BAL-CLE grades: Josh McCown, Joe Haden stand out in loss to Ravens
Baltimore Ravens 25, Cleveland Browns 20
Here are the biggest takeaways and highest-graded players from the Ravens’ comeback win over the Browns on the road.
Quarterback grade: Joe Flacco, 79.1
Joe Flacco makes the most of solid pass protection
The Ravens’ offensive line did a good job keeping Joe Flacco clean in this game, with three O-linemen earning top-five grades on offense. Things clicked more for Baltimore when Flacco wasn’t under pressure (kept clean on 73.3 percent of dropbacks), as he posted an NFL passer rating of 81.3 on the 33 dropbacks where he wasn’t pressured. He wasn’t quite so efficient when pressure did get home, seeing his QB rating slip to 49.0.
Top offensive grades
RT Ricky Wagner, 86.3
TE Dennis Pitta, 85.2
RG Marshal Yanda, 82.9
FB Kyle Juszczyk, 79.7
LT Ronnie Stanley, 78.6
Old connection comes up strong for Flacco, Pitta
A sight Baltimore fans haven’t enjoyed for the past two seasons, tight end Dennis Pitta was Joe Flacco’s favorite target once again in Cleveland. Leading the team with 11 passes thrown his way, Pitta caught nine targets for 102 yards. He was often a yard short, however, with nine of his targets coming on throws within 0–9 yards of the line of scrimmage. Considering that his career was once thought to be over, it’s impressive enough that he made it back onto the field, and even more so that he could average 3.09 yards per route run in this matchup.
Top defensive grades
S Eric Weddle, 84.8
DE Timmy Jernigan, 81.6
CB Tavon Young, 81.4
LB C.J. Mosley, 81.3
DI Michael Pierce, 80.8
LB C.J. Mosley makes the plays
Obviously the big play that people will remember linebacker C.J. Mosley for this week was his game-sealing interception on the Browns’ final offensive snap. That’s for good reason, given what it meant, but in having one of the best games of his career, it was against the run where he really stood out. On the field for 23 snaps against the run, Mosley made eight tackles, with all eight of them resulting in a defensive stop. That gave him a run-stop percentage of 34.8 percent this week; to put that number into context, his run-stop percentage over the course of the 2015 season was 10.1 percent.
Quarterback grade: Josh McCown 80.0
McCown earns highest offensive grade for Browns
The adjectives used to describe Josh McCown’s performance this week will include words like “gutsy” and “tough,” and that’s fair given the fact that he was sacked or knocked down 10 times on 36 dropbacks. He made some big plays while feeling a lot of pressure, producing an NFL quarterback rating of 109.5 on the 12 dropbacks where he was under pressure. It wasn’t a perfect performance by any means, but he made more than his share of big-time throws and gave the Browns a chance in this one.
Top offensive grades
FB Malcolm Johnson, 79.7
RB Isaiah Crowell, 79.2
WR Corey Coleman, 78.6
LT Joe Thomas, 78.5
RT Austin Pasztor, 75.3
Rookie WR Corey Coleman shows off first-round talent
During the pre-draft process, some people questioned if wide receiver Corey Coleman was big enough to be a star receiver in the NFL. On Sunday against the Ravens, he showed that he has all the talent to be a top wideout, flashing some of the skills that saw him become a star at Baylor. As well as the headline-grabbing two touchdown receptions, Coleman forced three missed tackles on five catches, and was a complete nightmare for Baltimore defenders in space, averaging 3.15 yards per route run.
Top defensive grades
CB Joe Haden, 87.5
OLB Nate Orchard, 79.1
DE Tyrone Holmes, 76.4
LB Demario Davis, 75.3
LB Chris Kirksey, 75.0
Joe Haden makes Flacco pay
There was a time when people debated whether or not Joe Haden was among the best cornerbacks in the NFL. Consistency has prevented that from being the case, but he definitely played like a top defender on Sunday. He allowed a touchdown, which somewhat soured his stat line, but ended the day having allowed just four receptions for 57 yards on the nine passes thrown into his coverage. More impressive was the fact that he picked off two passes and broke up another one, helping him to the highest grade of any player in the game.