Another win for the Ravens as they try to win the AFC North for the first time under Coach John Harbaugh’s leadership.
The Colts return to Baltimore was fairly uneventful. The Ravens jumped up 17-0 and then crusied as they kept Dan Orlovsky on his back or running for his life most of the afternoon. It didn’t matter to me that Peyton was in a ski cap on the sidelines. I just wanted another “W”.
Here are some more thoughts about a Baltimore win that puts them in double digits for the season.
- Terrell Suggs. Once again he made a strong case for NFL Defensive player of the year today. It was his third three sack performance of the season and at times was just unblockable. Suggs probably could have had a few more if not due to a few holds by the line. What you have to love about Suggs is that he makes game changing plays. Even though the team didn’t recover any of his forced fumbles he is a constant disruption and always gives you a chance to get the ball back. He spent so much time in the Indy backfield that he should have been given a white jersey to blend in better.
- Ray Rice. It wasn’t two hundred yards but he had a solid effort rushing for over a hundred (103) while catching 6 passes (46 yds) and scoring once on a stretch play to the edge. He did have a rare fumble today and I was glad to see that the staff didn’t “bench” him as they did in Jacksonville. They should know his importance to this offense by now. Oddly enough it was the first time in his career that he’s had back to back 100 yard games rushing. Let’s hope we see a few more.
- Joe Flacco was very efficient today (23 for 31) as he threw for two touchdowns this afternoon. His most impressive play of the day was his scramble to find Dennis Pitta in the endzone for the second score. Those are the types of plays that can make this offense dangerous. The Colts stacked the box in the middle quarters and Flacco threw all over them. That’s what I want to see from this group. They have the weapons now -speed on the outside, along with a Pro Bowl back that they can attack the defense no matter what look they give them.
- I was amazed at how bad the Colts were today. Seriously they may not win a game this season. I know they’ve been hit by injuries at some key spots but they had most of their players in uniform today. Mathis, Freeney, Wayne, Clark, etc. but of course the biggest difference was not having Peyton Manning under center. Over the years he’s been given a tremendous amount of control (maybe too much) over the Colts offense and now that he’s not there the drop-off in production is significant. I’m not sure what will happen in Indy during the off-season. A possible Andrew Luck draft pick is looming and that would surely signal the end to reign of Peyton the first. Even if they do draft Luck, would they trade Peyton or hope that he would mentor the youngster? I smell another possible Favre-like situation here but I can’t say I feel bad for the Colts.
- Billy Cundiff was possible scratch today after he missed two practices during the week. There was talk that Shayne Graham was a fall back option if Cundiff couldn’t go today. He did play and did hit his only Field goal attempt of the game, a 36 yarder from the right hash that split the uprights. Sam Koch did handle the last kickoff of the game and you wonder if it was precautionary or if Cundiff simply couldn’t go. It was nice to see him get some confidence back with a successful boot.
- Jameel McClain. Led the team in tackles again this week with 8 total and has played very well in Ray’s absence. I was most impressed with his work in pass coverage as he broke up an endzone toss to Dallas Clark. He showed excellent technique and is playing with a high level of confidence.
- The Ravens secondary was very aggressive today and you can afford to be with such a good pass rush. Cary Williams, Jimmy Smith, and Bernard Pollard all had two passes defended in the stat sheet today. Over the past few seasons, analysts could point to the corners as the chink in the defensive armor. So where’s the weak link now?
- I’m still trying to figure out why Ed Reed is on Punt Return in a game where Baltimore up big. I hope those types of gambles don’t come back to bite us.
- Special Teams coverage is still an issue of concern for me. The kick return of 51 yards by Joe Lefeged (not a misprint) would have meant more with a better offense but they been too commonplace this season.
- CBS Football coverage is awful. Just plain bad. Horrendous. Abysmal. I’m not just talking about the halftime chucklefest either. Another week of the tag team of Mactee and Tasker almost drove me to hit the Mute button. Then again that wouldn’t have solved the problem since the camera wasn’t always in the right place either. Hopefully if the Ravens/Chargers game is not flexed out we will be back on NBC. Thank God.