April 21, 2014

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Browns Notes: Nose tackle Phil Taylor furious with Ravens RB Ray Rice after incident

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice carries the ball against the Cleveland Browns Sunday. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice carries the ball against the Cleveland Browns Sunday. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

BALTIMORE – Nose tackle Phil Taylor wouldn’t tell reporters Sunday why he was so angry with Ravens running back Ray Rice after the second snap of the game, a 3-yard loss by Rice.

“Look at the film, you will see,” Taylor said after the Browns’ 14-6 loss.

The tape shows Rice and Taylor going face mask-to-face mask, with Rice possibly spitting in Taylor’s face, followed by Taylor smacking Rice in the side of the helmet, which drew a 15-yard penalty.

“I usually don’t do that, but something happened,” Taylor said. “I still have to keep my composure.”

Taylor was asked directly if Rice spit at him.

“I’m not going to say,” he said. “It is what it is. I need to keep my composure.”

Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson gave his version.

“I heard a guy scream that he got spit on,” he said. “If guys are spitting, that’s immature, that’s elementary. We’re all grown men, there’s no need to spit on a guy. I don’t know if it was Ray, but apparently someone got spit on.

“I don’t want to call names, I don’t know who did it.”

After the flag was thrown, Taylor continued to rage. He barked at the Ravens and Rice and refused to leave the field when defensive line coach Joe Cullen sent Ishmaa’ily Kitchen into the game. Taylor waved Kitchen off, despite Cullen’s protest from about 8 yards onto the field.

“Nah, I was cool. It’s just something happened,” Taylor said. “It wasn’t like I was tired or anything.”

“There’s no reason for him to come off,” Jackson said. “The mature players can flare up a little bit, but still be able to execute. I wanted him to stay in the game so he could learn from it.”

Taylor said no one had ever done to him what Rice did. He was asked if he had a problem with Rice before Sunday.

“I don’t like any running back I play against,” he said.

Rice rushed 13 times for 36 yards and left the game with a hip flexor injury. Taylor was credited with a tackle.

TOUCHES, BUT NO TOUCHDOWNS
Running back Trent Richardson said during the week he wanted the ball. Well, coordinator Norv Turner game it to him.

Richardson carried 18 times for 58 yards (3.2 average) and caught five passes for 21 yards. His long run and catch were 9 yards.

“Every play was close (to breaking),” said Richardson, who had 13 carries for 47 yards in the opener. “We’ve just got to keep grinding. A lot of people look at stats. I’m looking for the ‘W.’

“It’s disappointing we didn’t get in the end zone as an offensive unit. But at the same time, we’re close. We just got to get over this hump. When we get over this hump and get to rolling, we’ll be fine.”

The Ravens were impressed with the effort of Richardson, who rarely goes down on first contact.
“He really runs the ball hard,” Ravens nose tackle Haloti Ngata said. “We definitely practiced on trying to make sure that when one guy is there other guys are still running to the football because he definitely can beak some tackles and keep on going.”

KRUGER’S RETURN
Outside linebacker Paul Kruger was back in Baltimore, where he spent his first four seasons before signing a five-year, $40.5 million contract with the Browns in the offseason. He had three tackles, including one for a loss, but didn’t register a quarterback hit.

He said he received a nice reception from the fans.

“It seemed like everybody was pretty cool,” he said. “I didn’t hear too much.”

The defense has allowed only 119 rushing yards in two games and held the Ravens to 14 points, all in the second half.

“We were a little too up and down,” Kruger said. “It’s a team game and we have to focus on the defensive standpoint and what we have to do to create the most opportunities for the offense to go out there and score. We came up with one turnover, so we’ve got to do more.”

HEY, BABY
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was going to try to play a practical joke on coach John Harbaugh involving his pregnant wife, Dana.

“He had planned to come to me and tell me that she’s in labor and he was getting in his car and heading for New Jersey to be there for it,” Harbaugh said. “I’m so glad he didn’t do it. He would’ve had me hook, line and sinker and in the boat.”

Dana did go into labor, but Flacco was never planning to leave. He was warming up at the stadium when she gave birth to Daniel, their second child, about an hour before kickoff.

“I can’t wait to go back and see him,” Flacco said.

“It was nice that she gave birth before the game,” guard Marshal Yanda said. “Dana was good and the baby was good, so he kind of got that off his mind a little bit.”

DROPS RISING
Receiver Greg Little had a nice start with three catches for 29 yards in the first half. But he finished with four catches for 33 yards on a team-high 12 targets. He had two drops and a third was questionable.

“That is something I have to work on, I have to concentrate to make catches,” Little said. “My focus needs to be better when the ball is in the air.”

SITTING OUT
Starting defensive end Ahtyba Rubin was inactive for the second straight game with a calf injury. He didn’t practice during the week – he worked on the side with trainers – and was listed as doubtful.

Billy Winn again started in his place.

Strong safety T.J. Ward (shoulder) and receiver/returner Travis Benjamin (thigh) started after being listed as questionable on the injury report.

The rest of Cleveland’s inactives were also expected: right guard Shawn Lauvao (ankle), quarterback Brian Hoyer, tight end MarQueis Gray, offensive lineman Martin Wallace, defensive end Armonty Bryant and outside linebacker Paul Hazel.

Lauvao had arthroscopic surgery Aug. 9 but could return to practice this week. CEO Joe Banner said last week he was close to returning, and Lauvao rode the stationary bike Friday during practice.

EXTRA POINTS
Browns kicker Billy Cundiff was booed loudly before making both his field goals. He missed a late field goal for the Ravens in the 2011 AFC championship game that cost them overtime.

** Tight end Jordan Cameron had a game-high 95 receiving yards on five receptions. He had a career-long 53-yarder on Cleveland’s first play.

** Defensive end Desmond Bryant had a half-sack to extend his streak to six games with at least half of a sack.

** Before the national anthem, the public-address announcer reminded the crowd the song was written in Baltimore.

** Cornerback Buster Skrine started after only playing against three-receiver sets in the opener. Chris Owens started the opener and played in the nickel Sunday.

Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7253 or spetrak@chroniclet.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @scottpetrak.