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Published: Sunday, September 17, 2017 @ 4:35 PM
Updated: Sunday, September 17, 2017 @ 4:38 PM
BALTIMORE — The Ravens are making a habit of converting turnovers into victories.
Baltimore relentlessly harassed two Cleveland quarterbacks, Joe Flacco ramped up his production with a pair of touchdown passes and the Ravens breezed past the Browns 24-10 on Sunday.
Building on their season-opening shutout at Cincinnati, the Ravens picked off four passes and forced a fumble — giving them 10 takeaways in two games.
Most of the defense’s damage came against Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer, who left with a migraine headache in the second quarter after four ineffective series: a three-and-out, a lost fumble, an interception and a punt.
The former Notre Dame star was replaced by second-year pro Kevin Hogan, but returned in the third quarter with Baltimore up 21-10. On his second series back, Kizer moved the Browns to the Baltimore 7 before being picked off in the end zone by Lardarius Webb.
Brandon Carr’s interception with 6:09 remaining all but sealed the victory.
Coming off a solid performance in his debut against Pittsburgh, Kizer went 15 for 31 for 182 yards with three interceptions and a lost fumble.
Hogan completed five of 11 passes for 118 yards and a score.
Both were outdone by Flacco, playing his second game since returning from a sore back that kept him sidelined the entire preseason. After going 9 for 17 in a keep-it-simple outing against the Bengals, Flacco went 25 for 34 for 217 yards in the encore.
As he matures, Kizer ultimately will come to understand the problem of holding the ball too long in the pocket — a mistake that put the Browns in an early hole. On Cleveland’s second series, Kizer was looking for a receiver when sacked by Terrell Suggs. The rookie fumbled, Baltimore recovered, and minutes later Terrance West scored on a 4-yard run.
Kizer’s next turnover wasn’t entirely his fault: With the Browns at the Baltimore 26, his pass glanced off the hands of running back Duke Johnson into the arms of safely Eric Weddle.
Baltimore went up 14-0 in the second quarter when Flacco completed two straight passes totaling 43 yards to tight end Benjamin Watson before Javorius Allen caught a 9-yard TD throw.
Hogan entered and promptly took the Browns on an 83-yard drive that ended with his first career touchdown pass, to David Njoku.
But Flacco countered with a 2-yard TD pass to Jeremy Maclin on the final play of the half, and that was enough to hand Cleveland its 14th consecutive road defeat.
Browns: WR Corey Coleman’s afternoon ended after he hurt his hand on a fourth-quarter play.
Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 9:55 PM
CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Reds hit a home run for the first time in eight days. They grabbed a lead for the first time in 50 innings. They scored more than three runs for the first time in a week.
Most importantly, the Reds won a game, snapping a five-game losing streak by beating the Atlanta Braves 10-4 on Monday in the opener of a four-game series at Great American Ball Park.
With a 4-18 record, the Reds still have the worst record in baseball, and they are still off to their worst start through 22 games in franchise history. This was the first win for interim Reds manager Jim Riggleman, who took the reins after the firing of Bryan Price and was swept in his first series in St. Louis.
“I was involved in a situation in Chicago many years ago where we got off to a horrendous start,” Riggleman said before the game. “I’ve been through it. A great baseball man, Buddy Bell, went through that in Kansas City. I was able to say that to the players. We’ve been through it. We can handle this. You’ve got to handle it. The way to handle it is to get out of it. We’re going to get out of it. Our players are focused and will always be giving a great effort. The sooner the better, of course.”
Here’s a quick recap of the game:
Small crowd: The announced attendance was 9,463, though there were many fewer people in the stands. At the start of the game, there were only four people sitting in the upper deck in left field.
It was the smallest crowd at Great American Ball Park this season and the smallest since Aug. 31, 2009, when a crowd of 9,087 watched the Reds beat the Pirates 6-3. That was the last time the Reds had a crowd smaller than 10,000.
Drought ends: With the Reds down 2-0, Scott Schebler, hitting lead-off for the first time this season, hit a game-tying, two-run home run in the fifth inning. It was the first home run for the Reds since their last home game on April 15 against the Cardinals. They didn’t hit a home run on the six-game road trip that concluded Sunday in St. Louis.
» RELATED: Price says he will keep pulling for Reds
Schebler hopes this victory eases the pressure on the offense, which ranks last in baseball in runs scored.
“It’s one of those things where the whole season it felt like we never had momentum,” Schebler said. “We were great offensively last year, and I full expect us to be like that the rest of the year.”
