I was going to title this story, "Ravens Batter & Fry Bengals" but thought as as coy as it was, it was a little too corny, even for this blog. However, the story was still the same, as the Baltimore Ravens did not overlook the Cincinnati Bengals one bit as they focused and put a classic beatdown on them, 34-3. The only thing that sticks in my craw was that the Ravens let their guard down late in the first half and allowed the Bengals to go all the way down the field for a last second FG to give them their only points of the game. I would have liked the statement it would have made to have the shutout.
I was hoping that we would not overlook this team, as it could have really looked bad and hurt our playoff chances if we let ourselves look ahead and got upset. That never happened as coach John Harbaugh said that we were not good enough to allow ourselves that luxury and that humbleness has paid off. There was so much good to come out of this game for us Ravens fans to look forward to, not just this year, but the future ones as well. Only a few questions, such as where was Willis McGahee and is there going to be an issue with this three headed running attack from him on playing time?
Joe Flacco is on ESPN right now, being interviewed over the phone by none other than Hannah Storm (yowser!). He is acting smooth and humble, not unlike his pocket presence. He's laying out all the cliches' though, and it's not the same without actually seeing the unibrow move as he speaks. He's giving credit to the other guys, especially the veterans, like a good rookie! Hannah is looking pretty hot at the SportsCenter Desk, in a blue v-neck top and perfect hair! (<---today's fashion police report!). Handled himself like a veteran in that little interview. Now back to my blog.
Mark Clayton had a career, Quadry Ismail-type of game (remember when Ismail had something like 270 receiving yards against the Steelers in Pittsburgh years ago!?). His throw was great to Mason, but his one handed catch has got to be among ESPN's Top Ten Plays. If he continues to be our big play, deep threat like he has become this year, perhaps the talk about needing a wideout might have to die down and we can just focus on the cornerback position. Hell, the way both Samari Rolle and Fabian Washington have played lately, we might just sit tight and take the best available player, regardless of position, or even trade back for more picks as we really don't have any glaring weaknesses lately. Times are tough when things are going your way. I know this was the Cincinnati Bengals but last week was a very solid Eagles team, at least defensively. However, we should match up very well with the remaining opponents the next four weeks, starting this coming Sunday where we should be able to take down the Deadskins, who lost easily to the the NY Giants, who are to me easily at the top of the NFL Power Rankings without any doubt at this point.
Thirty-five points a game the last two weeks is a pretty decent average. No one is calling us an offensively-challenged team lately, as we have scored over 30 points in four of the 12 games this season and are tied with Denver as the 10th ranked scoring team in the NFL, averaging over 24 points per game. Defensively, we are second overall, third against the rush, second against the pass and third in points allowed (15.8/game).
This is definitely a playoff team and one that no one will want to face come the post season. Right now we sit in the final Wild Card slot, behind the Colts and also one game out of the AFC North division lead, held by the Steelers by virtue of their 33-10 pounding the of hapless Patriots in New England, which surprised me. Now we host the Washington Redskins on Sunday Night Football, while the Steelers get to go home to host the high flying Dallas Cowboys. It would be a treat to watch Dallas go into Heinz Field and beat Pittsburgh and then go to the stadium and see the Ravens put a hurting on our Marion Barry-loving neighbors to the south! What a sweet day that would be, eh!?
So much love to spread around and I'll give out more props as the week progresses.Thanks especially to the guys who joined me on the Open Thread yesterday. You'll have to handle it without me next week as I'll be there in the cold carrying my big stick and screaming like a banshee (another Billick reference)!