2. The Ravens' safeties, especially Matt Elam, allowed far too many big plays.

Throughout the preseason and first two weeks, the Ravens coped with significant injuries to their defensive backfield. So they felt that much prouder when they limited the Pittsburgh Steelers to only a few long gains in a 26-6 win in week two. The Ravens actually got healthier against Cleveland, with cornerback Lardarius Webb playing for the first time this season. But the results went the opposite direction, with Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer completing six passes of 20 yards or longer. The safeties particularly struggled to pick up Cleveland receivers in Dean Pees' zone coverage scheme. The Ravens never expected coverage to be Elam's chief strength when they drafted him in the first round. But they couldn't have been happy to see him lose Browns receiver Travis Benjamin completely on a 43-yard play that set up Cleveland's first touchdown. Elam drew a pass -interference penalty on the next play, when he never turned around to defend a Hoyer throw to Jordan Hamilton in the end zone. Elam then lost Taylor Gabriel on a potentially back-breaking 70-yard catch in the fourth quarter, appearing confused when Gabriel cut between him and cornerback Asa Jackson. Webb spent much of the first half on the sideline. Perhaps we saw why on Cleveland's first drive after halftime, when Andrew Hawkins dusted him off the line for a 24-yard gain that helped set up another touchdown. To be fair, Webb was hardly the only Raven run out of his shoes by the quick, clever Hawkins. It was a bad performance for a unit that remains a gaping source of uncertainty for the Ravens.
Ron Schwane, USA Today Sports photo
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