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Ravens vs Browns: Winners and Losers

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A game no one wants to watch again.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens-Minicamp Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Winners:

  • Dennis Pitta - In his return to the place where he dislocated his hip for the second time, Pitta put on an outstanding performance. Rope me into the group that did not think Pitta would ever play again. Today he showed people like me that he was back and is perhaps better than ever. The stat line of 9 catches for 102 yards speaks for itself. He got open constantly and was Joe Flacco's most trusted safety valve.
  • Michael Pierce - Pierce was a dynamic force up front. He recorded at least two pressures and saw his efforts rewarded with a crushing sack on Josh McCown. Pierce's play explains the decision to have Willie Henry as a healthy scratch. He has fought his way from undrafted rookie to rotation mainstay.
  • Steve Smith Sr. - Like Pitta, many thought Smith would not recapture his pre-injury form. He laboured around the field against the Bills but was back to his old tricks against the Browns. Smith made several big catches when lined up across Joe Haden with the most notable coming on a nine-route that saw Smith grace Haden with his patented veteran push-off. With this game in hindsight, the Ravens can safely expect good production from Agent 89.

Losers:

  • Running game - The running game as a whole was a horror show. Terrence West showed better than Justin Forsett did, especially when he was called on to close the game. However, for unknown reasons the offensive line did not cut the backside pursuers on zone runs. Marc Trestman refused to run in the I formation and the backs could not find a rhythm. As a result, Joe Flacco threw the ball too much and turnovers were created. It is paramount for the Ravens to find consistency in this area.
  • Albert McClellan - I have written about his case before. McClellan is a serviceable backup. Not a starter that should be getting pass-rush reps when protecting a five point lead. The Browns final drive exposed his lack of pass rushing ability. Until Elvis Dumervil returns, there should be no reason for Matt Judon not to take over as the primary pass rusher opposite Terrell Suggs.