Entering Thursday night's game, the Ravens led the NFL with 19 completions of 20 or more yards. They added five more against the Browns, giving them 24 in four games. That total is eight more than the Carolina Panthers, who are second in the NFL with 16. No wonder Flacco, who threw for 356 yards on Thursday, ranked second in passing yards through three games.
Harbaugh said Cleveland's emphasis on stuffing Rice opened up some deep throws for Flacco.
"You have to do that, and there was a lot of tight coverage out there. I thought the guys did a good job, too, of making catches for him [and] Joe throwing the ball into tight spots with tremendous accuracy," Harbaugh said after the game. "That defensive front is really good. That is a good, young front. They did a nice job, and as you said, they were loading up the box."
After second-year wide receiver Tandon Doss came up with a 39-yard grab Thursday, eight different Ravens now have receptions of 20-plus yards. Torrey Smith leads the Ravens with six.
Harbaugh loving support from Orioles
In the second half of Thursday's game, the high-definition video boards at M&T Bank Stadium showed Orioles manager Buck Showalter, Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr., and several Orioles players watching the game from a suite inside the stadium. Harbaugh was touched that the Orioles, who had a night off from their pennant race, showed up at the stadium to support the Ravens.
"That was big. I didn't think about it until I saw those guys up there," Harbaugh said. "I think the world of that team. I love Buck. I think he does a great job. They play fundamentally sound baseball. My dad is a big baseball guy, so we grew up watching [Cleveland] Indians games."
Harbaugh believes the Ravens can draw inspiration from the Orioles, who keep finding ways to overcome adversity and win games. "This is a special team, man," Harbaugh said of the Orioles.
Ravens players have the weekend off and will return to the facility Monday to start preparing for next Sunday's game against the Chiefs. Harbaugh said the offensive line, which has two unproven starters in rookie right tackle Kelechi Osemele and young left guard Ramon Harewood, played "amazingly well" in the first quarter of the season. Harbaugh said on Flacco's interception Thursday, his first in the red zone since December 2009, the quarterback might not have seen Browns linebacker Craig Robertson sneak into the flat to pick off the pass. Linebacker Paul Kruger, who recorded his first sack of the season and broke up two passes against the Browns, said Thursday was the closest his back has felt to 100 percent since he first injured it. Tucker was glad he bounced back by making an extra point after the first missed field goal of his career. The miss sailed just wide of the right upright from 47 yards out.
Baltimore Sun reporter Aaron Wilson contributed to this article.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun