Flacco stays cool, Ravens top Browns

Benjamin Standig, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

BALTIMORE -- Even the birth of his second child an hour before kickoff couldn't faze Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco. In his career against the Cleveland Browns, little has.
Flacco directed two second-half touchdown drives while the Ravens defense kept Cleveland out of the end zone as Baltimore notched its 11th consecutive win over the Browns, 14-6 on Sunday afternoon.
The Ravens quarterback passed for 211 yards and one touchdown as Baltimore evened its record at 1-1 despite running back Ray Rice exiting in the fourth quarter with a left hip flexor strain. Flacco's 5-yard scoring toss to Marlon Brown in the fourth quarter came after Bernard Pierce's 5-yard touchdown run in the third gave the Ravens their first lead.
Team officials informed Flacco during pregame warmups that his wife, Dana, was in labor. The couple spoke briefly, but Flacco stayed with the team. He hustled to be with his family and new son, Daniel, immediately after the victory -- and after deciding not to punk his head coach before kickoff.
"(Joe) had planned to come to tell me that she was in labor and he was getting in his car headed for New Jersey," said a relieved and beaming John Harbaugh. "I'm so glad he didn't do it. He would have had me hook, line and sinker. To play with that on his mind really says a lot."
The victory also says a lot about Baltimore's resolve after last week's 49-27 loss at the Denver Broncos.
"You know, you've got to have a short memory," said linebacker Terrell Suggs, who had one of the Ravens' five sacks against their AFC North rival. "First things first, we got the win. We played really good on defense."
Both teams finished less than 300 net yards and Baltimore held Cleveland to 85 in the second half.
Brandon Weeden completed 21 of 33 passes for 227 yards before exiting in the fourth quarter with a thumb injury after hitting his throwing hand on a helmet.
"I found I couldn't grip the ball, so I knew I had to come out," Weeden said. The quarterback said X-rays were negative, but could not state whether he would be ready for Cleveland's Week 3 game at the Minnesota Vikings next Sunday.
Rice finished with 36 yards on only 13 carries. Harbaugh said there were no immediate plans for an MRI.
The 11 straight wins over Cleveland have come since Flacco and Harbaugh joined the franchise before the 2008 season.
Despite the obvious distraction, Flacco completed 22 of 33 passes without throwing an interception.
"He's Joe Cool, as always," Ravens fullback Vonta Leach said.
Cleveland allowed five sacks after surrendering six in its opening week loss to the Miami Dolphins. Running back Trent Richardson rushed 18 times for 58 yards.
Pierce's touchdown run capped Baltimore's first scoring drive for a 7-6 lead with 5:18 left in the third quarter.
During the 12-play, 80-yard drive, Flacco completed all three of his pass attempts -- all on third down -- for 44 yards.
"They hit us with basically a no-huddle (offense) and just got us a little off balance," Browns linebacker Paul Kruger said. "They got a little momentum going. I feel like that was the biggest difference."
In between Baltimore's touchdowns came the Browns' best scoring opportunity of the second half. Rice's fumble late in the third quarter set up Cleveland with the ball at Baltimore's 45-yard line, but Weeden's completed pass to Jordan Cameron on fourth-and-4 came up an inch short of the first-down marker.
Billy Cundiff provided the only points during an offensively-challenged first half as Cleveland led 6-0. The former Ravens kicker made both of his field goals, including a 51-yarder with 11 seconds remaining in the second quarter, after Baltimore's Justin Tucker missed attempts from 50 and 44 yards.
Cameron's 53-yard reception on Cleveland's first play from scrimmage moved the ball to Baltimore's 7-yard line, leading to Cundiff's first field goal with 8:42 remaining in the first quarter.
NOTES: The Ravens have won six straight home openers. ... The Browns started 0-2 for the fifth time in six seasons. ... Tucker missed only three of 33 field-goal attempts as a rookie last season. ... Jason Campbell completed one of five passes for six yards in relief of Weeden.

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