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Furious Raven Rally Comes Up Short Against Vikes; 33-31

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With Baltimore down 17 points only five minutes into the Fourth quarter it looked as if the Ravens were destined to travel home at .500 to answer another week of questions about the sputtering offense.

But, Joe Flacco (28 of 43 for 385 yds. 2 TD)who had been dodging Viking defenders all day stepped up and threw two touchdowns and led drives that took 56 seconds to take a 31-30 lead with 3:37 to play.

Minnesota responded as Bret Favre hit a 58 yard completion to Sidney Rice that led to Ryan Longwell’s fourth field goal of the day that put the Vikings back on top 33-31.

But on Baltimore’s final drive Steve Hauschka pushed his 44 yard field goal attempt wide left with no time remaining that allowed Minnesota to remain unbeaten with no time left.

Many claimed that this game would be the first true test for the NFC North leading Vikings and they wasted no time establishing themselves as they were up 14-0 at the end of the first quarter on two Bret Favre touchdowns, one to Morgan State alum, Visanthe Shiancoe and the other to Bernard Berrian.

The Ravens offense stumbled early in the first half and had to punt on their first five possession and could only muster a Hauschka field goal from 29 yards out to get on the board before intermission.

In the third quarter it took a jump start from Ray Rice (10 for 77, 2 TD) as he stiff armed several Viking defenders to hit pay dirt from 22 yards out to cut the lead to 17-10.

But the Baltimore defense couldn’t hold as the Vikings tacked on another Longwell field goal and another Favre TD to Shiancoe, his second of the game to push the advantage to 27-10.

From there Flacco went to work trying to outdo the future Hall of Famer, he hit Mark Clayton in a 32 yard touchdown toss, hit Derrick Mason on a 12 yard screen with a solid block from Demetrius Williams for his second touchdown of the game and finally a draw to Ray Rice who scampered 33 yards untouched to take the lead.

The loss is now Baltimore’s third in a row as they drop to (3-3) and are now a game behind AFC North co-leaders the Bengals and Steelers who are both (4-2). The Ravens are on Bye next week and will host the Denver Broncos in Week Eight.

Points To Ponder

Is this what we should expect from the defense this season?

I will finally admit it. The defense is in decline. The years of dominance have come to an end. They can still summon the old spirits when they need to but it comes in small doses.

The secondary is the first culprit. Dawan Landry looks bewildered at times and hasn’t been consistent in run support. Ed Reed’s gambling hurt them on two big plays today. The corner play got so bad Frank Walker was called in relieve and all he could do was nab two pass interference calls. Lardarius Webb was a bright spot in the Nickel and Special Teams.

The once dependable defensive line got pushed around again today as Adrian Peterson had 143 on the ground. Trevor Pryce can’t get to the passer consistently enough and Kelly Gregg is a step slow. I hesitate to think what the defense would look like without Ray Lewis ,who at times is guilty of doing too much as well but hearing him guess right so many times on the broadcast made you appreciate his worth to the unit. When it’s said and done they will be a middle of the pack defense in need of a pass rusher as well as a physical corner for next year.

Is the offense now back to form?

I wouldn’t say that quite yet though the fourth quarter flurry salvaged another game that looked like a carbon copy of the Cincinnati contest. Early on it was dump off city once again which tells me there wasn’t much downfield.

Ray Rice is a superstar in the making. His added bulk during the off-season shows in traffic plus he’s shifty in open space as well as hard to bring down. Joe Flacco showed tremendous resolve and poise leading the offense down 17 and taking the lead. He ran the two-minute drill to perfection. Derrick Mason was back on track and imagine for a moment what this offense would be like if he stayed retired. Mark Clayton showed once again why fans get so exasperated with him. His touchdown catch was marvelous, great focus and body control. Now if he could just do it each time out then Flacco would have a legit second option. By the way there was a Demetrius Williams sighting today.

Should Hauschka go into hiding for the next two weeks?

It wouldn’t hurt if he found a safe house for a while. But seriously, the second year man had his first shot at a game winner and he blew it. Wide Left.

His kickoffs produced only one touchback as well, which only gives further fuel to the Pro-Stover crowd. I’m sure the radio shows will have plenty to talk about. The question everyone is going to ask is, would Stover have made it?

But, he’ll get his shots at redemption down the road to see if he belongs in the spotlight. But for me a make or a miss just takes the heat off another awful defensive performance by Baltimore.

Who was the offensive player of the game?

Ray Rice. He runs, He catches, He pushes defenders to the turf. He’s going to a big part of this offense for years to come. Joe Flacco was unflappable as well. The guy is a cyborg.

Who was the defensive player of the game?

Ray Lewis. He got caught a few times on lineman sealing him off but his calls against the opponents were almost always right. His sack on Favre may have caused a fumble on a lesser quarterback. Dannell Ellerbee also showed me something today and he could be the long term solution to the Bart Scott question. Gooden, statisically had his best game but he’s too slight to play backer in the NFL. Can he play corner?


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2 Responses to “Furious Raven Rally Comes Up Short Against Vikes; 33-31”

  1. […] Furious Raven Rally Comes Up Short Against Vikes; 33-31 ยป Ravens Gab […]

  2. Lee says:

    This is all I need to read:
    The corner play got so bad Frank Walker was called in

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