run through a tackle near mid-field. Chased by the Ravens, Cribbs all it takes is a hop by Cribbs at the ten to avoid a last-ditch diving tackle, and he's in the end zone!
TOUCHDOWN BROWNS! Josh Cribbs brings the Browns back from the cliff's edge.
RAVENS 10, BROWNS 7
SIXTH SERIES (RAVENS): Phil Dawson hammers the kickoff into the Ravens end zone. Ray Rice wisely takes a knee and the Ravens start at their own 20.
Field position, scoreboard, all better thanks to that runback by Cribbs. The Browns were sinking fast before that.
Flacco drops on first down, has time, and hits Derrick Masson for eleven yards to the Ravens 31.
From the no-huddle, the Ravens then run Rice for three yards to create a second-and-seven from their own 34. Flacco drops on second down, again has no pressure, and hits Mason at the Ravens 46.
Note to Mel Tucker: If you don't pressure the rookie, you will lose. Just thought you should know. Thanks.
Staying with the no-huddle, Rice runs right tackle for five, and into Browns territory at the 49. Rice goes the opposite way on second down, creating a third and one from the Browns 45.
Using the no-huddle with a very loud Browns crowd, the Ravens can't make their signals because of the noise. The Ravens burn a timeout. One for the home crowd… nice. Way to make a difference, Browns fans.
But it doesn't stop the Ravens from retaining possession. On the third and one, LeRon McClain goes around left tackle and it hit by D'Qwell Jackson, and carries him for a yard and the first down.
The Ravens go deep on the first-and-ten from the Browns 43, but this time Eric Wright is all over Mark Clayton and breaks up the pass. On second down, Rice goes up the middle on a handoff from Troy Smith and is stuffed, creating a third and nine.
On third and long, Flacco has plenty of time again, and hits Clayton across the middle for 16 yards at the Browns 26.
As great as the Cribbs runback was, the Browns defense has been on the field a lot early on.
With the first down, Troy Smith takes the snap and runs right where Willie McGinest hits him quickly after a yard. It's second-and-nine from the Browns 25 as the first quarter ends.