On what turned out to be pretty good day to watch football, the Ravens had to stage its biggest comeback in franchise history to put away a pesky Arizona Cardinals team.
The second part doesn’t sound as impressive since it was against the one win Cardinals but would you have rather they lost heading into Pittsburgh? Didn’t think so.
My thoughts about this game are a combination of being there live (I like the Seven Nation Army chant) and watching the replay on the DVR. Plenty to discuss.
- The Ravens offense has been on fans’ minds all week long and I stated my case weeks ago about what it should look like. But I’ve also said, like some others that you have accentuate the strengths of the players you have while attempting to hide their weaknesses. One of Joe Flacco’s problems that we’ve complained about is a lack of urgency getting up to the line and getting into a quicker rhythm with the offense. Maybe it was by design or desperation due to the Cardinals big lead but putting Flacco almost exclusively in the Shotgun was exactly the right adjustment to make. He appears more comfortable plus it gave him more time on the play clock to scan the field and vary his snap count. He may not have thrown any touchdowns but a few of his long passes put the team inside the ten where all they needed to do was run Ray Rice.
- Ray Rice ended with 18 carries – 63 yds – 3 TDs – 7 catches – 36 yds. Nice job everyone. You got your best player the ball 25 times.
- If Rice is the first option on offense, then Anquan Boldin is the first option through the air. This was brought up two weeks ago but they need to get Q off early. He’s been a consummate pro since he got here but body language doesn’t lie. When he isn’t as involved in the gameplan and is mainly a blocker he sends a different vibe out with his play. He also tends to drop a ball two. Today he made several big catches including a one handed grab that was sensational. The Ravens spent a lot to acquire him – they must continue to focus on him in the passing game.
- Remember the days when we weren’t sure if Terrell Suggs was worth a huge contract extension? It’s hard to think back that far even though it was only a few seasons ago when his ability and consistency were questioned because at this stage of his career he is such a complete football player. 13 Tackles, A sack, 4 Tackles for losses and a hit that caused an interception. He was everywhere yesterday.
- The Ravens Offensive line continues to struggle. Andre Gurode is playing out of position and isn’t the player he once was but there’s a reason he got cut. Bryant McKinnie looks very good sometimes while others he just looks lumbering and slow. McKinnie is clearly on the downside of his career too and we knew that when the Ravens signed him he was simply a short term solution. But with Ben Grubbs no closer to being healed the left-side of the line will probably be a major concern for the rest of the season.
- It’s a shame that Todd Heap’s homecoming was derailed by injury. I’m certain that after his first catch you would have heard a very loud -“HEEEAAAPPP!” chant. But that’s the past. The present and future for the Ravens from the Tight End position looked pretty impressive yesterday. Both Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta had almost identical numbers (6 catches -46/44 yds) in the victory.
- I’ve seen some bad calls over the many years I’ve watched football but Ray Rice’s unsportsmanlike penalty might be one of the worst ever. After a big run, Rice popped up and let out a yell. He wasn’t in a defender”s face. He was showing emotion. That call blew up the series as Baltimore was forced into a 2nd and 17 and would later punt. The officials have an incredibly tough job out there but that one was just- BAD.
- The scoreboard showed that the Cardinals had twenty four but that wasn’t a result of poor defense. A revitalized pass rush continues to be the key to success. The Ravens hounded Kevin Kolb and finished the day with Six sacks and a ton of hits on the young quarterback.
- Speaking of which, Paul Kruger registered two of those sacks. It’s taken him a bit longer to develop than fans wanted but it’s exciting to see him making consistent contributions. People don’t all improve at the same pace.
- Special Teams coverage continues to be one of the glaring weak spots on this team. Patrick Peterson’s 82-yd Punt Return was almost comical to watch due to all the broken tackles. I can’t resist making this comparison even though it has nothing to do with anything. Brian Billick always got hammered here for a weak offense when he was formerly an offensive coordinator. Wasn’t John Harbaugh a Special Teams coach?
- (EXTRA POINT) Speaking of Billick, I really like him as an analyst. That’s high praise from me considering there aren’t many that I do enjoy listening to. He brings knowledge, insight, and occassional humor. Anytime he returns to Baltimore its an interesting subplot. Considering how good Billick was it helped cover for the awfulness of Sam Rosen. He bumbles, fumbles, and simply annoys me.