But it should have never come to that. Up by 21? Put them out of their misery –do not give them hope. On with it.
Special Teams. Cannot say enough about Purple Crush and Musket Arm. David Reed is coming along nicely and the coverage and return blocking is improving each week. Suggs and Ngata both played very well. For the Herculean task that Wilson was tasked with, he represented himself nicely. And of course he delivered the Coup de Grace. Saw a little more of Joe using his size, strength and legs to escape and prolong plays. Must admit I am seeing little things improved each week with Joe Cool. Now, if he learn how to discern a safety blitz, then we will be cooking with grease… Redding winning the overtime coin toss. Not sure if the Texans got the ball right away if the defense could have mounted the push they ultimately did.
Drops. In the beginning we almost had as many drops as the Texans. Mason on the bomb, Bolding I believe dropped a third down conversion and I think Dickson also had a drop early on –please correct if I am wrong. About the Mason drop: I am not saying Mason had a bad game –he had two scores and some clutch catches later on; Mason, as the veteran he is, is allowed to call out players, coaches, the team, et al, like he did last week. However, you then do not back that up by dropping what was arguably the most beautifully thrown long ball in Joe’s career –in stride, laid it in his hands –couldn’t have handed it an better to Mason. You are a leader? You put yourself out as a leader? There is only one way to lead- by example, and that was not it. I do not think Joe is this way, but if I was in his shoes, the next time Mason got in my face, or was pouting or complaining or whatever, I would be hard pressed not to walk up to him say one word: Hands!
Offensive line. Yes, I am repeating what has been said before by many. But up and down, sideways, and all facets of our offensive line are a mess right now. And they have zippy time to fix it with a short week. I almost feel like they need to go back to basics like a posted before a la Lombardi, "This is a football...", "This is a block, this is a defender, block the defender..." Maybe we are trying to be a little too clever with our protection and blocking schemes. I saw one play where the left guard pulled all the way to the outside of the right tackle to block the DE after the snap. It worked, but are we overly complicating things? What happens if the MIKE has a delayed stunt up the middle? Flat Flacco...
Clock/play management. What was that at the end of the first half? If you are going to run out the clock, take three knees. If you are going to try to get into FG range -go downfield. This five and eight yard crap was beyond confounding...
And of course the infamous third and two call with less than three minutes to go. We have discussed this ad nauseam -run the ball! If you insist on calling a pass play to try to fool or catch the defense, a quick slant. We seem to be tipping our hand in those situations as the defense always seems to have dialed up the correct blitz.
Time to welcome the Saints. Let us hope the weather is absolutely dreadful so that Brees cannot just grip it and rip it. I like our chances much better the more the Saints have to run the ball. And someone on the Ravens staff needs to send the NFL a tape of all the no-call holds the Texans committed so that a) we get the homer calls and b) when the Saints do hold our defense, they get flagged.
Finally, the amount of criticism bandied about the Ravens: an anecdote, if you will allow me- way back in oh, 2000, the Ravens went five games, let me underscore, five games-! without an offensive touchdown. If four games into that streak someone had said, no worries, you have an excellent chance at winning the SuperBowl, I would have fallen over and swore I had seen the ghost of a Martian... So to overuse and already overused word, maybe some perspective is in order.