Big inning: The Reds scored five runs in the sixth. It was only the third time in 22 games they’ve led in the sixth.
Pinch hitter Jesse Winker drove in the go-ahead run with a single. Jose Peraza drove in the second run. Joey Votto walked with the bases loaded to drive in the third run. A single by Scooter Gennett drove in the final two runs.
“We’ve been having a hard time, and I was really proud of the guys,” Riggleman said. “We were down again after losing a lot of ballgames. Then we got it going. (Schebler) had a big hit for us.”
Costly mistake: The Braves took a 1-0 lead in the third thanks to an error by the Reds. Left fielder Adam Duvall’s wild throw to third base got by Cliff Pennington, allowing Dansby Swanson to score with one out.
Power display: Nick Markakis hit a solo home run in the fourth to give the Braves a 2-0 lead. It was the third home run of the season for Markakis.
Missed chance: Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart struck out with the bases loaded to end the first inning.
Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 9:29 PM
DAYTON — The Dayton Flyers added to their 2018 recruiting class on Monday as Frank Policelli announced his verbal commitment.
Dayton offered Policelli a scholarship in January. He visited Dayton on April 15. He’s a 6-foot-8 forward from Long Island Lutheran High School (N.Y.).
» RELATED: Former Flyer picks new school
“I would like to thank everyone who helped me along this journey since I was a kid,” Policelli wrote on Twitter. “This process was very hard, and there were a lot of ups and downs, but the people closest to me helped me remain humble and focused through it all.”
Policelli joins Dwayne Cohill, a senior at Holy Name High School, and Jhery Matos, a sophomore at Monroe College, in the 2018 class. Dayton now has four scholarships open for the 2018-19 season.
Maryland, Illinois, Texas Tech were among the other schools to offer Policelli scholarships. He’s a three-star recruit who ranks 262nd in the class of 2018, according to 247Sports.com.
Policelli is from New Hartford, N.Y., which is four hours from Long Island. He transferred to Long Island Lutheran for his senior year. He missed the second half of his junior season after undergoing knee surgery. He averaged 28.1 points and over 13 rebounds as a junior.
Policelli played AAU basketball with the New York Jayhawks. Dayton freshman Obadiah Toppin also played for that team.
Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 6:07 PM
COLUMBUS — Ohio State will hold a Celebration of Life on Wednesday for the late Earle Bruce, who died Friday at 87.
Bruce coached the Ohio State Buckeyes football team from 1979-87 and had a record of 81-26-1 in nine seasons. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002.
» HARTMAN: Bruce one of most influential Buckeyes ever
The event will take place at St. John Arena at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. The public is invited to attend. Parking is free in the North St. John Arena and North Riverbank lots.
The Ohio State Marching and Athletic Bands will perform. Among the speakers will be Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel, Bruce’s grandson Zach Smith, running backs coach Tony Alford and Matt McCoy of 610 WTVN. Dom Tiberi, of WBNS 10-TV, will emcee the celebration.
Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 6:41 PM
CINCINNATI — Bryan Price released a statement on Monday, four days after he was fired 18 games into his fifth season as Cincinnati Reds manager. It was his first public comment since losing his job.
“It is with tremendous gratitude and appreciation for the 8+ years I spent as a member of the Cincinnati Reds organization that I bid adieu to so many wonderful friends and co-workers,” Price wrote. “I wish Jim Riggleman great success as he takes the reins of the club and send a heartfelt thank you to a cherished group of players, coaches, trainers and clubhouse family that stayed connected, worked tirelessly together and who collectively faced challenging times head on. Many of the best people I have known in my life are, or have been, members of the Reds family.
“I will continue pulling for the Reds from my home in Arizona and am sure to follow the career paths of each and every current and former Red in the years to follow. Thank you to the ownership group, led by Bob Castellini, for giving me the privilege of managing such a storied franchise and a special thanks to my dear friend Walt Jocketty, who brought me to Cincinnati back in the fall of 2009. My wife, Judy, and I are grateful for our years in Cincinnati and for the outpouring of friendship and support offered through our time in the Queen City. My best wishes to the Cincinnati Reds and everyone in Reds country.”
This was Price’s fifth season as Reds manager. His final record was 279-387. The Reds never had a winning record in his tenure, finishing 76-86 in his first season and then 64-98 in 2015, 68-94 in 2016 and 68-94 in 2017.
» PHOTOS: Price through the years