Nothing with this year’s edition of the Baltimore Ravens is simple. Give the Cincinnati Bengals their props, they are definitely an up and coming team and may have finally, finally got most of the pieces in place; they just need a little more time. With rookie WR A.J. Green out, at home, we should have put this team to bed much earlier and not let them back in with a chance to tie it up and force OT.
Now, I cannot bucket QB Joe Flacco or rookie CB Jimmy Smith. Both made great plays, but then they both made blatant mistakes. So everything kind of cancels everything out. Full disclosure: as the game was not televised in the DC area, I had to go watch it at a bar with no sound so I could not hear what the commentators were saying. That said, it appeared to me that Flacco just plain missed Ray Rice on the opening drive for the third and short. Not saying we would have driven for a TD, but that misfire just seemed to set the tone for our team and the game, at least initially. And that you have to place at Flacco’s feet along with the fumble and the pick (who the heck was he throwing to? It looked like the Bengal was intended receiver). Flacco made up for it later on- nice execution on the Anquan Boldin TD and the bomb to Torrey.
Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy… Live by the rookie, die by the rookie… Nice pick and congrats for his first, but you have got to know when you are going to be tackled (or at least a better sense/feel for the players around you) and wrap up the ball. And the TD he gave up- yikes…
Torrey Smith. Yeah, he’s for real. Hopefully, with a fully healthy Lee Evans, the Big Strike will be even Bigger.
Ray Rice. Needs that sixth gear; guess he is only equipped with a five speed. But he proved my point that he is a homerun hitter- just gotta feed him the ball enough times.
Paul Kruger. Should have mentioned him last week also. I think he may have officially had one sack which is nice, but his constant pressure made a difference. They seemed to have neutralized Terrell Suggs, but Kruger was getting nice pressure. And so was Pernell McPhee. Nice sack at the end to put a bow on the victory –part of the return of the Big Play Defense.
Lardarius Webb. I am almost cringing when he goes back for punt returns because he has been our hottest corner. He is so hot right now, Bar Refaeli is asking for tips.
The Big Play Defense. Three picks and while not a lot of sacks, enough QB pressures (need FilmStudy to confirm) to cause Dalton to misfire. And of course, the last, final stop when it counted.
The two very well designed executed plays- Boldin’s TD catch and run, and Rice’s big run. I have never seen a Cam Cameron Raven WR that open. EVER. Why is it that opposing receivers many times have separation between themselves and Raven defenders so that they can get five, six seven YAC while our receivers have defenders on them like a Rick James fur coat? I thought the TV had switched to the Vikings game when I saw a purple receiver THAT OPEN. Now, I do not expect every passing route to be that way, but Cam, c’mon, you have shown us the art of the possible, so a little more please.
And Rice’s run, not sure if that would be considered a delay, a misdirection, a delayed misdirect, or a trap play, but whatever it was, it was a thing of beauty. Again to continue a theme, "Please, sir, I want some more."
The Bad is on a date with Bar currently…
Zbi’s cranial cavity. First the boxing, then the concussion and now that return. Double yikes…
Torrey’s hair. I know many of you have the dreadlocks – good player correlation theory, but he needs to cut or tuck that stuff.
The flair to Vonta Leach. Yeah it worked the first time, kind of. Why we call that play every, single, game, is beyond me. Rapidly becoming the 2011 version of the end-around. Need to retire it. Now. Vonta was brought it for one purpose and one purpose only- to be a human No. 2 pencil and erase defenders.
Just the complicated effort the Ravens must exert on what should be simple tasks. How hard is it to complete a short little flair to Rice out of the backfield for a short first down? How hard is it to establish a rhythm, any rhythm, on offense (Cam, and the entire O also)? Defense plays lights out for a couple series, then lets a rookie (albeit a good rookie) but a rookie nevertheless to drive his team back in it, late, with a very real chance to tie it up. Why is the good, solid, creative play calling reserved for just a small part of one serious each game? Why can’t it be more of a, what’s the word I am looking for? Theme- yeah, that’s the ticket…
The fact that the Ravens allowed luck and the refs to play such a huge role in the game. Let us say not all the bounces that went our way go our way. We would be having a much different conversation… I know the season is a marathon, but at least come out firing and maintain some semblance of a level of concentration. Not sure why this team has such a burning desire to do things the hard way…
There is a saying: it is better to be lucky than good. We had good luck: the Cincy TD called back late in the game; us recovering Jimmy’s fumble. Bad luck, the TD stays up and the Bengals get the ball back from Jimmy. That said, we should be playing better than that in our own house. Two quarters against Arizona, a truly horrific team, and one quarter against a good but young team -three quarters of just absolutely putrid football. Not good enough, by any stretch. And don’t get me started on our well-traveled and documented road woes.
Quick turn around this in preparation for the Harbaugh Bowl. Who knows, if Green Bay stumbles, could be a preview of a certain Maximus Festivus game in Indy… But more importantly, the entire staff here at the GBU would like to wish y’all a happy and safe Thanksgiving. Especially those who are proudly and valiantly serving, who, because of their solemn responsibilities, may not be spending Thanksgiving where they would prefer to be spending it. "…we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns…you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall… We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something," My hats off to you all; by virtue of the job you do, we can celebrate Thanksgiving and speak our mind on forums such as this. I will be saying a special prayer for y’all, no matter what team you root for.