While I’ve joked multiple times now about yesterday’s win as the sixth preseason game for the Ravens, this team is, in fact, 1-0 on the season. There is a lot of good, but there still is some bad and a little bit of ugly to mention.
A dominant win over an AFC opponent: The Ravens didn’t let this game be close. Far too often we witness Baltimore play to their opponent. If they’re bad, the Ravens play bad. When they compete against a top team, they answer with their best. Yesterday, they didn’t give Nathan Peterman or Josh Allen room to breath. They devoured LeSean McCoy at the line of scrimmage and the Ravens racked up 40 points before pulling starters from multiple offensive positions. They didn’t keep this a one- or two-possession game; Baltimore buried the Bills in points and cruised to an easy victory.
Joe Flacco shared the wealth: With a new set of weapons, we all wondered if Joe’s chemistry was ready for live action. A new trio of receivers is great, but they must be on the same page to find success. Flacco answered with three touchdowns, one for each free agent signing. Safe to say they are not only on the same page, but the same sentence.
Pass rush surplus: The Ravens didn’t depend upon Terrell Suggs alone for pressure. They hit both Peterman and Allen with successful slot-corner blitzes, Suggs notched his sack and Tim Williams made his mark in the fourth quarter with a redzone sack. Also, in his contract year, Za’Darius Smith was unrelenting in his pursuit of the quarterback.
Secondary produces impressive results sans Jimmy Smith: The Ravens’ star cornerback missed the first of his four games from his suspension, but Marlon Humphrey and Brandon Carr picked up the slack. Carr had another Week 1 interception and Humphrey batted down multiple passes thrown his way. To imagine this defense when Jimmy returns is an exciting thought for Ravens fans and terrifying for the rest of the NFL.
Resting the starters: The Ravens play on Thursday night against an AFC North opponent. This is a rapid schedule shift. While it would have been fun to see Joe throw a few more touchdowns to further embarrass Buffalo, it’s wise to get out of a dreary, rain-filled football game without an injury to a key producer on the roster.
The offensive line is still uncertain: While the offense put up 47 points, the Ravens didn’t give Alex Collins much to work with. On seven carries, the starting tailback only rushed for 13 yards. Flacco’s quick release and footwork also opened up many more plays than initially noticed. They also had Flacco rolling out and this moved the pocket to keep the Bills guessing. Against a stout Bengals defense with the tandem of Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins, we’ll see if they can replicate the success.
Drops were overcome, but there were still drops: Nitpicking a 47-3 game feels silly, but Michael Crabtree dropped two passes. The rain pouring sideways was clearly a factor but these are failed plays Pittsburgh or New England take advantage of.
Fumbling: Twice against the Bills, Baltimore coughed up the football. One from Alex Collins which occurred from a perfect tackle by Bills’ rookie Tremaine Edmunds and a second from Janarion Grant muffing the punt. Turnovers lose football games. Those turn into touchdowns against better teams. Rain or shine, you must secure the football.