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Instant analysis from the Ravens' 14-6 win over the Browns

FootballCleveland BrownsRay RicePeriodicalsJoe FlaccoBrandon Weeden

Ron Fritz, sports editor: A win is a win. The biggest question is the extent of Ray Rice's injury. The Ravens' defense was outstanding, although I'm not sure the Browns' offense is that good. Joe Flacco and the Ravens' offense did just enough in the second half to win the game. It does appear, though, that there is hope in Cleveland. The Browns, with a rookie head coach, looked like a football team for a change.

Mike Preston, columnist: The same Ravens weaknesses showed up, but this week they just happened to play the woeful Cleveland Browns, not the Denver Broncos. 

Peter Schmuck, columnist: The Ravens kept everyone in suspense for the first two quarters, but fell into a good offensive rhythm in the second half. They didn't answer all the questions that cropped up after the Bronco blowout -- and there will be some more this week with the injury to Ray Rice -- but they did answer the challenge and held serve.

Jeff Zrebiec, reporter: Until quarterback Joe Flacco gains some chemistry and confidence with his new pass-catching group, this game will probably serve as a snapshot to how the Ravens will have to win. Of course, the offense has to play better and if the opposition was better, the Ravens might have found themselves down two touchdowns at halftime instead of two field goals. But the defense -- and Cleveland's own futility -- bailed them out. The Ravens won ugly all the way up to the playoffs last year, so no apologies are necessary after this one. But certainly, some of the same concerns after last week's game persisted through this one.

Matt Vensel, reporter: It wasn't the prettiest of victories, but there is plenty to feel good about after the win. The defense played very well, particularly the pass rush, which recorded five sacks. The Ravens finally established the running game in the second half, though losing Ray Rice for an extended period of time would obviously be a serious blow. And Joe Flacco and his wide receivers made plays when they were needed against a pretty good Browns defense. I'm sure there will be some complaints after this one, but a divisional win is a divisional win. whether it is pretty or not.

Childs Walker, reporter: The Ravens were understandably relieved to escape their home opener with a victory. But in a reminder of days past, they relied largely on their defense to punish an overmatched opponent. After two weeks, the Ravens are still searching for an offensive identity. They haven't been the big-play team of last season's playoffs. And they haven't ground out consistent runs to compensate. If that doesn't change, their defense won't always save them against the stronger opponents ahead. 

Aaron Wilson, reporter: In workmanlike fashion, the Ravens (1-1) gutted out a 14-6 win over the Browns to even their record through two games. They won despite Pro Bowl runner Ray Rice leaving the game with a left hip injury -- and losing one fumble -- as backup Bernard Pierce scored one touchdown. Rookie wide receiver Marlon Brown caught a touchdown from quarterback Joe Flacco, who gets the win and became a father for the second time shortly before kickoff. The defensive substitution pattern, a steady rotation along the front seven, seemed to provide fresh legs as the Ravens sacked Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden five times and hit him 12 times. The Ravens have lots of room to improve in several facets as kicker Justin Tucker uncharacteristically missed a pair of field goals after missing just three during his entire rookie season.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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FootballCleveland BrownsRay RicePeriodicalsJoe FlaccoBrandon Weeden
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