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Boldin, Flacco carry Ravens over Browns 24-17
By DAVID GINSBURG, AP Sports Writer Monday, Sep 27, 2010

BALTIMORE (AP)—The Baltimore Ravens pursued Anquan Boldin(notes) during the offseason because they figured he would improve the passing game, provide leadership and help the team win.

The talented wide receiver did just that in his home debut Sunday.

Boldin caught eight passes for 142 yards and three touchdowns, and the Ravens survived an uncharacteristic performance from their defense in a 24-17 victory over the Cleveland Browns.

Obtained from the Arizona Cardinals in a trade in March, Boldin is the featured player in an improved receiving corps that includes T.J. Houshmandzadeh(notes) and (injured) Donte’ Stallworth(notes).

“I was told to come here and be myself, going out and making plays whenever they needed it,” Boldin said.

Down 17-14 in the fourth quarter, the Ravens really needed Boldin to make a play. He ran under a rainbow pass from Joe Flacco(notes) in the end zone, a 27-yard score that put Baltimore (2-1) ahead for good.

Boldin repeatedly victimized Cleveland cornerback Eric Wright(notes), who probably wishes the Cardinals had tried harder to hold onto the three-time Pro Bowl wideout.

“He’s obviously a good player, but I didn’t play up to my ability, anywhere close,” Wright said. “It’s unfortunate because you have 10 other guys on the field that are doing their job and really depending on me to be a certain type of player. I wasn’t that player by a long shot.”

Flacco completed 22 of 31 passes for 262 yards and three touchdowns. He did not throw an interception after committing six turnovers in his first two games.

“He’s the kind of guy you want playing quarterback for you,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “I don’t think there’s a guy in the building that doubted that for one second.”

Baltimore won despite failing to force a turnover and permitting Peyton Hillis(notes) to run for a career-high 144 yards. Playing a second straight week for injured starter Jake Delhomme(notes), Seneca Wallace(notes) went 18 for 24 for 141 yards and a score.

The Browns trailed 14-10 in the third quarter when Hillis burst through the left side on a 48-yard run. He was overtaken by Tom Zbikowski(notes), who threw Hillis down while both were out of bounds for a 15-yard penalty.

Josh Cribbs followed with a 19-yard run out of the wildcat formation. Then, on the initial play of the fourth quarter, the Browns got their first second-half points this season: a 1-yard touchdown pass from Wallace to tight end Benjamin Watson(notes).

The Browns (0-3) couldn’t hold on, but after losing 34-3 and 16-0 to the Ravens last year, they could take some consolation in staying in it to the end.

“We’re getting closer all the time,” Wallace said. “Remember, we’ve got a lot of new faces on this team, and we’re working hard to get better. We will work our way out of this and get a win soon.”

If Hillis keeps running like that, it will happen sooner than later.

“I think we showed today that we can run the ball against one of the best defenses in the league,” he said. “We played together today.”

The Ravens came into the game without having allowed a touchdown in two games. The Browns, however, made the unit look mortal.

“It was pretty streaky and it was pretty disappointing to allow a team to come out and pound the ball like that,” Baltimore linebacker Jarret Johnson(notes) said.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
P. Hillis Peyton Hillis RB
22 Rush, 144 yds
1 TD
A. Boldin Anquan Boldin WR
8 Rec, 142 yds
3 TDs

Team Stat Leaders

Passing Yards
Rushing Yards
Receiving Yards