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Here's what I thought about yesterday:

Offense: Most of us on here waste no opportunity to blame Cameron for poor game planning.  In this case, we must give credit where credit is due.  He out-coached Nolan decisively with a masterful gameplan.  How do you beat a classic 34?  Stretch them horizontally.  Once Willis showed how much we could hurt them like that, it opened up the rest of the offense.  (By the way, is anybody else in favor of giving Willis the ball more?  That screen play for the TD was SICK.  Not a lot of players in the NFL would have taken that to the house.  Perhaps not even Rice.)

In the classic argument of "coaching vs. execution," our lapses on offense yesterday, IMO, were clearly a result of poor execution.  Flacco, again, sailing long balls (sigh).  Stuff like that.

Pass protection?  Let's not even talk about that.  It was very bad.

Also, it was nice to see our offense really include ALL of our weapons yesterday.  We did a great job of spreading the ball around despite the Dolphins' commendable job of containing Boldin.

Defense: All season I've been saying that Fabian has been playing well and just had a bad game against Buffalo.  I think Miami just proved that theory wrong.  It was painfully obvious yesterday that Josh Wilson is just a flat-out better cornerback than Fabian Washington is.  Remember the hook route to Bess that got them inside the five?  Fabian was dropped back in the endzone (can't make many tackles there, can you?) and he was yelling at Carr and pointing at Bess as if to say "Hey Chris, Davone is open!"  Meanwhile, I was sitting on my couch yelling, "Hey Fabian, IF HE'S OPEN, GET ON HIM!!!!"  In summary, start Wilson.

Rush defense: we're very vulnerable against the run in our nickel packages.  Reason being, we put Kruger on the interior next to Ngata.  While I like what Kruger and Redding bring to the pass rush, both of them seem quite flawed in run support.  If an O-Line has a look of Kruger next to Johnson (as they often do if they bring a 3WR set), you can bet they'll be able to seal an alley between those two, and either a guard, tight end, or fullback will be able to put their body on Ray when he comes up to close the hole.  It doesn't seem to be as much of a problem in our base defense, since we're able to just play bigger guys when the offense only brings out 2 WR.

Somehow, we seemed to make an adjustment in our nickel that stopped the Dolphins from gashing us at will like they did on the first drive.  From my couch, I couldn't identify exactly what it was that we were doing differently, but after that first Dolphins drive (which made me very nervous), we dug in and were very stout.

Pass Rush: now THAT's what I'm talking about.  Notwithstanding our nickel's aforementioned vulnerability to the run, I like putting a speed rusher like Kruger inside to collapse the pocket from the inside-out.  So basically, I'm simultaneously criticizing our nickel package and applauding it.  It's my right to do so as a fan.

Special Teams: Looks okay to me.  I'm still cringing every time I see Ed Reed go back to return a punt.  As for David Reed, I like his speed and suddenness, but I still need to see more from him before I can really develop an informed opinion.  The end-around to Reed (though not a special teams play) was a very heady play call.  The fake punt in particular was well-timed and well-executed.  A perfect way to put the dagger in their throats just when they wanted to take one more deep breath for a final push.  And by the way, Sam Koch throws a pretty tight spiral, doesn't he?

All in all, every Ravens fan saw a lot to be excited about on Sunday.  Despite clearly demonstrating that we were the better team, it still seems to me that our best football is ahead of us on offense.  As for defense, I think we have some personnel issues at LE, but we clearly have a defense that is well-equipped to protect a lead.  With Webb returning to form and Ed Reed back there, we are once again a scary secondary that can take the ball away.  If we keep giving the ball to our running backs and sending our receivers downfield, good things will continue to happen and we will continue to win games.

The opinions posted here are those of the administrator of this blog and his loyal readers. They are in no way official comments from the team, and should not be misconstued as such, even though he thinks he could do just as well or even a better job!

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