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Ravens 24, Browns 10: Thumbs up, thumbs down, turning point

THUMBS UP

Marty Mornhinweg, Ravens offensive coordinator

He got the best of boastful Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams in their chess match.

The Ravens were so effective running the ball in their opening win, Mornhinweg used it to his advantage against the Browns with a series of play-action passes. Joe Flacco would fake the handoff, keep the ball and throw back to the other side to a wide-open tight end. Benjamin Watson, 36 years old and a former Brown, caught eight passes for 91 yards.

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“Go back to the drawing board,” linebacker Christian Kirksey said. “To be honest, I don’t have an answer right now. Just got to see what we can do.”

Mornhinweg also gashed the defense with a couple of timely run calls. Javorius Allen had a 37-yard run, Alex Collins a 16-yarder and Terrance West a 12-yarder.

Williams’ unit wasn’t awful, holding the Ravens to 337 yards despite five turnovers from the Browns offense. But Baltimore made enough big plays to secure the victory.

THUMBS DOWN

DeShone Kizer, Browns quarterback

Mama said there’d be days like this.

Well, maybe not exactly like this.

Kizer missed a quarter with a migraine and was bad before and after. He threw three interceptions and lost a fumble, dropping to 0-2 in his career. He went 15-for-31 for 182 yards, two sacks and a 27.3 rating. He didn’t lead a scoring drive.

Growing pains are to be expected for a 21-year-old starting right away, and the ones he felt Sunday will sting for a while. The first priority is to take care of the ball, and he failed time and again. The key will be how fast he can learn from his mistakes and put the disaster behind him.

“Obviously, at the quarterback position, you can’t give the ball to the other team,” coach Hue Jackson said. “There were some plays to be made, we just didn’t make them. We’ll grow from this. I know we will.”

PLAY OF THE GAME

The Browns were within striking distance at 14-7 and had a bit of momentum when they got the ball at their 48-yard line after Justin Tucker missed a 58-yard field goal with 57 seconds left in the first half.

Backup quarterback Kevin Hogan threw two passes to Rashard Higgins for a first down before a false start on right tackle Shon Coleman. With 29 seconds left and facing first-and-15 from the Baltimore 45, Hogan scrambled right and forgot everything he had learned at Stanford. He threw into triple coverage for Higgins, and linebacker Tyus Bowser made the interception and returned it 27 yards.

When the defense allowed a 37-yard run and a 2-yard touchdown pass in the final seconds, the game was lost.

“That was a huge point in the game,” Jackson said. “You can’t throw the ball back across the middle in that situation. I don’t care whether you throw the ball out of bounds. In this league, you can’t turn it over. Bad things happen.”

 

STAT OF THE GAME

10

Times the Browns have started 0-2 in 19 seasons since returning.

QUOTE OF THE GAME

“I’ve had the distinct pleasure of playing with a lot of rookie quarterbacks. These are the tough parts of playing with a rookie quarterback.” — Left tackle Joe Thomas on the four turnovers by DeShone Kizer.

 

MATCHUPS

Offense

The Browns committed five turnovers. Enough said. Receiver Rashard Higgins was the bright spot with seven catches for 95 yards.

The Ravens beat the Browns with balance, throwing for 217 yards and rushing for 136.

Edge: Ravens

Defense

The Browns are improved but they’re not as good as the Ravens. Cornerback Jason McCourty forced two turnovers, but Cleveland allowed too many chunk plays.

The Ravens swarm to the ball and don’t miss opportunities. Terrell Suggs set the tone with his strip-sack of DeShone Kizer in the first quarter.

Edge: Ravens

Special teams

Zane Gonzalez made a 38-yard field goal, and punter Britton Colquitt had a 47.5-yard net. The return game did nothing.

Justin Tucker missed a 58-yarder wide right for the Ravens.

Edge: Even

Coaching

Hue Jackson is 0-6 in the AFC North.

John Harbaugh has a Super Bowl title and the perfect demeanor for the job.

Edge: Ravens

 

Browns writer for The Chronicle-Telegram and The Medina Gazette. Proud graduate of Northwestern University. Husband and stepdad. Avid golfer who needs to hit the range to get down to a single-digit handicap. Right about Johnny Manziel, wrong about Brandon Weeden. Contact Scott at 440-329-7253, or email and follow him on and Twitter.

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