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Instant analysis: Down go the Browns


Instant analysis: Down go the Browns

Ravens 23, Browns 16
at M&T Bank Stadium

Given that Ray Rice rushed for 291 total yards in two meetings Cleveland last season, he was bound to have another big performance Thursday.

Wrong. Instead, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco aired it out again, passing 28-for-46 for 356 yards and one touchdown in a no-huddle offense that lacked consistency throughout.

Flacco, who has never lost in nine games vs. the Browns since being drafted in 2008, also had a one-yard touchdown run. Rice finished with 49 yards on 18 carries, an average of 2.7 per.

The much-maligned defense that gave up 486 and 396 in the last two games allowed the Browns (0-4) to get 357. Rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden threw for 320 yards, but he was just 25-for-52 and failed to throw for a touchdown.

The Ravens weren't efficient on offense as Rice couldn't find room to run and the line allowed four sacks of Flacco.

Player of the game: WR Anquan Boldin, who had only 10 catches for 118 yards in his first three games of the season, had nine catches for 131. Boldin also had three catches, 18, 21 and 21 yards, on the Ravens first drive of the second half that resulted in a touchdown to make it a two-possession game at 16-7.

The turning point: CB Cary Williams jumped in front of a third-down pass from Weeden to Travis Benjamin and went 63 yards for a touchdown that gave the Ravens an insurmountable 23-10 lead with 2:07 left in the third quarter.

Highlights: LB Paul Kruger, who has been limited by a back injury since the start of the season, got his first sack by dropping Weeden on a third-and-7 for a six-yard loss. Kruger also defensed a pass play on the Browns first drive that forced a punt. DT Haloti Ngata collapsed the pocket around Weeden and got so much leverage upfield that it gave Trent Richardson limited room to run. He was held to 47 yards on 14 carries. Before Weeden was sacked, he was hit early and often. In the first quarter alone, Ray Lewis delivered two blows and Kruger hit him once. All three of those hits came on third downs. Lardarius Webb broke up what appeared to be a sure 33-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Norwood in the end zone that couldve cut the deficit to two for Cleveland. Instead, Phil Dawson converted a 51-yard field goal.

Lowlights: Browns WR Joshua Cribbs had to leave the game because of a head injury when he was sandwiched by Dannell Ellerbe and Morgan Cox on a punt return, his helmet flew off and the back of his head smashed onto the FieldTurf. Cribbs didnt return because of a head injury. Flacco threw an interception in the end zone that was grasped by Craig Robertson. It was Flaccos first interception inside the 20-yard line in 125 throws. The last time that happened was Dec. 7, 2009 vs. the Green Bay Packers. After P Sam Koch buried the Browns on their own 6 with a 50-yard punt, Williams gave up a 43-yard catch to Greg Little to led to the Browns first points. Justin Tucker missed his first field goal wide right from 47 yards in the rain after a sack of Flacco and a series of penalties ruined what appeared to be a TD drive. ... A holding penalty on LT Michael Oher negated Rice's best run, a 21-yard gain in the fourth quarter. ... The Ravens had 11 penalties for 100 yards.

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Ravens place Marquise Brown, Jaylon Ferguson on reserve/NFI list

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Ravens place Marquise Brown, Jaylon Ferguson on reserve/NFI list

With training camp just six days away, here is the latest news surrounding the Baltimore Ravens.

1. Ian Rapoport reported that the Ravens have placed Marquise Brown, Jaylon Ferguson and two others on the reserve/NFI list. He later added that Brown is still recovering from Lisfranc surgery but is "progressing well" and Ferguson is dealing with a "minor hamstring" injury.

2. The entire Baltimore Ravens class is officially under contract after the signing of wide receiver Miles Boykin. Boykin was a third-round pick out of Notre Dame.

3. Michael Vick joined The Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan Friday morning and when asked which young quarterbacks in the NFL most emulate his style, he answered: "Lamar Jackson" along with Kyler Murray and Cam Newton.

Looking Ahead:

July 24: Ravens training camp begins. Rookies are set to report a week earlier on Wednesday, July 17. 

The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

Credit: Rotoworld and Baltimore Ravens for news points.


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A big Year 2 ahead, Lamar Jackson isn’t worried about Madden ratings

A big Year 2 ahead, Lamar Jackson isn’t worried about Madden ratings

The number eight is sports royalty in the city of Baltimore thanks to Cal Ripken Jr.

If Lamar Jackson has the career many are hoping for, he’ll be another reason for that one day down the road.

For now, he’s a young, athletic quarterback entering his second season in Charm City. But his successful rookie year hasn’t been reflected in Madden NFL 20’s newest ratings.

Jackson came in with an overall rating of 76, tied for 24th among all quarterbacks. Unsurprisingly, his athleticism is highly-regarded, as he leads all signal-callers in speed, acceleration, agility, and elusiveness.

Questions abound about his throwing abilities, leading to the low rating. But that’s not a concern for Jackson himself.

“I can’t feel no way,” the quarterback told media members prior to throwing out the first pitch at the Orioles-Nationals game Wednesday night. “You know, I don’t make Madden. That’s them. But I feel like our team, we’re going to show ‘em this season.”

Jackson continued to praise the Ravens roster. When asked about the high ratings for teammates like Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and Earl Thomas, Jackson put his thoughts quite succinctly: “We look stacked!”

Of course, with speed and acceleration ratings like Jackson has, it’s fun to imagine how he might fit in on a baseball diamond as well.

“Whew, somewhere in the middle, to make a play,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde decided when asked where the Ravens quarterback might play on his roster.

“I’m looking forward to meeting him. I’m a big football fan, so watched him play a lot. And if he wanted to play center field or up the middle, it’d be great,” Hyde continued.

The speedy quarterback agreed, though it came with a caveat.

“Probably,” Jackson quickly answered when asked about his best fit being center field. “But you know, I’m the Ravens QB right now, so I’m good.”

He doesn’t know what his walk-up song would be if he played baseball, but Jackson was definitive about one thing at least: his hot dog preferences.

“I don’t really eat mustard,” he emphasized. “So I just put ketchup, relish...I just go from there. Pretty standard.”

When he’s not eating hot dogs, Jackson is working hard to build chemistry with his new receiving corps, and he seemed optimistic about the results it will bring on the field.

“Looking pretty good,” he described. “You’ll have to see for yourself.”

Knowing how many dual Orioles and Ravens fans there are in Baltimore, Jackson was also happy to provide a little hope as the city’s attention starts to shift from baseball to football. He gave a message to O’s fans who have sat through months of losing baseball and are looking to the Ravens to bring winning back to the city.

“Look forward to us coming out and balling,” he said. “Can’t say too much right now, [the] season’s not here!”

The Ravens season will be here soon enough, and when it is, Jackson will be ready to go out and show both local and national fans what he can do, regardless of what his Madden rating says.