Posted September 27, 2012 on
AP on Fox
The regular NFL officials returned to cheers, and the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns didn't give the crowd much to yell about during a scoreless first quarter Thursday night.
Browns punt returner Joshua Cribbs lost his helmet while taking a hard hit, and lay prone for several minutes before being helped from the field. He had a head injury and was declared out for the game.
A lockout of the league's regular officials ended late Wednesday, clearing the way for the exit of the controversial replacement refs. And so, finally, the real officials were in place for Week 4, beginning with this game between AFC North rivals.
As they walked onto the field hours before the game, the officiating crew received a round of applause and shouts of encouragement from fans in the lower sections. Head linesman Wayne Mackie and line judge Jeff Seeman both tipped their caps to acknowledge the support.
And then, before the pregame coin flip, referee Gene Steratore greeted the players at midfield by saying, ''Good evening, men, it's good to be back.''
Many in the sellout crowd stood and roared their approval.
Four penalties were marked off during the first quarter, two on each team, and there were no apparent arguments from the players or coaches.
Cleveland's first two possessions ended with punts. On Baltimore's second punt, Cribbs returned the kick 14 yards until being hit in the helmet by the shoulder of Ravens linebacker Dannell Ellerbe. Jameel McClain recovered the loose ball, but Baltimore gave it back when Joe Flacco's pass into the end zone was intercepted by linebacker Craig Robertson.
Flacco had thrown 125 passes without being picked off before Robertson stepped in front of Anquan Boldin.
During pregame practice, Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis spoke with Steratore and gave him a hug. Steratore turned around and shook hands with Ravens safety Ed Reed, who spoke out against the replacement refs.
Many of the fans filing into the stadium spoke delightedly about the demise of the replacements.
''It was very chaotic,'' 44-year-old Karen Riley said. ''They couldn't control the players on either side. There were bad calls, constantly, and in some cases refs making different calls at the same time.''
Eric Warthen, who attended the game with his son, said, ''I grew up in a union family so I understand. We really didn't get the best product.
''I don't think they tarnished the NFL image. I think they tarnished (Commissioner) Roger Goodell's image,'' Warthen said. ''When he came on a few years ago he had a no-nonsense attitude, a safety-first attitude. With the replacement refs there have been a lot of bad hits.''
Hours before kickoff, as Steratore prepared for his first game in nearly a year, he said, ''Very elated to be back. It feels like being back home.''
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Big scare for Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Cribbs last night. He received a 54-yard Sam Koch punt and made his way upfield for 14 yards, and then was stopped cold in his tracks as Ravens linebacker Dannell Ellerbe crushed him with a devestating shoulder-to-helmet hit that sent Cribbs' helmet flying and his head crashing to the ground.
He lay on the field for a while...
Craig Robertson was an undrafted free agent out of the University of North Texas who made his first presence last year for the Browns. Robertson has done an amazing job for the Cleveland Browns defense. Robertson who ended the season last year on the Browns practice squad, was signed to a reserve/futures contract in 2012. Let me tell you, this is how you make someone notice...
Quick Quiz: Name the NFL quarterback with the most home wins since 2008.Give up?It's Baltimore Raven quarterback Joe Flacco. After last night's 23-16 win over the Cleveland Browns, Flacco's home record as a starter is 30-5.If you are an NFL team headed for a game against the Ravens, then you better not look past that game.Joe Flacco is regularly compared to Matt Ryan...
Pat Shurmur has a guy the Browns used their number one draft pick for, his name is Trent Richardson. He can make some big plays if he can get the ball in his hands. Yet the Cleveland Browns have only handed him the football 26 times in the last tow games. That is how many times he should be getting the ball per game. Richardson has shown if given the chance he can make things happen...
You have got to give the Cleveland Browns credit...they made it close and took it down to the final seconds of the game... And this was Brandon Weeden's best game so far as a rookie quarterback in the NFL, despite incessant pressure from the Ravens' pass rush...But in the end, the Ravens wore down the 0-4 Browns, winning by the margin of a Cary Williams interception pick...
Last week: 32 (+0)
In a year where up is down and down is up, one thing has remained constant, the Browns suck. Of the only 2 remaining 0-3 teams left in the NFL, the Browns are the one that isn’t even the slightest bit surprising. They are currently in the lead in the Blow for Barkley sweepstakes and should remain on the pole throughout the season.
LT Joe Thomas...
The fan reaction to the return of the regular NFL referees in time for the Cleveland Browns to play the Baltimore Ravens is funny. While some fans where excited to see the return of the regular NFL refs, other said the Browns are going to need a lot more than the regular NFL refs to get a win against the Baltimore Ravens. The NFL extended the deal for 8 years to bring the referees...
The Baltimore Ravens played on Monday night, Sunday night and Thursday night. They endured four games in 18 days, the last three of which were decided in the final minute.
And then, on the 19th day, the Ravens rested.
After holding on to beat winless Cleveland 23-16 Thursday night, the Ravens (3-1) are off until Monday.
Baltimore came in as 13-point favorites over the Browns,...
The NFL didn't do the Baltimore Ravens any favors by having them play four times over an 18-day span, including three night games.
In what might be perceived as a conciliatory gesture, the schedule-maker enabled the Ravens to conclude that difficult stretch at home Thursday night against the winless Cleveland Browns.
Baltimore (2-1) has won 12 straight at home, the longest...
BALTIMORE - Ravens cornerback Cary Williams took his first career interception 63 yards for a touchdown, which helped catapult his team to a 23-16 win over Cleveland Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium. But it wasn't over until a pass by Cleveland's Brandon Weeden from the Ravens' 18-yard fell incomplete on the game's final play. Williams' key play came...
While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at email@example.com
Home field disadvantage: “Can it happen here? As in, “Can it happen in Cleveland?” And it pains me to write this, but will new the Cleveland Browns Stadium ever be like...
We’re 30 minutes of gametime into the return of the real refs and it’s already a refreshing return to normalcy. The game moves at better than glacial pace. Why, it may even end before 1 a.m. Fights after the play are promptly broken up without sidelines clearing and extended delays. The only derps so far belong where they should: with the Browns offense.
The Cleveland defense...