1) This pass rush will be good. Really good.
OK, we know the Browns don't have a good quarterback. The Browns, at least on Sunday, had an even worse offensive line. But that doesn't mean the Browns should have allowed Brandon Weeden to get knocked around like a punching bag. The Ravens sacked Weeden five times, hitting the second-year quarterback a bunch more too.
Terrell Suggs (1 sacks) and Elvis Dumervil (1 sack) were getting great jumps off the snap, applying the kind of needed outside pressure the Ravens were hoping for. Arthur Jones (1 sack), Daryl Smith (1.5 sacks) and Arthur Brown (0.5 sack) were also getting in the mix too.
2) Run defense is sharp
Again, the disclaimer: Cleveland's offensive line was horrible, especially on the right side where Oneil Cousins was working. But still, for the second consecutive week, Baltimore's run defense was on point. Even though the Ravens gave up 49 points a week ago, they wouldn't allow the Broncos to run the ball on them (and a week later Knowshon Moreno runs all over the Giants.) The run defense wouldn't cede any ground to Clevleland on Sunday.
Browns running back Trent Richardson was held to just 58 yards on 18 carries. Cleveland's a team that wants to establish the run behind a premier left tackle in Joe Thomas. The Ravens would not allow the Browns to become the aggressor in that facet of the game.
Daryl Smith had 11 tackles and Josh Bynes totaled eight.
3) Offense rewarded with patience
The Ravens looked lethargic and out of sync in the first half, getting just 122 yards of total offense. Ray Rice only had 13 yards on five carries and the receivers had some troubles catching the ball.
That changed some in the second half, with the Ravens wanting to establish the run a little bit more. Before Rice's hip injury, he had five carries for 23 yards. Backup Bernard Pierce ended the game with 57 yards on 19 carries. Keep in my mind the Browns have a fairly good front seven with the same mindset to stop the run.
Both of Baltimore's touchdowns came in the second half — the first on its first offensive possession. The second came on an eight-play drive that resulted in a five-yard score from Marlon Brown.
It was an ugly outing, mind you, and one that causes some concern. But the positive to be pointed out is that the Ravens never panicked. They didn't play well but they kept with the gameplan, given the defense was doing more than its part to secure the win.
4) Marlon Brown continues to impress
Flacco's beginning to look for Brown as you can tell the two already have developed a rapport with one another. Brown caught four passes for 45 yards and a touchdown. Brown had three touchdowns during the 2012 season as a senior at Georgia. He already has two touchdowns as an NFL rookie.
The Ravens need another option to step up. In the first half, Flacco could only rely on Smith in the passing game. At halftime, Smith had six catches for 62 yards. Brown was the only wide receiver to record a catch.
With options limited on offense, the Ravens will hope Brown's first two games will springboard him for the remainder of the season.
5) The Ravens won't be able to win like this
It's not 2000 anymore. Winning defensive slugfests 14-6 don't happen often. If the Ravens play like this on offense against teams such as Green Bay and Houston, they'll find themselves behind real quick.
The offensive line, which played a big part in Baltimore's ability to win a Super Bowl, has had two consecutive tough outings in a row. There aren't any viable backup options to tinker with either. The Ravens don't have the weapons on the outside to not need a running game. They desperately need to get Rice and Pierce going more so that the play-action passing game will open up.
The only games Baltimore could win like this on its schedule are against the Browns, Jets and Vikings. The offense needs to pick the pace up.
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