CLEVELAND -- The Baltimore Ravens made a change at offensive coordinator just over one month into the 2016 regular season, and they are reaping the benefits of that as they sit atop the AFC North Division after a victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers last Sunday.
Over their first three games under the direction of new coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, the Ravens have averaged 20 points. Prior to the change, the Ravens scored 20 or more points in just two of their first five games of the season.
“They are starting to play in Marty’s mindset,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “They throw the ball deep, but I think they have always kind of done that.”
Since the change, veteran quarterback Joe Flacco has completed 69 of his 122 attempts for 796 yards with one touchdown despite being sacked seven times for 54 lost yards, and he has continued to develop a rapport with wide receiver Mike Wallace.
Wallace has turned 18 catches into 341 yards and one touchdown, a 95-yard score in a 21-14 win over his former team in the Steelers, over the last three weeks. After having just one game of more than 70 yards receiving over the first five weeks, Wallace has gone for 97, 120 and 124 yards in three games under Mornhinweg.
“He is definitely putting his influence on the offensive football team, but at the same time, I think we all know that takes a little time,” Jackson said. “I think they are working through those kinks as they go, and I think their players are becoming more comfortable.”
Although the Ravens have a different look to them heading into Thursday’s game at M&T Bank Stadium, the Cleveland Browns have changed since the Week Two matchup in Cleveland.
The Browns started fast, but the Ravens finished strong and scored 25 unanswered points on their way to a 25-20 win in the AFC North Division matchup.
Flacco’s 25-of-45 showing for 302 yards with two touchdowns and the combination of tight end Dennis Pitta and Wallace carried the comeback. Pitta turned nine receptions into 102 yards, and Wallace scored a pair of touchdowns in the come-from-behind victory.
Since the loss, the Browns have dropped seven straight contests and are in the middle of a franchise-record 12-game losing streak dating back to last December.
“Obviously, we have been through a lot of different highs and lows,” Jackson said. “We are probably more game-ready to play than what we were in Game 2. I know the results do not say that, but I think we understand and obviously, we have played more games now than we did at that point.
“We kind of know who we are a little bit more and we know what we need to accomplish to give ourselves the best opportunity to win. From that standpoint, we are much further along, but we are not where we want to be and I think we all know that.”