Browns start fast, finish slow in loss to Ravens

The Ravens (2-0) found themselves down 20-0 against the Browns on Sunday, but Joe Flacco and Baltimore's offense never blinked, overcoming early mistakes with a steady, focused comeback effort that ended in a 25-20 win over Cleveland (0-2). Our takeaways from Sunday's AFC North clash:

  1. What a wild game. After operating as a dead-on-arrival offense in the opener, the Browns came out firing with Josh McCown at the helm. The 37-year-old passer engineered 20 points in the first quarter alone -- including two touchdown passes to electric rookie wideout Corey Coleman -- for a Cleveland team that generated just 10 points in Week 1. Credit coach Hue Jackson with a string of play calls that featured a rash of exotic shifts, multiple looks and vertical shots downfield. McCown, though, was never the same after badly injuring his non-throwing shoulder before the half. Cleveland's old-as-the-hills passer showed incredible toughness staying on the field, but his nearly magical two-minute drill to win the game was short-circuited by a questionable taunting call on Terrelle Pryor, who was flagged for flipping the ball to the ref after hauling in a 20-yard catch at the Ravens 10-yard line with 27 seconds left. The foul pushed the Browns back to the Baltimore 30 and McCown unfurled a pick one play later to end the game.
  1. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco struggled early, throwing an off-kilter pass that was picked off by Joe Haden as Baltimore was held scoreless over their first four drives. Flacco bounced back before the half, though, with a six-play, 75-yard scoring march capped by a 7-yard touchdown strike to Mike Wallace. The Ravens stole momentum with three straight scoring drives to end the second quarter and open the third as Flacco threw for 302 yards, two scores and a pair of picks. Wallace also matched Coleman with two scores of his own on a day that saw the Ravens never lose their cool.
  1. Coleman's early explosion was paired with a wild performance from running back Isaiah Crowell, who surpassed the 100-yard mark in mere minutes thanks to a fantastic 85-yard touchdown blast through Baltimore's defense. Jackson has shown plenty of confidence in the third-year undrafted runner and it paid off on Sunday. You're not going to see that every week from The Crow, but Coleman (5/104/2) looks like a star-in-the-making for Cleveland.
  1. Dennis Pitta is back. After starting just five games since 2013, the oft-injured veteran tight end notched a team-leading nine catches for 102 yards as a foundational element of Baltimore's passing game. This is quietly one of best comeback tales in the NFL.
  1. Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden suffered through an injury-ravaged campaign last season, but bounced back Sunday with a fine performance. He played sticky coverage against Steve Smith and registered a pair of interceptions, with the second pick coming in end zone to snuff out a potential score for the Ravens. The Browns defense has plenty of missing pieces, but played hard all afternoon while holding the Ravens to just 3.1 yards per rush.
  1. A blocked extra point in the first half didn't help the Browns, as Ravens rookie Tavon Young scooped up the ball and ran it the length of the field for two points, turning what would have been a 21-0 lead for Cleveland into a 20-2 game. Take that away and the Browns might have been angling for a tilt-winning field goal at the end.
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