At First Glance: Browns vs. Ravens

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John Eisenberg:  First off, the return of the regular officials was a godsend. They threw lots of flags but were in complete control throughout. Welcome back. As for the Ravens, they seemingly were afflicted with quick-turnaround-itis. Or rainy-night-against-the-Browns-itis. Something kept them from pummeling a winless team with a rookie quarterback. Joe Flacco and the offense moved the ball steadily, and Anquan Boldin was invaluable, but their unit faltered often enough to keep the Browns in the game until the end. The defense didn't dominate rookie signal-caller Brandon Weeden, who almost forced overtime, but like old times, the unit delivered the game-breaking play, Cary Williams' interception return for a touchdown. There was a fair amount not to like, starting with the inability to put the Browns away, but what matters is the generally ho-hum performance still produced a win, giving the Ravens a 3-1 record after four games in 18 days. That's a good start to a season.

Ryan Mink:  The Ravens came into this game saying they expected it to be close. Right they were. The Browns hung tight with a few big offensive plays and mainly on the foot of kicker Phil Dawson. But the Ravens did what they had trouble with last year. They polished off a subpar team when they had to. Baltimore didn't do that in Jacksonville or Seattle. Tonight, they beat their familiar AFC North rival thanks in large part to cornerback Cary Williams, who was the target of jabs all week from Ravens fans, and wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who entered the game with just 10 catches in three games. It's an unlikely cast, but a win that they will treasure over this long weekend nonetheless. The Ravens are 3-1 and in first place in the AFC North after a brutal September schedule, and that's a good place to be.

Garrett Downing:Tonight's win was a little close for comfort at the end, but ultimately the Ravens came up with plays when they needed to and took down the Browns 23-16. The Ravens came into the game as heavy favorites, but the Browns kept it close, just like they've done in past seasons. Quarterback Joe Flacco had another strong showing, as he crossed the 300-yard passing mark for the second week in a row. That marks just the second time in his career that he has thrown for more than 300 yards in back-to-back games. The defense held the Browns to one touchdown in the game, and cornerback Cary Williams got a little redemption after struggling last weekend against the Patriots. This was a game the Ravens were supposed to win, and they now get to enjoy a nice long weekend with a 3-1 record.

Sarah Ellison:There's two ways you can look at this game. The glass-half-full take is that the Ravens just finished playing four games in 18 days, two games in five days, the last being an emotional win over the Patriots. Baltimore beat a division opponent in a classic AFC North defensive struggle and is 3-1 after a tough first quarter of the season. Not too shabby heading into a 10-day break. The glass-half-empty take is that Baltimore was heavily favored, came out flat and let the winless Browns hang around for too long. With the way the Ravens offense played in the first three games, many expected more points on the board (they did churn out tons of yards though). Part of the issue was with the offensive line, which allowed too much pressure on quarterback Joe Flacco. Let's give cornerback Cary Williams, who has been targeted by opposing quarterbacks and maligned by pundits, a little love for his first career interception returned for a 63-yard touchdown. Good to see him get a little redemption. Best game of the season for Anquan Boldin.

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