Much will be said about the Baltimore Ravens excellent defense after they pitched a shutout in Cincinnati. Despite much pregame consternation in the fanbase, the offense also turned in a quality game.
Joe Flacco faced live game action for the first time since New Year’s Day against a team he traditionally struggles against. The franchise quarterback was sharp early on, displaying pinpoint accuracy and varying his cadence at the line to keep the Bengals pass rushers off balance.
The play of the game was a second quarter 48-yard touchdown from new Raven Jeremy Maclin. It was a well designed route combination on third down. The wideout slanted towards the middle of the field as tight end Ben Watson effectively screened the cornerback; allowing Maclin to catch the ball in stride and take it to the endzone.
After starting slow, Terrance West and Javorius Allen ran behind their blocks decisively, combining for 90 yards on the ground in the second half. Considering the group is breaking in three new starters, the offensive line blocked reasonably well against the Bengals front. The coaches wisely stuck with a conservative gameplan, opting for a 42:17 run/pass ratio. Overall the playcalling was effective, especially a couple well timed running back draws.
As expected due to all of the new personnel, preseason injuries and lack of practice time together, the Ravens offense is a work in progress. They will likely improve as the season progresses, hopefully utilizing their speedy wideouts downfield more often. Baltimore’s offense may not be pretty this year, but with the support of an elite defense, they may not need to be until January.