July 22, 2014

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Browns notes: Defense helps back up Joe Haden’s pregame contention that Ravens aren’t same team they used to be

Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden, left, intercepts a pass against Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden, left, intercepts a pass against Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

CLEVELAND — Browns nose tackle Phil Taylor made a statement on the field Sunday, then made an even stronger one following Cleveland’s 24-18 victory over the Baltimore Ravens.

“It’s like Joe (Haden) said, and I said too, they’re not the same team as they were last year,” Taylor said of the Ravens. “I don’t know what’s going on, but they’re not the same team. That’s fine with me.

“We’ve got a new defense, a new coach and we’re a new Browns team. This is just the beginning for us. We’re 2-1 in the (AFC North Division) and we’re going to play Cincinnati for first place.”

Taylor had good reason to gloat, not only because Cleveland broke its 11-game losing streak against Baltimore, but because its run defense was outstanding.
Ravens running back Ray Rice gained 17 yards on 11 carries, setting a career-low average of 1.5 yards per attempt. Baltimore was limited to 55 yards on 21 carries with quarterback Joe Flacco leading the way with just 25 yards on the ground.

“They changed their offense up and (fullback) Vonta Leach probably only had two or three offensive snaps,” Taylor said. “They’re not going to win like that. We knew our corners would handle their guys, so we could stay in our base and stop the run. Our thought was, don’t fix it if it isn’t broke.”

Taylor did handle one repair job, but it was something that he was glad to do.

Rice spat in Taylor’s face during the teams’ first meeting this season in Baltimore, but sought him out to apologize after their rematch.

“After the game, he came up to me and shook my hand,” Taylor said. “It was good. I feel good about a lot of things today.”

Thanks to their shutting down Rice and Flacco, the Browns remain one of just two NFL teams to not allow a 100-yard rusher or 300-yard passer this season, along with the Houston Texans.

Brownie bits

Wide receiver Davone Bess had his first career two-touchdown game, hauling in 1- and 20-yard passes from quarterback Jason Campbell. The sixth-year pro has only reached the end zone three times in his last 22 games.

* Cornerback Joe Haden picked off Flacco for his first interception since Nov. 25, 2012, against Pittsburgh. Safety Tashaun Gipson deflected the throw intended for wide receiver Jacoby Jones.

* Campbell surpassed the 15,000-yard mark for his career on a 32-yard completion to wide receiver Greg Little in the first quarter. He also tied his career best with three touchdown passes in a 262-yard performance.

* Tight end Gary Barnidge scored his first TD of the season on a 4-yard pass from Campbell in the third. Linebacker Eric Martin set up the score by recovering a fumble by Baltimore punt returner Tandon Doss at the Ravens 11-yard line.

* Little was called for two personal fouls as a result of post-whistle altercations with Ravens safety James Ihedigbo. He finished with a career-high seven receptions for 122 yards.

* Tight end Jordan Cameron — Cleveland’s leading receiver — made his lone catch in the final minute of the third.

* Wide receiver Armanti Edwards split punt return responsibilities with Bess. The former Appalachian State quarterback also caught one pass.

* Running back Willis McGahee fumbled for the first time since joining the Browns in Week 3. It was the third lost fumble by the team this year.

* The Browns are 3-2 at home under first-year coach Rob Chudzinski.

Ravens rules

Coach John Harbaugh, who was born in Perrysburg, fell to 5-1 following bye weeks. He also lost for the first time in 12 career games against the Browns.
“Congratulations to Cleveland, they deserved to win the game,” he said. “We did not play well enough to win.”

* Flacco also dropped to 11-1 in his six-year career against the Browns. He passed for 250 yards on 24-of-41 attempts with two touchdowns and one interception.

* Five-time Pro Bowl linebacker Terrell Suggs sacked Campbell on the opening play of the game. Suggs has 15 career sacks against Cleveland, his most against any team.

* Wide receiver Torrey Smith, who leads the NFL with a 20.3-yard receiving average, was held without a catch until Baltimore’s final drive of the first half. He finished with a team-high five grabs for 78 yards.

* Kicker Justin Tucker converted a season-long 51-yard field goal, making him 6-for-7 on tries from 50-plus yards in his two seasons.

* Linebacker Daryl Smith was flagged for unnecessary roughness after delivering a WWE-caliber belly-to-back suplex on Little. Little suffered a shoulder injury and underwent medical tests after the game.

Out of action

Browns nose tackle Ishmaa’ily Kitchen was a healthy scratch for the first time as defensive end Billy Winn returned to action after missing five games with a strained right quadriceps. Winn also lined up at fullback on a third-and-1.

Cleveland’s other inactives were center Patrick Lewis, tackle Martin Wallace, guard Garrett Gilkey, tackle Reid Fragel, tight end Keavon Milton and linebacker Paul Hazel.

Linebacker Quentin Groves (left ankle) exited early in the fourth quarter and did not return, while tight end MarQueis Gray (hamstring) and linebacker Darius Eubanks (head) both left the game in the third.

Martin (knee) was briefly forced off the field twice, while Little (shoulder) removed himself from the game after making a one-play comeback.

* Not in uniform for the Ravens were guard Kelechi Osemele (back), wide receiver Brandon Stokley (thigh), center Ryan Jensen (foot), safety Brynden Trawick, defensive end DeAngelo Tyson, linebacker John Simon and running Bernard Scott.

Extra points

The Ravens lead the all-time series 22-8, including a 10-5 edge in Cleveland. The original Browns franchise moved to Baltimore following the 1995 season to become the Ravens.

* A sellout crowd of 71,513 was in attendance, tying the largest of the season at FirstEnergy Stadium. The kickoff conditions were mostly sunny and 46 degrees with a 41 degree wind chill.

* The Browns wore their traditional brown tops and white pants, forcing the Ravens to wear their less intimidating white shirts and black pants.

* Former Browns center Tom DeLeone served as the team’s honorary captain. The Ohio State product played for Cleveland from 1974-1984.

Contact Brian Dulik at brisports@hotmail.com.