Flacco, Ravens find stride in second half vs. Browns

To extend their winning streak against the Browns to 11, the Ravens needed a big second half from quarterback Joe Flacco. And they got it.

Flacco went 10-for-12 for 102 yards and a touchdown while not taking a sack in the second half after a much weaker first two quarters (12-for-21 for 109 yards, two sacks).

The Ravens ran the ball more with 27 rushes in the second half after just nine in the first, and had perhaps their best offensive rhythm of the young season. As a result, Baltimore scored all 14 of its points in the second half - on a 5-yard touchdown run by Bernard Pierce and a 5-yard touchdown reception by Marlon Brown - after a scoreless first half.

“That was good. They kept their poise and (offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell) is a calming presence and that’s a plus,” coach John Harbaugh said. “I thought all of our coaches did a great job to continue coaching. They’ve got confidence in Joe, we’ve got a veteran offensive line that can kind of keep everybody understanding that everything is not going to happen right away, and you can’t panic.

“You do have to keep playing and we did a good job of that. In the first half, we make a couple of plays - they wouldn’t have been easy plays - up the sideline that Joe threw nice balls on, that would have been a difference in the first half, as well.”

Flacco left quickly after the game and didn’t talk to the media, but he had a good excuse. His wife, Dana, gave birth to their second child before the game. He missed the birth of his son, Daniel, but he was in a rush to get back to New Jersey to see him.

Flacco told a pool reporter it was one of the best days of his life, to have a child and earn a win.

“No doubt about it. Anytime you have a child, it’s one of your best days,” Flacco said in a statement. “The game didn’t go exactly how we wanted it to, but that’s how we’ve won football games around here. We’re able to win like this, and sometimes you have to do it in an ugly way. ...

“We had to just take our time and be patient. You know, it was only 6-0, no need to panic or get all crazy, and we came out in the second half and just played really well. The third downs were huge in the second half, on the scoring drive that we had, so you have to just credit those guys for making those plays.”

Torrey Smith was Flacco’s top target with seven catches for 85 yards. Brown continued the strong start to his career with four receptions for 45 yards and a touchdown.

Through two games, Brown has eight catches for 110 yards and two scores.

“To come into a team where they have some wide receiver issues, I had an opportunity to come in and start playing early. I’ve just been trying to seize every opportunity I get,” Brown said. “To be honest, I have a good mindset - just a simple mindset. Every week I go out there and just try to get better. On Sundays, it’s just a game at the end of the day. At the end of the day, it’s football. It’s offense, it’s defense. It’s going to be a pass, it’s going to be a run. That’s how I think about it.”

It was also a strange contest for second-year kicker Justin Tucker, who went 0-for-2 on field goal tries, missing from 44 and 50 yards in the first half.

Tucker missed three attempts his whole rookie season and was a perfect 4-for-4 from 50 and beyond.

“I’m not worried about a thing,” Tucker said. “I’m still hitting the ball as well as I ever had. The fact of the matter is I missed two and I missed two in a row, and that’s uncharacteristic. But if you play long enough, you’re going to experience ups, like we did last season. You’re going to experience downs as well, and at the end of the day, you’ve got to have an ‘on to the next one’ attitude to survive in this league. That’s what we’re all about.”