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Ravens' o-line looking to regroup after rough outing vs. Browns

The SportsXchange

BALTIMORE -- It was a rough night for the Ravens' offensive line.

After an encouraging game against the New England Patriots in which quarterback Joe Flacco wasn't sacked and was rarely hit, he sustained several big hits as the offensive line regularly broke down against the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night.

Flacco was sacked a season-high four times and hit six times by the fourth quarter.

During the first half, Flacco was sacked once by quick defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin when left guard Ramon Harewood appeared confused and failed to pick up an inside stunt.

Rookie right tackle Kelechi Osemele was beaten by defensive end Jabaal Sheard for another sack as he was unable to stop Sheard's bull rush.

"They came in and played real hard, they had some nice moves that we maybe didn't see, I saw some new moves I hadn't seen out of my guy," said Osemele, a second-round draft pick from Iowa State who was also flagged for a false start. "They came out fighting with their backs up against the wall. They're a pretty good team upfront. They're known for their defensive line.

"They basically played to their strengths. It was all correctable. It wasn't anything scheme-wise. I know personally I didn't play as well as I wanted to. I had my head in there one time where I gave up a sack. It's nothing that scheme-wise or assignment-wise can't be fixed. It's just technique."

Left offensive tackle Michael Oher entered the game with no penalties, reversing his usual trend of being prone to false starts.

He was flagged for one false start Thursday and two holding penalties.

"It's part of the game," said Oher, who got angry in the fourth quarter at an official and had to be restrained by fullback Vonta Leach after a holding penalty nullified running back Ray Rice's 21-yard run. "It's how it goes. Evidently, it was a good call. The refs know what they're doing, they know what's going on."

In addition, veteran center Matt Birk was vulnerable to penetration up the middle.

In the second half, the Ravens gave blitzing safety Usama Young a clear path to the quarterback.

Before Thursday, Flacco had only been sacked five times through three games.

"It's a hard game, it's hard to win," Birk said. "It's my fourth year here and it's always a battle when we play those guys. I think they're a good football team. I certainly think they're a good defense. I'm just happy that we got the win. We played good enough to win. There's always things to work on.

"As a lineman, part of your makeup is you don't remember your good plays. You only remember your bad plays. That's what makes you a good player, a good offensive lineman and a good offensive line. At the end of the day, we put up enough points to win. Their whole defense is good. You turn on the tape and they play hard, they play tough, they're very well-coached. We knew were in for a fight."
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