Defensive Line: C-
The D-Line had little to no push against the Browns’ offensive line, as they registered no sacks and had just nine tackles. Pernell McPhee did have two quarterback hits, but the D-Line didn’t make it’s presence felt for large chunks of the game. Haloti Ngata had one tackle for a loss, but besides that he was not his usual disruptive self. The longer the game went on, the more comfortable Browns’ quarterback Brandon Weeden looked. The Browns punted on their first five possessions, but then started to get rolling as Weeden had ample time to find his receivers.
The linebackers were busy trying to stop the bruising Trent Richardson all game. Albert McClellan led the team with eight tackles, while Dannell Ellerbe and Jameel McClain each had five tackles and Ray Lewis chipped in with four. Paul Kruger registered the only sack of the game for the Ravens and also had two passes defended, while Ellerbe also forced a Josh Cribbs fumble on a punt return.
It was a bit of a mixed bag for the secondary. Cary Williams did have a backbreaking 63-yard interception return for a touchdown with only 15 seconds left in the third quarter. However, the Browns’ 23rd-ranked passing offense went off for 320 yards passing. The unit was also helped a lot by the Browns’ propensity for dropped passes. None was bigger than Greg Little‘s drop in the end zone that would’ve given the Browns a lot of confidence as the game approached crunch time. Lardarius Webb had a nice game with six tackles and three passes defended, while Ed Reed also defended three passes. The D-Line didn’t get much pressure on Weeden and he was able to find open receivers for much of the second half.
Special Teams: C
The Ravens lost the overall battle of special teams, despite Ellerbe’s forced fumble on Cribbs’ punt return in the first quarter. Phil Dawson was perfect on all three of his 50-plus yard field goals, while Justin Tucker missed his first field goal of his career after starting out 8-for-8. The Browns had a better average on both punt and kick returns as the Ravens’ special teams did little else besides the Ellerbe forced fumble.
Yes, a win is a win, but this one was ugly. Cam Cameron and the offensive coaching staff had no answer for the Browns’ front four, as they created pressure on Joe Flacco while shutting down Ray Rice. Rice only had 18 carries, so again we are asking ourselves why Rice isn’t getting a minimum of 20 carries a game. Another knock on the Ravens and their coaching staff was that the Ravens’ offense appeared to be getting more stagnant as the game went on, while the Browns’ offense got stronger and looked more comfortable as the game went on. Weeden was only sacked once, and he committed only one turnover. The Ravens also had 11 penalties for 100 yards, so that is something that needs to be addressed by John Harbaugh and his coaches as well. The Browns had a shot from 18 yards out as time expired, so to come that close to going to overtime against the hapless Browns at home is never a good sign.