The Ravens’ opening series on offense and defense both produced mixed results, allowing the Browns to take an early 3-0 lead.
Baltimore started badly on offense, losing three yards on its first two plays before gaining life to drive all the way to the Cleveland 32-yard line. However, the Ravens stalled there and Justin Tucker missed a 50-yard field goal attempt.
The Browns started with the ball on their own 40-yard line and exposed a huge hole in the secondary on the first snap. Brandon Weeden found tight end Jordan Cameron wide open - no one within at least 5-10 yards - for a 53-yard gain. On the first play of the game, the Ravens defensive backfield already had a major breakdown and Cleveland had a first-and-goal.
Baltimore tightened things up from there, holding Cleveland to just four yards on the next three plays, forcing former Raven Billy Cundiff on to the field for a 21-yard field goal try.
Serenaded with boos by the Baltimore fans, Cundiff drilled it for the first score of the game. It was Cundiff’s first regular season action here since the 2011 AFC championship game loss where he missed a short tying kick late to let the Patriots win.
Update: The word irony has been thrown around quite a bit the last few minutes in the press box.
Cundiff split the uprights for a 51-yard field goal with two seconds remaining in the first half, extending the Browns’ lead to 6-0. Yes, the same Cundiff who once was an All-Pro for the Ravens has Baltimore in a 6-0 hole against a division rival at home.
Cundiff is 2-for-2 so far today with just his sixth field goal in 22 career tries from 50 yards or beyond. Yes, he entered that kick 5-for-21.
Tucker, the man who beat Cundiff out to become the Ravens kicker last season? He’s 0-for-2 with misses from 44 and 50 yards. Tucker was 4-for-4 from 50-plus last season and missed just three kicks all year, making his two wide rights today all the more noticeable.
Think Cundiff has something to prove today in Baltimore? Considering the boos each time he lines up to kick, I’d say so.
Aside from that, the Ravens offense hasn’t been able to get going. Baltimore has been outgained 174-122 and has just 27 yards on the ground.
Flacco has completed 12 of 21 attempts for 109 yards and has been sacked twice.
On the plus side, the Ravens are only down by six points. One touchdown and they have a lead.
Their defense has been excellent since allowing a 53-yard pass to Cameron on the Browns’ first offensive snap, limiting Cleveland to 121 yards since.
Daryl Smith leads both teams with nine tackles, including a half-sack. Terrell Suggs has one sack and four quarterback hurries thus far. Plenty of pressure on Weeden this afternoon.
If the Ravens can find an offensive rhythm, this thing could turn rather quickly.