BAL-CLE grades: Josh McCown, Joe Haden stand out in loss to Ravens

Highest-graded players and top takeaways from the Ravens' comeback win over the Browns in Week 2.

| 9 months ago
Browns CB Joe Haden

(Jason Miller/Getty Images)

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.

Baltimore Ravens

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.

Joe Flacco under pressure versus Browns

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.

Cleveland Browns

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.

PFF Game-Ball Winner: Joe Haden, Cornerback, 87.5

| Analyst, Lead Special Teams Analyst

Gordon has worked at PFF since 2011, and now heads up the company’s special teams analysis processes. His work in-season focuses on college football, while he is also heavily involved in PFF’s NFL draft coverage.

  • crosseyedlemon

    Unfortunately for Josh McGown at career performance would likely get overlooked by Cleveland fans….who are currently far more interested in watching the Indians clinch their division.

    • Joey Seibert

      Who could blame them! It isn’t the MC Cown Browns it is Cleveland Browns and have given them absolutely nothing to cheer for now for over 25 years. The Indians are the second best team in the AL but still do not think anyone is beating those Rangers unfortunately their all around unstoppable.

    • trsteve1

      21,000 (capacity is something like 40k+) at the Indians division game against the Tigers, 67,000 to watch the Browns. It’s not even close. Even when Cleveland has a good product in the Tribe but it’s a football town. Always has been, always will be.

      • crosseyedlemon

        Stadium attendance is a poor metric for judging the actual size of a fan base and baseball games occur more than once a week so the math you used is flawed anyway. I don’t think you can classify Cleveland as either a football or baseball town although I’m willing to concede that the state of Ohio (primarily because of the Buckeyes) is more supportive of gridiron play.

        • trsteve1

          What would you prefer to use?

          Do you live in Cleveland? Have you lived in Cleveland? I grew up there and lived there for 20+ years and up until the past 10 or so visited frequently and can definitely attest to that it is a football town. Don’t get me wrong, they like the Indians, but other than the early days of the Gateway project (back when it was Jacob’s Field) and their 480+ straight sellout games when Belle, Thome, Ramirez et all were mashing the ball the Indians have been historically unsupported (2,000 fans at Municipal Stadium was a COMMON occurence). They have a 1st place Indians team and can’t sell-out games. That is just sad.

  • ladbroke

    Haden’s also playing a QB he’s got a ton of experience against. To what extent does that help him shine against one of the NFL’s more inconsistent “elite’ QBs?

    • crosseyedlemon

      The first rule of war is know your enemy.

    • Joey Seibert

      Well at least your admitting he is elite!

  • Rock Lancaster

    In what imaginary universe was the lousy Joe Haden debated as being among the best cornerbacks in the NFL? He stinks.