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Cleveland Browns defensive back Joe Haden (23) cannot hang onto a long Joe Flacco (5) pass intended for Ravens wide receiver Chris Givens in the second quarter.
Cleveland Browns defensive back Joe Haden (23) cannot hang onto a long Joe Flacco (5) pass intended for Ravens wide receiver Chris Givens in the second quarter. (Christopher T. Assaf / Baltimore Sun)

The Ravens' patchwork wide receiver group, searching to replace the volume and production of star Steve Smith Sr. (back) Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, started about as well as they could before sputtering out late.

Kamar Aiken, the nominal No. 1 in Smith's absence, led all receivers at halftime with four catches for 78 yards, and practice squad addition Jeremy Ross chipped in with a pair of catches for 24 yards.

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But Ravens wide receivers had just one catch in the second half, a reception Marlon Brown made but didn't gain a yard on.

Aiken and Ross were shut out in the second half, while newcomer Chris Givens, who the Ravens acquired for a conditional NFL draft pick last week from the St. Louis Rams, was held without a catch in his Ravens debut.

Despite the second-half shutout of the receiving corps, quarterback Joe Flacco praised the group.

"I thought our guys did a good job today," he said. "Down the stretch there, I had to throw the ball away a lot, but I thought our receivers made some big plays and did a great job just staying patient and doing what they were supposed to do."

Even after the Browns lost top cornerback Joe Haden to a concussion in the fourth quarter, the Browns held the receivers in check. Flacco and Aiken said the Browns didn't change their coverage much in the second half, but that a focus on the running game limited their options to throw.

"They didn't do anything different," Aiken said. "We ran the ball a little more, and tried to establish the running game. That was working for us. We just couldn't make that one more play that we needed."

Aiken's 78 yards led the Ravens, but it didn't mean much in the face of the team's 1-4 record.

"That was a tough one," Aiken said. "My spirits aren't too high right now."

The wide receivers had just seven targets in the second half, and suffered another casualty when rookie Darren Waller suffered a concussion.

"There's a lot of things that didn't happen today," Brown said. "You can't just put it on one thing. Things just didn't go our way."

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