Despite a huge first half from Joe Flacco, Anquan Boldin and the Ravens’ offense, Baltimore only leads the Browns 14-10 at the break.
The Browns got a score right before the half, marking the first touchdown the Ravens’ defense has allowed this year, and making this game a bit more interesting.
Here are a few quick-hit thoughts after the first 30 minutes of play:
- The Browns might want to think about covering Boldin. The Ravens’ top wide receiver has been wide open down the field on two separate plays, resulting in two huge gains. Boldin has five catches for 68 yards and two scores, and somehow, Browns cornerback Eric Wright managed to lose the big wideout over the middle.
- This Peyton Hillis guy is pretty impressive. The 6-2, 250 pound bull of a running back runs incredibly hard, and has gashed the Ravens up the middle through the first 30 minutes. He has 100 total yards and a touchdown at the half, including 73 yards on the ground. The Browns got Hillis from the Broncos in the Brady Quinn trade this offseason. Wonder who got the better of that deal?
- Now that Tavares Gooden is out for at least a few weeks with a shoulder injury, second-year linebacker Dannell Ellerbe will get more reps on the inside next to Ray Lewis, especially on third downs. While Gooden is the Ravens’ best option in coverage, I actually think having Ellerbe in there will benefit the Baltimore defense. Gooden tends to overrun the play on occasion, and has missed a handful of tackles in space this year. Ellerbe is more sound at the line of scrimmage, and while he doesn’t have Gooden’s speed down the field, I think they’re better off with the Georgia product in there.
- We heard from head coach John Harbaugh this week that cornerback Josh Wilson would see more action against the Browns after seeing very limited time through the first two weeks. Harbaugh was right. Wilson has been the Ravens’ primary nickel back so far, with Lardarius Webb being limited to one series of action. When he’s been on the field, Wilson has matched up against Cleveland wide receiver Josh Cribbs out wide, while starting cornerback Chris Carr has moved into the slot.
- In addition to Flacco’s impressive first half (12-of-14 for 132 yards and two touchdowns) and Boldin’s big start to the game, Ravens fans have to be happy with the running of Ray Rice, who has 51 yards on the ground on just seven carries. Rice has averaged 7.3 yards per carry, and has looked really sharp. Again, it’s just the Browns, but it’s nice to see Rice get going with the Steelers next on the docket for Baltimore.