I'll be the first to tell you that I was practically screaming at my television set, pleading for the Ravens to sling it deep, even amidst the constant pass rush. It was the perfect mismatch, the Broncos had two very suspect safeties, and if a Ravens receiver could get downfield, the results could be disastrous for Denver.
But I didn't get my wish, as the Ravens passing attack was essentially a bunch of cringeworthy dumpoffs. The longest strike of the day was a 22-yard completion to Marlon Brown, and it was the only attempt over 20 yards. The team's top four receivers combined for only 45 yards on five receptions, and Flacco was pressured on more than 60 percent of dropbacks.
Or, in simpler terms, the offense was a cluster last week.
This week's matchup against the Raiders gives us another tantalizing mismatch. The Oakland squad is without their starting free safety, Nate Allen, and the starting strong safety, the great Charles Woodson, is questionable with a shoulder injury. Should Woodson be ruled out, the Raiders will be starting two backup safeties. It's the perfect opportuniuty for Flacco to ball, and he knows it.
"The first thing we got to do, in this past game, we didn't really ever attempt to do it. We've talked about that. We need to take our shots. If nothing else, at least it lets teams know that we're going to do that and have the confidence in ourselves in doing that."
It's important to note that for the deep ball to work, the offense has to be firing on all cylinders. The offensive line has to hold off the rush, the run game needs to prosper to open up the field, the receivers need to get open, and of course Flacco has to put the ball right where it belongs, in the hands of his receivers. While there are still many question marks on this offense, Flacco knows that last week's conservative offense isn't going to win the team any games.
"As far as confidence goes, I think it also translates to us," Flacco said. "If we're going to call those things and get them going, I think it'll give us the confidence to go out there and execute plays and have some explosiveness to us. It's tough to maintain 15-play drives consistently and score points. So, we're going to have those as part of our game. So, to start off, I would say that. And then we have to make sure that we protect and I find the soft zone in the pocket and put the ball where it needs to be."
There seems to be some truth to the idea that in general, defense reigns supreme early on in the season, as there were very few offensive shootouts around the league. While I'm of the belief that the Ravens offense is almost always awkward-looking early on in the season, this team needs to find some rhythm this week.