Just in time for Halloween, the Ravens put on a truly Gothic horror.
In true fashion they were Mr. Hyde and Dr. Jekyll on Sunday. I mentioned before that the Ravens never got off the plane in Jacksonville; they never got back on it to go back to Baltimore until halftime Sunday…
Joe’s first half was ugly as anything that visited my house last night. However, he did come out firing in the second half. He got a little bit better blocking from the O-line in the second half (only a little) and he took advantage of that about as much as any human not wearing a Peyton costume could. The pick was not his fault –typical rookie receiver issue. But the fumble, while Joe was running for his life like Ichabod Crane, was his fault. Even with the insane rush he was facing, he has to hold onto the ball. Like Ichabod’s head, Joe keeps losing the football.
I am telling you all- Joe (almost) laid yet another egg against Arizona. He very well still could have a repeat of week 1 next week. Maddening, I know.
Suggs was truly scary good. He is putting together a DPOY season. QB’s and OC’s are going to have nightmares about him. The pass rush in general was like "Night of the Living Dead," but on fast forward. Kruger, was, well, Freddy Krueger. Chuck P. should be on the short list for Coordinator of Year award.
Boldin was like Casper the friendly ghost. But a Casper that is a freak; and with a bad atitude. Of anybody, he put the game on his back. He is really making the case for why we paid what we did for him. Both TE’s had very nice games, both receiving and blocking. Vonte Leach is going as a Number 2 Pencil on Halloween because he just erases potential defenders.
And I have to mention Cundiff. Yeah, it was only a 25-yarder, but it was still game winning. If he misses, and then the Cardinals win in OT… So the pressure had to be pretty high.
LaQuan Williams. While he had a great preseason, the regular season just seems a bit much. He is like Little Red Riding Hood with his body against veteran DB’s. And that penalty on the punt coverage was bad. The game is just too much for him right now.
Cam. Yeah, we won, but Cam is either really mystifying or stupefying –not sure which, but I am leaning towards the latter. Previously I have stated that Cam seems to roll the dice/high risk plays at odd times. Seemed like a good thing as they were completely unexpected. However, I have come to conclusion that he is tone-deaf when it comes to calling a game and in-game adjustments. He abandons things at inopportune times, and will not change things when they are clearly not working. To my first point about when he gambles- on the next to last series, he tried to hit the homerun ball to end the game and he missed it. And let us face it, the one that Torrey did catch at the end, that could have very easily been an incomplete. Seemed to me very high risk plays for limited chance of success. In both cases, the Ravens only needed to get one or two first downs to get Cundiff in range. We have Rice and two monster TE’s who are beasts in the short passing game. And Boldin is currently just beastly –two minute drills should be when these players are showcased, not low percentage bombs to Torrey Smith. And too my latter point, Cam abandoned the run pretty much in the second half. Yes, there needed to be a sense of urgency and yes, Flacco in shotgun seems to work better now. Guess what? You can run out of the hurry-up shotgun. We didn’t. Although I will give Cam credit for like I said above, switching the offense for the second half and also the goal-line calls to Rice. Good calls, and executed well.
I should cut and paste the one I did from last week for Jax; like a bad Twilight Zone rerun over and over again.
Pretty much every game I have noticed little bobbles by special teams. Nothing really tangible, except our returns were… lacking. Yesterday those demons came home to haunt. I saw high school girls’ costumes last night with more coverage than our special teams’. And our blocking, the ghosts from Disney’s "Haunted Mansion" block better. How can Reed field a kick-off on the five and only advance it ten more yards? How is that even possible?
Our O-line blocks like The Mummy. Yeah, they improved pass blocking in the second half, and their run blocking was slightly improved over Jacksonville, but this is just not tenable. If this team is going to have success in Pittsburgh and in the playoffs, it will R.I.P. on the O-Line.
The refs dressed as vampires. They just suck the blood out of this team- ticky-tacky penalties, phantom penalties not called –how many times was our collective D-line unit held but not called? The Thompson Twin’s song "Hold me Now" comes to mind… And we got one PI called against Arizona when there could have been three times that easily. And the PI against us on Reed’s Pick? Are you tricking me or treating me? ‘Cause I don’t like that treat. Pollard’s and Rice’s penalties were just ridiculous. Geez, you would think it was the Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Players do that on *every* play in every NFL game. And all of this is on top of the way to many legitimate penalties we do commit. Why are we handing out penalties like Butterfingers?
Ben Grubbs. Not his fault, but his injury is making our O-Line real ugly. We have two guys who do not know the offense on the left side. They cannot help each other and it is obvious they are tentative because they cannot help each other. Birk can only help his guard; not both his guard and tackle. At least if Grubbs was in there, he could help McKinnie.
Pittsburgh is playing very well right now –about as good as any team save Green Bay. They are like reborn zombies –they… just… won’t… die… Suggs, the D-line and company, will get to Ben. It is all going to come down to our O-line pass blocking so that Joe can match Ben play for play. If the O-line blocks, we win. If they cannot, we won’t. Pittsburgh does not scare me, but our O-line does.