It became obvious immediately that this game meant something extra to the Browns, especially aggressive nose tackle Phil Taylor.
During the second play of the game, Taylor smacked Ravens running back Ray Rice upside the head and was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.
“I usually don't do things like that, but something happened and I still have to keep my composure,” Taylor said.
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Taylor was asked if Rice spit on him.
“Look at the film,” Taylor said. “You'll see.”
When asked if he had a previous issue with Rice, Taylor replied: “I don't like any running back that I play against.”
Television replays only captured Taylor's half of the exchange and Rice wasn't available to discuss the incident because of his injury.
Pierce said the Browns played the game with a chippy edge, perhaps because this marked their 11th consecutive loss to the Ravens.
“It seemed like it was very personal, especially on the Browns' side,” running back Bernard Pierce said. “It seemed like they were playing like we had taken something away from them, like we owed them.”