Not quite the perfect game we were looking for, but a pretty good game. Would have been nice to put the Panthers to bed before halftime, but alas we let them hang around. Bu this is the NFL and a win is a win is a win. Does Pittsburgh get anything extra for throttling the Raiders? Nope. Counts the same as the Patsie’s squeaker against the dolts which of course counts the same as our victory.
Flacco. Made good decisions, didn’t put the ball at risk. But most importantly, I saw Flacco extend plays with his size, strength and legs. Saw a little bit o’ Elway/Young/Roethlisberger in Joe Cool yesterday. Cundiff. His touchbacks are really starting to turn into a weapon as if the defense can get a three and out or only give up one first down and then get off the field we have a decent chance at good field position for our offense. The 49-yarder was nice. Unless something extraordinary happens, I think the Ravens have found their long term solution at kicker. Special teams overall- nice return by the rookie Reed but he also had most excellent blocking on that return. It is nice to see all factions of a return firing on all cylinders for once. Suggs and Ngata. Both had good pressure, they supported the run at the point of attack and I believe covered all their defensive responsibilities pretty darn well. Reed. Nice cutback on the interception return which allowed for the easy pitch to Laundry for the TD. Balance, on offense. Nice balance between McGahee and Rice –I believe roughly 20 carries for Rice and 10 for McGahee; plus a roughly equal amount of passing plays (~30) for Flacco. Good gameplan from Cam, although even though they have a decent defense, how hard can it be to gameplan against the Panthers? A Jarret Johnson sighting! I saw at least one slant thrown Mason’s way –incomplete, but it is a start-!
Offensive line. Although it looked like they had issues early because Moll was in(?) (please correct if wrong) at RG for Chester -so maybe some inconsistency and working bugs out at first. And then it appeared the line tightened up as the game wore on. But still, way too much pressure on Flacco, and Rice and McGahee really did not have much room to run. Obviously still a work in progress. And it is going to have to improve quickly because Tampa, even at home, is not an easy out this year. And let us face it- I do not believe Birk is physical enough at the point of attack. I think teams believe they can get good push against Birk now. Birk ain’t getting any younger. He may make all the correct protection calls with his Harvard trained and someday to be donated to science brain, but I do not think his body has the physical tools it once had.
Ball security. Yes we were even in the TO category, but that is not acceptable. A testament to how bad the Panthers are: we were minus two and still up by at least a touchdown throughout the whole game. The ball was on the ground way too much. Lapses on defense. Still, way too many lapses on defense. Yes, the Panthers are paid professionals also, but we should have never given up the bomb and Goodson had too many holes for too many decent runs. Let us face it, other teams have figured out that they can run on us –they are not scared to try. Heck, there was a time not too long ago when teams wouldn’t even open up the run portion of their playbook against us; now it is not uncommon to see 22 for 110 against us on a recurring basis… sad state of affairs really…
Overall, hard to tell if the pressure the Ravens put on the QB was because of the Ravens play or the Panthers, especially given two of their starting offensive linemen were out. The time for Mattison’s experimenting and tinkering is over. They need to, as a unit, get good now. With Tampa and P-burgh coming to town, there will be no margin for error, especially with the way the squeelers are playing, despite all the injuries they have.
If we have "Joe Cool", is Ben now "Glass Joe"?