Monday, September 16, 2013

Cleveland Browns 6 at Baltimore Ravens 14 - September 15, 2013

After a brief foray to New England, we drove back to Maryland, using I-95 most of the way, except for a couple of detours to avoid tolls in New Jersey and Delaware, arriving in Baltimore on Saturday evening. We had a downtown hotel just minutes from M&T Bank Stadium, where the Ravens would host their division rivals, the Cleveland Browns, on Sunday. Below is the view from the hotel room:

It was a beautiful morning as we made our way over to the stadium. Between Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium is a long pathway dubbed Ravenswalk. It has a number of sponsored stalls such as the  one from Jostens which allows you to order your own Super Bowl jewelry, including the Super Fan ring for $425.

The Ravens also have two live mascots, Rise and Conquer, two ravens from the Maryland Zoo. That's Rise below.

Out front of the stadium is a statue of Johnny Unitas, who was a great quarterback for the Baltimore Colts, who moved to Indianapolis way back in 1984. Interestingly, the Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore in 1996 and became the Ravens and the visiting Browns are actually an expansion team that inherited the old club's intellectual property and history.

Thanks to Stadium Journey, I had a media pass which allowed me into the stadium early where I was able to take some pictures of the empty seating bowl and concourses.

I also was able to get on the field before the game and took a couple of pictures from that unusual angle. It was my first time on an NFL field and a pretty cool experience. Thanks for the Ravens for the credential.

Kickers are usually first on the field to practice, below is Justin Tucker of the Ravens.

The Ravens are the defending Super Bowl champion and this was their first home game after the win so I expected a banner to be unveiled but the actual show was very understated. On the ribbon board beneath the upper deck there were two panels celebrating the team's AFC North championships (2003, 2006, 2011, 2012) and AFC Championships (2000, 2012), but no Super Bowl commemoration. Turns out they had hidden the third panel and that was unveiled while the announcer spoke about the championship team and some fireworks went off. That was it.

The game was very low-scoring and featured a considerable number of running plays. That's Trent Richardson (#33) below with one of his 18 carries on the day.

With Tucker missing two field goals (the second is below), the Ravens were shutout in the first half, much to the displeasure of the fans, one of whom was overheard to say "It's gonna be a long season". How soon they forget. This team won the frigging Super Bowl, give them a break for a few games at least!

Joe Flacco (below, throwing like a girl) led his team on two TD drives in the second half as the Ravens won 14-6 in a game that was not as bad as the score indicates. He finished 22/33 for 211 yards and 1 touchdown.

Brandon Weeden (below) had similar numbers (21/33, 227) but he was unable to lead the team on a sustained drive to the end zone. The Browns are woeful on offense but their defense looks good and is keeping them in games. In particular, Barkevious Mingo was a defensive star in limited snaps, with a sack, blocked pass, and drawing a holding penalty in his first career start.

The final was 14-6 in what should be the lowest scoring game on the trip.

Next up is Philadelphia on Thursday as they host former coach Andy Reid and the 2-0 Chiefs. Check back Friday for a report on that one.



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