First of all, Congratulations to the Ravens (7-3) on a hard fought victory beating the Bengals (6-4) in front of the home crowd. The Steelers (7-3) and the Texans (7-3) have bye weeks so since we beat them both and in 1st place means we're back behind the wheel of the car. You know it may not have been pretty, but a win is a win, and now we will welcome the 49ers to town on Thanksgiving night. So now I just want to reflect on a few things before we move forward.
I know we want to have balance between the run & pass especially after last weeks lost but we have to remember our opponent will know that too. So instead of being so obvious to that fact and start the game off with three consecutive run plays, why not throw the ball first? The Bengals was ready for Ray Rice so it wasn’t a surprise to them what we were doing that's why we went 3 and out. I think we could have a froze them for a quick seven if we had a play action or a trick play ready. Most importantly, we have to keep in mind to go with whats working in the game, off balanced, or not, it is what it is. The object of the game is to win, and if that means Joe Flacco may not throw as much or Rice may not run as much so be it!
Why are we not pressuring these QB’s when we know they are going to throw? The past couple of games we have not given them enough pressure (like we usually do) & they are completing a lot of passes. It’s like at times we are playing too conservative on defense. These quarterbacks (rookies or not) need to feel the pressure and put on their backs. We need to return to that formula very quickly because it's successful.Now I have to acknowledge the possible future tag-team combo in Joe Flacco & Torrey Smith. With Flacco’s arm and Torrey’s speed this could be a deadly combo to deal with. Just looking at the offense as a whole, Is it just me or should other teams be concerned? We have two veteran receivers in Anquan Boldin & Evans. (Boldin is one of the toughest S.O.B ‘s playing the game) Yes, we do have two rookie tight ends but look at them. Ed Dickson & Dennis Pitta are playing better than the league expected. Ray Rice is an all purpose back and proves it every week. Joe Flacco (The Iceman) is good and the best we've had at the position in franchise history. (the stats & records prove it) The league needs to prepare for a post season that we will set on fire because the puzzle is almost complete.
The defense is still doing their thing as well. Now while I don’t believe they are as good as the defense we had when we won the Super Bowl, (who does?) they can hang and will to the very end of the game. Ray Lewis didn’t play in our win over the Bengals but his presence was felt and known. It was kind of funny watching him on the sidelines because you could see he was itching to come in and play. The defense can still cause havoc better then majority of the teams with Haloti Ngata, Terrell Suggs, Jarret Johnson, Ed Reed, and Bernard Pollard. I don’t see any teams lining up eager to play against them and if they say they are..THEY'RE LYING!!! What I love most about our defense is the direction by Chuck Pagano. In meetings and interviews, he comes off more like a player than a coach, I think he is better to lead this defense than Greg Mattison was. So any team that want some, can feel free to always come and get some, but be ready for what you get!
Next up is the 49ers, and we have a few things out the gate working in our favor. They are traveling from West to East to play this game. They also played later then us on Sunday. Finally, they are coming into a house that will not be pretty for them to play in. I have to say, Alex Smith needs to come in and show me something because I’m sorry I just don’t believe in this second coming crap. All of a sudden he’s gone from being Kyle Boller to Peyton Manning? I think not! I want to see him put on the Alex Smith Show in Baltimore against us. Now while I’m not sold on Alex Smith, Frank Gore on the other hand could be scary. I believe it will be tricky, but we will somehow slow his game up. No doubt it will be a good game, and I’m eager to watch it. For Thanksgiving this year, I just want the turkey served up on the platter that day to be Jim Harbaugh’s 49ers!