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Instant Analysis: Ravens 25, Browns 15

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Instant Analysis: Ravens 25, Browns 15

Coming out of the bye week, the Ravens promised to showcase a more efficient offense in their first AFC North road game of the season. 

For one quarter, they succeeded Sunday by grounding the hurry-up offense and relying on the running of Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce to set the table as they tallied 11 first downs. 

The problem: The Ravens only had one first down for the next two-plus quarters 

QB Joe Flacco started by completing 10 of his first 12 passes, but he went cold until the last drive of the fourth quarter when he led Baltimore 81 yards on nine plays to retake the lead with a 19-yard TD pass to Torrey Smith with 4:26 left.

Flacco then hit Anquan Boldin on the two-point conversion of the final margin. He finished 15-for-24 for 153 yards without a turnover as Flacco remains unbeaten in 10 career games vs. Cleveland.

The last time Baltimore lost to this team was 2007, the season before Flacco’s rookie season and John Harbaugh’s arrival as coach.

The Ravens won the first meeting this season, 23-16, in Baltimore.

This was the perfect opponent for the Ravens to get their confidence back with a 43-13 loss at the Houston Texans in Week 7 and a bye in Week 8.

Flacco came in averaging only 189 yards passing per game on the road, and hadn’t had a 300-yard passing game since Week 4 against the Browns.

It appeared he didn’t need a big passing day with the way they ran the ball early.  The Ravens took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter on scoring runs of 8 (Rice) and 12 (Pierce). 

It was the first time since Week 2 that the Ravens scored at least a touchdown in the opening quarter and represented their second and third touchdowns on the road this season. Before Sunday, they’d only had one TD in 10 quarters away from home.

Player of the game: Rice, who was the Ravens’ only consistent offensive option, had 98 yards on 25 carries and a TD.

The turning point:  With the Ravens struggling to generate offense, Browns S T.J. Ward is called for personal foul with a blow to the head on Flacco. The ball was moved to Cleveland’s 43 that led to the go-ahead touchdown by Smith in fourth quarter.

Sizzle effect: LB Terrell Suggs was in surprisingly good form in the Texans game despite it being his first game of the season coming off an Achilles tear. He didn’t have a sack Sunday and was relatively quiet.

Pick play: One play after S Ed Reed dropped an easy interception from Weeden with the ball in Ravens territory, CB Cary Williams made a diving snag of an errant pass on third down and returned the ball 26 yards to the Browns’ 39. It was Williams’ fourth pick of the season.  He got his first pick of his career in the first game against the Browns, returning it 63 yards for a touchdown that proved to be the difference in the victory in Baltimore. Reed finally got his interception on Cleveland’s last possession of the game from Weeden.

Run defense: The Ravens have allowed an average of 207 yards per game on the ground in their last three outings, including a franchise-record 227 to the Dallas Cowboys. On Sunday, the Browns fell behind by 14 points early but stuck with Trent Richardson. He only put up 47 yards on 14 carries in their first meeting, but this defense was missing three key defensive starters (LB Ray Lewis, CB Lardarius Webb and DE Pernell McPhee) as Richardson had 76 yards on 14 carries by halftime as they were able to trim the deficit to 14-9.  He was held to 29 yards in the second half. The Browns had 116. The Ravens had been allowing 142.9 per game.

Drive-killers: Faced with good field position to start the second half on their first two possessions, holding penalties by Sean Considine and LaQuan Williams negated it.

Missing in action: Dennis Pitta has gone from Flacco’s favorite target to a non-factor. He was targeted 23 times in the first two games of the season, hauling in 13 catches for 138 yards and one touchdown. But in six games since then, including Sunday’s game when he had two catches for 33 yards, Pitta has had 19 catches for 171 yards and one touchdown.  With the Ravens backup on their own 10 to start the third quarter, he hit Pitta on second down for what would’ve been close to a first. Pitta, however, couldn’t hold on when he was hit and it was ruled incomplete. The result was a quick three-and-out series and the Browns getting possession near midfield.

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Joe Flacco not at all concerned with Jalen Ramsey's 'he sucks' comment

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Joe Flacco not at all concerned with Jalen Ramsey's 'he sucks' comment

After spending 10 years in the National Football League, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has been called just about everything.

His "eliteness" has been in question ever since winning the Super Bowl during the 2012-13 season, and while Flacco is known for his "cool as a cucumber" demeanor, he still hears all the noise.

