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Ravens vs. Browns Week 2 report card: Offense

Ravens vs. Browns Week 2 report card: Offense

It wasn’t pretty at times, but it will go down as one of the biggest comebacks in franchise history.

Now it’s time to hand out the grades after the Ravens’ 25-20 win at Cleveland, beginning with the offense:


Joe Flacco helped create the 20-0 hole with an early interception, but he never panicked and ended up throwing a pair of touchdown passes to Mike Wallace.

Flacco finished 25-for-45 for 302 yards, with those two touchdowns and two interceptions. His timing still looks not quite there, and he still had to deal with a collapsing pocket too many times. He also wasn’t helped by drops. But give Flacco credit for taking command: With the offense sputtering, he lobbied offensive coordinator Marc Trestman to open up the offense and take more deep shots downfield.


The Ravens once again couldn’t establish much on the ground, a troubling trend through two weeks. Justin Forsett had an 11-yard run — the Ravens' longest of the season — but averaged 2 yards on his other 13 carries. Terrance West (11-42) fared a little better and again helped eat up clock in the fourth quarter. But the Ravens aren’t showing a lot of burst and aren’t making people miss.

Two notable issues Sunday: A fourth-and-2 toss sweep that gained only 1, and Forsett running out of bounds on a sweep late in the game when the Ravens were trying to chew up time.


It was a rough start for rookie Ronnie Stanley, but he and rookie Alex Lewis improved as the day went on. The Ravens continue to struggle to open holes for the running game. Joe Flacco wasn’t sacked on Sunday but the pocket is collapsing too often, and he was hit just as he threw several times.

Jeremy Zuttah has had a rough start. Just out of curiosity, when the Ravens run on fourth-and-2, why do they decide to go left behind rookie linemen when they have a Pro Bowl guard on the right side?


Dennis Pitta was the highlight of the offense on Sunday, with nine catches for 102 yards on the field where he suffered his second major hip injury two years ago.

He and Flacco appear to be back in sync, and Pitta is a reliable chain-mover. Crockett Gillmore had one catch for 22 yards but also had a bad drop.


Mike Wallace caught two more touchdowns and is well on his way to the career revival he spoke of when he signed with the Ravens. Steve Smith (3-64) was quiet early but sparked the Ravens touchdown drive to open the second half. And Smith had a huge block on one of Dennis Pitta’s long receptions.

Breshad Perriman had a pair of catches, and the Ravens took their deep shots with him more than once. Chris Moore had a terrible drop off his fingertips. Has anyone seen Kamar Aiken?


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Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

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Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

The Baltimore Ravens have signed WR Michael Crabtree to a three-year deal on Friday according to general manager and executive vice president Ozzie Newsome.

The deal is apparently worth $21 million, according to Adam Shefter.

After being released by the Raiders Thursday following the signing of Jordy Nelson, Crabtree heads to the Ravens less than 24 hours later.


The 31-year-old is coming off a 2017 season when he recorded 58 receptions for 618 yards and eight touchdowns. In 2016 he posted 89 receptions for 1,003 yards and eight touchdowns.

Since 2015, the Texas Tech product has scored 25 receiving touchdowns, the fifth-most in the NFL. Crabtree and Steelers WR Antonio Brown are the only NFL players to post at least eight touchdown catches in each of the past three seasons.


In all, Crabtree has played nine NFL seasons – six of them with San Francisco (2009-14) and three with Oakland (2015-17). The former first-round draft pick (10th overall, Texas Tech) has registered 579 receptions for 6,870 yards (11.9 avg.) and 51 touchdowns in 125 career games (122 starts).

“Michael has played very well against the Ravens, so we know firsthand the attributes he brings to the game,” Newsome said in a team statement. “He is a smart, tough, physical receiver who battles for the ball. We like his temperament and believe he is a good fit for our football team, on and off the field.”

Since he entered the NFL in 2009, Crabtree’s 51 receiving scores rank 10th among active wide receivers, while his receptions (579) are seventh, and his receiving yards (6,870) are 12th.

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Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

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Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

The most obvious move in the NFL this offseason was the Ravens signing a new wide receiver (or three). It was less obvious why the team decided to commit so much money to former Redskins receiver Ryan Grant.

Grant has long been beloved by his coaches and teammates, but the results have never been there on game day. He has some potential to improve if given a larger role in a team's offense, which he likely would have had in Baltimore, but it never made much sense to offer him a 4-year contract worth nearly 30 million, with $14.5 million guaranteed.

Thankfully for fans who were uninspired by the reported agreement, Grant was unable to pass his physical and will not be joining the team.


At a press conference Friday morning, GM Ozzie Newsome called the void a "medical decision" that Newsome had no control over. 

NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported that Grant is recovering from a Grade 2 sprained ankle that would need two months rest.

You have to feel for Grant, who by all accounts has worked his tail off for many years just waiting for his chance. It's never easy missing out on nearly $15 million dollars guaranteed, but Grant should be able to find work with another team.

The timing of this news, coming so soon after former Raider Michael Crabtree became available, seemed fishy to some.

At Friday's press conference, Newsome also said the team would have still pursued Crabtree if they signed Grant. 

It's probably not fair to suggest that an NFL franchise would actually so publicly back out of a deal just because another option came along, as any team with that reputation would struggle to attract future free agents. That said, it could end up working out splendidly for the team.

Besides, if all else is equal, shouldn't a team located in Baltimore be going after a guy named CRABtree?