Browns vs. Ravens: Final Grades, Analysis for Baltimore
The Ravens are looking to avoid a hangover after a big win in New England, while the Browns are hungry for their first win of the season.
We will be grading the Ravens throughout the game, so make sure to check back for the latest analysis.
Joe Flacco, QB—C+
Flacco probably would have an A if he had received sufficient blocking. Ultimately, though, his mechanics failed him at times due to the pressure. He also struggled to keep the ball moving and close the game in the fourth quarter.
Flacco did do a lot of good things, though. He was effective passing the ball to all of his receivers, and his deep accuracy was phenomenal when he had time.
Joe Flacco is still struggling with his mechanics to an extent. The pressure hasn’t messed with his head, but he needs to be able to feel confident in stepping up in the pocket.
I blame the offensive line for Flacco's struggles this quarter, but he didn't look as good as he previously had.
Joe Flacco continued to look in command to start the quarter. Even with pressure in his face, Flacco has yet to look rattled in this game.
Despite a mediocre performance from a lot of his teammates, Flacco has looked excellent tonight. Not perfect, but very good.
Joe Flacco once again overcame a slow start to look very good in the second quarter. He’s been accurate and has made good decisions.
One criticism I will make is that Flacco isn’t always displaying good mechanics in this game. He has been throwing off his back foot a lot, and it has resulted in some ugly throws. Even under pressure, Flacco needs to maintain his mechanics.
Flacco’s first quarter was hit or miss. His deep accuracy was not impressive on some throws, but he still looks in command of the offense.
Grading Flacco is difficult due to the pressure he has been under in this game.
When given time, though, Flacco still threw a bad interception. The decision to throw into double coverage was bad, but the throw was even worse.
I might be in the minority, but Ray Rice did not impress me tonight.
Rice struggled to find holes and he looked hesitant to cut outside, even when there was open field. Rice did run with good speed, but he lacked power and usually went down on first contact.
That kind of effort won't kill the Ravens against the Browns, but they'll need a better performance against the top teams.
Pierce outplayed Rice tonight, as he looked more powerful and faster.
Like Rice, Pierce struggled finding holes. Where Rice just picked up a few yards, though, Pierce exploded through the hole for some nice gains.
This was Pierce's best game as a pro, and he looks to be improving rapidly. He will be fun to watch going forward.
Torrey Smith kept the momentum from Sunday going tonight, as he had an excellent game. Smith made several impressive catches and showed that he is a top receiver for the Ravens.
On the downside, Smith occasionally struggled to get open, as the Browns were paying him a lot of attention.
While Smith can dominate single coverage, he's not quite good enough to dominate despite significant defensive pressure. Very few can, of course, but Smith is so good that that's the last step he needs to make.
This is the best Boldin has looked in a long time, as he took advantage of single coverage throughout the second half.
Boldin showed incredible hands, awesome strength and surprising agility for his age. He still struggles to get open, but he's so strong and dynamic in jump ball battles that it hardly matters.
This wasn't Jones best game, as he was largely held in check. He got open a few times, but the pressure on Flacco ensured he wasn't able to connect on some deep throws.
Nothing good from Pitta tonight, who struggled in blocking and didn't catch a ball. The Browns paid close attention to him and shut him down.
Oher was largely dominated today, and he cost the Ravens thanks to several penalties. Oher wasn't a problem in run blocking, but he did struggle in pass protection. He did have a nice heads up block on one run play, where he was the pulling tackle.
Ramon Harewood was often blown off the ball tonight, as he struggled with the Browns' bull rush. The Ravens also got no push up the middle in the run game, so Harewood is in part responsible for that.
Birk also struggled to get push in the running game, but he wasn't whipped as often as some of the other linemen were. He still didn't excel.
This is back to back tough games for Yanda, who struggled to get major push. Yanda was probably the best of the Ravens linemen, but that's not saying much tonight.
Osemele probably got whipped more than any other Raven tonight. Once, a Browns' defender got right into the backfield seemingly before Osemele was out of his stance.
Ngata was among the defensive MVPs for the Ravens. He was the only defensive linemen getting off his blocks consistently, and he also helped push the pocket.
Kemoeatu didn't do much of note this game, and he occasionally seemed to get pushed around. He didn't get completely dominated, but he didn't do anything special either.
McPhee is definitely struggling to get to the passer this season. Teams are ready for him, and he hasn't developed his ability to shed blocks enough to compensate.
Kruger did a lot of good things tonight, especially in pass defense. Kruger was the only Raven to get a sack, and he broke up multiple passes.
He was a little less stout against the run, but he wasn't a liability either. His grade is hurt by a boneheaded penalty at the end of the game, though.
Lewis didn't play well tonight. Trent Richardson often drug Lewis a few yards before finally being brought down.
Further, the middle of the field was often open in zone coverage. Lewis and Dannell Ellerbe both struggled in that regard.
After a hot start to the season, Ellerbe cooled off today. He didn't do much of note other than nearly killing Josh Cribbs. He's going to get a hefty fine, but other than that, this game wasn't really impacted by Ellerbe.
McClain was a decent pass rushing option today, as well as solid in run support. He didn't excel, but he was probably the best out of the inside linebackers.
McClellan was a sure tackler in run support, but he did little in rushing the passer.
Upshaw had a similar game to McClellan. No major mistakes, but no impact plays either.
There is no question Webb is a top cornerback, but he's not perfect. He got beat a few times tonight, and he missed a tackle or two as well. He still was excellent in coverage.
Williams gets the most improved player award this week, as his pick-six was the key to the game for the Ravens.
While Williams still got beat on a deep pass, he played much better this week against a slower receiver. When he's not mismatched athletically, Williams is solid, but still needs to work on his ball skills.
Jimmy Smith didn't play well tonight, as he got beat a few times and missed some tackles.
Reed struggled in coverage tonight, but he never got beat deep.
Like Reed, Pollard gave up some passes that should have been covered better. He also missed some tackles.
Tucker made a field goal and missed a field goal tonight. His kickoffs were still excellent, though. It seems when Tucker misses a kick, he misses it right, so that is something to work on.
Koch was largely excellent as a punter, but he should have caught a slightly off snap from Morgan Cox.
This was probably Thompson's worst performance as a returner, but the Browns always have good coverage units. Nothing to worry about here, but he didn't look particularly good.
Jones was largely forced to make fair catches, and he did that well.
Cox had a bad snap, but it still should have been caught.
Cam Cameron called a good game tonight, but the offense under-performed. He needs to improve that offensive line, but Flacco and Cameron seem to have a great relationship this year.
I'm still very concerned about the Ravens tendency to give up passes over the middle of the field, but the defense was better tonight.
The pass rush was non-existent, but that's a personnel issue more than it is coaching.
The Ravens were flat and undisciplined tonight. Harbaugh needs to figure out how to get this team ready to play after an emotional win.