In an interview with GQ, Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey gave an uncensored review on some of the league's top players. When asked what he thinks of Flacco, Ramsey responded with "And just being honest about it, [Joe] Flacco sucks. I played him two years in a row. He sucks."

Just one of several QBs Ramsey took a shot at, Flacco will be adding his comment to the laundry list of opinions.

“I don’t really have much of a comment,” Flacco said, via the Baltimore Sun. “I don’t really care. There’s plenty of people out there saying things. Just add one more to the list. No big deal.”

After finishing the 2017 season with 3,141 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions, there were a lot of opinions surrounding Flacco's future with the team. Those opinions ramped up when the Ravens traded up in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft to select Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson.

But Flacco has begun quieting those doubters with what has been his strongest and healthiest training camp in years. And with Jackson still adjusting to NFL style of play, the 2018 season is Flacco's time to prove he's still got it.

While Ramsey isn't too high on Flacco, the All-Pro cornerback foresees a successful career for Jackson.

"I would've picked [Lamar Jackson] earlier than 32," Ramsey said. "I think he's gonna do a good job. Especially with the [Baltimore Ravens'] offensive coordinator—he likes running quarterbacks, likes that read option."

Among other QBs Ramsey sounded off on was Bills first-round draft pick Josh Allen, who he called "trash," said Ben Roethlisberger is "decent at best" and that Jared Goff is "average to above average."

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Ravens vs. Colts preseason: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

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Ravens vs. Colts preseason: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

After 10 days and two testy joint practices with the Colts, Ravens football is back.

The guys are in Indianapolis to take on the Colts in their third preseason game of the season. You can expect to see Lamar Jackson and RGIII getting more reps in, but it's unclear how much of Andrew Luck we'll see after he missed the entire 2017 season with a shoulder injury.

While the joint practices brought a few brawls, head coach John Harbaugh has been nothing but impressed with how his team has been handling training camp and the preseason thus far.

"I think about as good as [I’ve] ever seen,” Harbaugh said via the Ravens' website. “I’d have to say our best camp in terms of guys focused on improving every day and becoming one percent better at what they do from one day to the next and keep building on that. That’s what I’m proud of.”

Ahead of their matchup, here's everything you need to know to watch.

Ravens vs. Colts Preseason Game:

Who: Baltimore Ravens vs. Indianapolis Colts 

What: Preseason Week 3

When: Monday, Aug. 20, 2018, 8:00 p.m. ET

Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana 

TV Channel: ESPN

Live Stream: WatchESPN

Radio: WBAL New Radio 1090 and 98Rock, ESPN Radio

Weather: 78 degrees, scattered thunderstorms

Preseason Schedule:

Hall of Fame Game: Thurs., 8/2 vs. Chicago Bears. 8:00 p.m. (W: 17-16) 

Week 1: Thurs., 8/9, vs. Los Angeles Rams, 7:30 p.m. (W: 33-7)

Week 2: Mon., 8/20, at Indianapolis Colts (Monday Night Football, ESPN), 8:00 p.m. 

Week 3: Sat., 8/25 at Miami Dolphins, 7:00 p.m.

Week 4: Thurs., 8/30 vs. Washington Redskins, 7:30 p.m.

Ravens 2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Week 1: Sun., 9/9 vs. Bills, 1:00 p.m.

Week 2: Thur., 9/13 @ Bengals, 8:20 p.m.

Week 3: Sun., 9/23 vs. Broncos. 1:00 p.m.

Week 4: Sun., 9/30 @ Steelers, 8:20 p.m.

Week 5: Sun., 10/7 @ Browns, 1:00 p.m.

Week 6: Sun., 10/14 @ Titans, 4:25 p.m.

Week 7: Sun., 10/21 vs. Saints, 4:05 p.m.

Week 8: Sun., 10/28 @ Panthers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 9: Sun., 11/4 vs. Steelers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 10:  BYE week

Week 11: Sun., 11/18 vs. Bengals, 1:00 p.m.

Week 12: Sun., 11/25 vs. Raiders, 1:00 p.m.

Week 13: Sun., 12/2 @ Falcons, 1:00 p.m.

Week 14: Sun., 12/9 @ Chiefs, 1:00 p.m.

Week 15: Sun., 12/16 vs. Buccaneers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 16: Sat., 12/22 or Sunday 12/23 @ Chargers, TBD

Week 17: Sun., 12/30 vs. Browns, 1:00 p.m.