Keep them doggies rolling…
Yes, the Ravens pretty much rolled over the Broncos. But for a bounce here or there, and the Broncos would have rolled over by the second quarter and said, “Scratch my belly…”
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Offense, defense, special teams –all, as a whole played well. Ball security- no turnovers, heck not even a drop on the carpet –good doggie! Redding finally showed up for a game. Fabian Washington played outstanding. Even Suggs, who I expected to be tied up by Clady all day long, had a good game for what I expected out of him- any pass rush (due to Clady) would be a bonus, stuff the run, and provide coverage when called upon. Suggs may not get the sexy stats like other LB’s in the league, but he is worth every penny for all the other things he does. Gregg and Ngata had good pressure up the middle and Broncos could not run on them to save their lives… Ray-Ray drew not one, but two holding calls. Outstanding!
Rice got on track. Flacco looked comfortable, spread the ball around to seven(?) receivers –not too shabby. And Flacco reminded everybody why this is his offensive team and why he is the undisputed leader on the offense. He had that nifty little move which caused the linebacker to whiff on him just enough to allow Flacco to get the first down. Didn’t know the big guy had it in him to be so light on his feet… The OL, for missing a major component in Gaither, had their most complete game as a unit this season. Still not sold on the right side as is, but they seem to “grow” each week. Cundiff is hitting them deep into the end zone –mostly touchbacks and when they do run it out, they are at a distinct disadvantage. And I can see why Phillips was kept.
And since I(we) throw Cam under the bus enough times, we should give him props when he deserves them. I really cannot find fault with his game plan or even his play calling. He kept the Broncos D off-balance, had a good “feel” for the game, and if you do not believe me, just look at the time of possession –that usually tells you if you had a good game plan because a lot of three-and-outs typically mean low time of possession.
Josh McDaniels- I am not sold on him as a coach GM, Pro Player Personnel, etc. And I knew, in my heart of hearts, that Josh would win the game for us. He would make a move that would help us win the game. And Josh did not disappoint this week. Granted, the game was pretty much decided by this point, but Josh still came through nevertheless. Denver is on our nineteen yard-line with a fourth and three with 11:50 to go. And Josh sends out the FG team-! Okay, so instead of losing by seventeen, you lose by fourteen; wow, big deal. Why not go for it? On the road, against a superior team, who knows, maybe you get lucky… They ran a couple of gadget plays against us earlier and were it not for penalties would have had a modicum of success. Kicking a FG at that point makes no sense to me. They were down by seventeen; if they convert and then score a TD, then they are only down by ten and the pucker factor becomes an issue. Get within fourteen via FG? <yawn>
Not punching the ball in the first trip down. Actually, I really cannot fault the play calling, except maybe try a pass on first or second down vice fourth down. Our execution just was not there for whatever reason and Denver sold out on fourth down with one of the few massive blitzes they called all game. Kind of surprised they did not go back to that well… Either way, our goal-line offense needs to improve.
Me. I believe the line from Vegas was the Ravens minus seven and a half. I thought taking the Broncos would be the smart move as I figured Orton and his Arm would have been throwing bombs and TD’s all day long. I figured Ravens 24-17 with two TD passes from Orton. Now I can see why Vegas is in the business they are in and I am not… Even after our failed attempt at scoring on the first drive I knew this was going to be a blowout. New respect for the folks in casinos as they obviously know a thing or two about their business model…
Mental consistency. Our defense had its typical lapse at the end of the first half (not typical because end of the first half, but typical in that it happens once a game for us). Not counting the end-of-game garbage TD -that stuff happens. But we have got stay focused on *all* series and it seems like there is that one series, per game, where we just never get off the porch…
Dawan Landry. Yes, normally he is one of the better Strong Safeties in the league, but he got burned like toast twice. Tampa-2 defense requires really two Free Safeties or at least a Strong Safety with very good coverage skills (as the strong Safety kind of acts like a second Free safety in that they essentially divide the field in half –one for each side deep, as I understand the Tampa-2). Troy P. up in P-burgh is the best at this. Dawan does a great job in run support and all the other Strong Safety duties, but there is definitely a trend in which opposing offenses try to get Dawan one-on-one in a go route, flag, fly, post, etc, route. I am almost of the mindset that maybe we should sub in Ruki for Dawan when we are in Tampa-2. I know that kind of tips our hand a bit, but I am afraid we are going to see more and more of this from opposing offenses.
Gaither. Not hearing any news about his condition, updates, etc, is very frustrating. I know he is having back issues and I want to believe it is truly a legitimate injury. But the conspirator in me smells a Dr. Rosenhaus special… However as someone else pointed out, at this point, if Drew is indeed holding him back then he may now be hurting his client’s chances towards the big payday they think he is going to get versus helping him get it. I really, really hope this is a legit injury and if it is, the Ravens need to consider the IR for Jared. We are two thin in the front seven on defense to be holding a roster spot for a tackle that may or may not play at all this year. This is a case where I think we need to take a page out of AJ Smith’s book and tell Jared your agent sucks, stop listening to him, get your massive a$$ in here for practice, and let’s go. If you are truly injured, then let us work out an IR/injury settlement and thank you for your service to the Ravens.