"We've got the wind," Harbaugh said. "He studied it, but it was moving around a bit, and I think he overthought it a little bit. Instead of just knocking it through the cross wind, it was one way and then it was the other way, you just try to guide it sometimes. I think he was trying to guide it through the wind rather than knocking it through the wind. He didn’t follow through with his usual assuredness there.”
Tucker missed just three field goals last season as a rookie, converting 30 field goals. He didn't seem fazed by the rough game.
"Toward the end of the game, we were looking at an opportunity to hit a 40 to 45-yarder to kind of ice the game," Tucker said. "I never wanted to kick a ball so much in my life. You would expect someone to shy away at that point, but not me, not us. This is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league."
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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 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.
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,” Pierce said. “It seemed like they were playing like we had taken something away from them, like we owed them.”
Rookie safety Matt Elam made his first NFL start, replacing veteran Michael Huff at free safety one game after Huff struggled mightily during a 49-27 loss to the Denver Broncos.
The Ravens' defensive lineup changes didn't have the immediate desired effect as Browns tight end Jordan Cameron caught a 53-yard pass with Elam, a first-round draft pick, unable to bring him down in the open field.
“It was a great feeling to be out there for the first time,” Elam said. “I felt like I did my job. I did well. I found out late in the week I was going to start. It meant a lot.”
Elam had five tackles, but was also flagged for pass interference.
“They said I hooked the guy or something,” he said. “I didn't understand that.”
For Huff, this benching comes after being signed to a three-year, $6 million contract in March as the replacement for former Raven Ed Reed.