A win is still a win, even more so when over a quality opponent. Yes, the Baltimore Ravens were inconsistent at times and other times were a well-oiled machine. Maddening, I know, but at the end of the day another two touchdown victory that was all but done about mid-way through the fourth quarter in the Ravens 29-14 victory over the Houston Texans yesterday at M&T Bank Stadium. Even before then, you could feel a momentum swing towards the Ravens where I knew we were going to win.
Ray Rice. Just a dagger when it looked like he was going to fall, he was able to keep his balance and got the ball down to like the three late in the game. Also, when he puts on his escape-valve costume for QB Joe Flacco, I think his hands grow three sizes bigger, which is the only explanation for the increasingly circus-like catches he is forced to make. Props to Ricky Williams for getting his first tally of the 2011 season as a Raven.
The pass rush. Just about everybody got in on Texans QB Matt Schaub. Almost delivered the knockout on Schaub. Our pass rush may not be statistically the best in the league (don’t know), but it has got to be the most feared. Defense overall did a nice job today. A few unlucky bounces, a few minor breakdowns, but overall they frustrated the Texans mightily. And they really stiffened up on fourth down. Past few years, we have not been so dominant on fourth down –not like we used to be wwwaaayyyy back in the day. Hopefully it is a trend and not an anomaly.
Bombs- we hit on what two, three? Nice to see. Also, somewhat unexpected. Not that they were bad or head-scratching calls, but they were kind of unexpected given the situation at those particular moments. Glad to see OC Cam Cameron is not afraid to pick his spots to be aggressive. And what a nice adjustment rookie WR Torrey Smith made on the ball for his bomb.
Anquan Boldin and Ed Dickson. Boldin had a monster day and Dickson caught a couple of critical passes.
Billy Cundiff. Lost track of the number of touchbacks. And was perfect on FG’s. Nice day’s work.
Flacco’s second quarter. Flacco had a great opening drive, then just turtled during the second quarter. It seems like with him, sometimes, it is two steps forward one step back. He showed good pocket presence, but then his ball security was atrocious. Joe, boobky, it takes the whole package, not just either or… But to his credit, he did make some nice deep throws in the second half to seal the deal. He also did prolong a few plays and convert some third downs. So yeah, an up-and-down day…
Red Zone efficiency on offense. During the playoffs, a good chunk of those FG’s have got to become TD’s. At times, it seems like the offense grinds to a halt in the Red Zone.
Pass blocking. Whatever the O-Line did against the Pittsburgh Steelers, other teams are hip to that, and have now figured out how to exploit it. Whether it be RG Andre Gurode just not being there yet, or whatever, our O-Line has got to adjust.
The Jacksonville Jaguars and Arizona Cardinals are up next- at Jacksonville on Monday Night Football and then hosting the Cardinals. Both are potential trap games. The biggest thing is to keep focused and secure two victories in very winnable games and get healthy. It is killing us that guard Ben Grubbs, rookie CB Jimmy Smith and WR Lee Evans are still out… Doesn't help either that CB Chris Carr and safety Tom Zbikowski are also wounded... Damn, that list is like a starting secondary for most teams and two major offensive parts...
On second thought, I think *we* were the undermanned team yesterday...