Really, Thursday night games on the road in general –we just do not do well. Ravens played like they only had four days rest; Atlanta played like they were coming off a bye… go figure… On with it.
The run defense as we pretty much eliminated Turner as a factor in the game. Terrell Suggs had a monster game. A Cody sighting. Despite the loss dropping us to 6 - 3, still in great shape for the playoff picture as, if the playoffs began today, we would be the #2 seed in the AFC.
Joe Flacco. Yeah, he had the mad flurry at the end to comeback, for a bit, but he should have never had to do that. Horrible pick. Joe needs to handle pressure better. He needs to learn how to buy himself some time to extend the play. He has arguably one of the most talented group of receivers –he needs to sometimes try to extend the play, when under pressure, to try to let his receivers break open. We all agree that Joe is a good QB. Now, to take that next step to be a great QB, he has to be able to complete passes, at least sometimes, when he is under pressure. This is probably what separates him from the Roethlisbergers, Favres (in their prime), Elways (again, back in his prime) of the world –their ability to extend the play and make something out of nothing. Until Flacco does that, I fear the book is out on Flacco in that teams will realize that if you keep the pressure on him, he is out of his comfort zone and can hardly make a play. This is not an indictment of Joe Cool, just an area that needs improvement. Dawan Landry- at first I chalked it up to him being in a slump a la Washington, but now I think he is either a) maxed out and degrading or b) injured. Dawan is not the force he once was. The missed tackle was… words cannot describe…
Offensive line was just horrible- lousy run blocking –Rice had as good as night as he did because he has other-worldly ability… and Flacco was constantly under pressure. The overall defense. Two TD’s allowed in the fourth quarter? Eighty yards in forty-seven seconds in the Fourth Quarter?? This late in the Season??? Are you kidding me?!?!? Pass defense was just *horrid*. Matt Ryan is a good QB and Atlanta has a good group of receivers, but this was not Manning with Harrison, Wayne and Clark for gosh sake. Ball security- minus two in the turnover department– not acceptable.
At least we travel down to Carolina next. Most people probably thought the Carolina game was going to be a trap game at the beginning of the season, but given how angry the Ravens defense should be, and the coaches certainly have enough to work on with the offense, especially the O-line, the Ravens should be very focused this week during practice and should come out firing on Sunday against the lowly Panthers.
Assuming the ravens are able to notch a win, they will go into the very tough last stretch of the season at 7 – 3, ready to host Tampa (now, thank goodness this is a home game), the squeelers (now very dinged up), at Texans (already beginning their late season swoon), host New Orleans (again, thank goodness at home, and given the Saints have not nearly been as perfect as last year, this is winnable at home for us), at the brownies (winnable, but if the Browns keep playing like they are, game could go either way, especially in Cleveland) and then finishing by hosting the hopefully (by then, if not already) desolate Bengals.