Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ravens shutout Browns: The Good, Bad, Ugly & The Megan Fox

THE GOOD: Lardarius Webb is a player. He’s explosive and impactful and it’s time he starts to return punts and don’t give me this, “He’s a rookie and we don’t want to overburden him.” It’s as simple as this: Look up in the air, see ball, catch it, run to daylight…Ray Lewis was solid with 7 tackles, a sack, another QB hurry and 2 passes defended…Le’Ron McClain pancaked at least two Browns (David Bowen and Kamerion Wimbley) to spring Ray Rice on a couple of runs plus he made the most of limited touches as a receiver, moving the chains twice…Coverage teams were very solid and they bottled up Josh Cribbs for the most part…Props to Greg Mattison’s unit, they played with intensity and they were fast to the ball. The deepest ending point for any Browns drive was their own 46. Mattie should be as bold against good quarterbacks. They attack the bad ones and play on their heels against good ones…Trevor Pryce is more effective rushing the QB from the defensive tackle position particularly on the weak side. Pryce was able to record a sack on Brady Quinn despite Mattison sending only 3 rushers after the Cleveland QB…The Ravens running game from the shotgun is effective and they should employ it more regularly.

THE BAD: Chris Chester and Ben Grubbs looked lost at times and both erred leading to sacks on Joe Flacco…Cam Cameron’s game plan was suspect again. During the few shots from behind the quarterback that ESPN blessed us with during the broadcast, we could see Ravens receivers blanketed all over the field. ESPN perhaps realizing that the viewing audience would be lame for this unappealing matchup must have spared some expenses. Replays were rather limited and they seemed more interested in trips down memory lane with Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski…Staying with Cameron, when will he start incorporating Todd Heap more into the offensive game plan? Wasn’t the tight end an integral part of his success in San Diego. Seems to me Cameron helped shape a former hoops player into an All-Pro Tight End…Trevor Pryce, your sack celebration is ugly and looks like a seizure…Chris Carr, please retire from returning punts…Joe Flacco, despite what the stat line says (QB rating of 98.1) you looked like a deer in headlights far too often. On a key third down in the second quarter (third and 2) Flacco completely missed seeing a wide open Kelly Washington crossing the middle. Despite all of the emphasis during OTA’s and camp to throw the ball between the hash marks, Flacco still looks uncomfortable doing it…Third down conversions were an embarrassing 4 of 14 against the league’s worst ranked defense…Substitutions were sloppy on both sides of the ball and the Ravens were hit with 2 penalties for too many men on the field…Tavares Gooden suffered another concussion and the bet here is that his propensity for such injuries will unfortunately end his career prematurely despite the promising physical skills if this continues…The coaching staff has to do something to jump start this team early in games, particularly the offense. If they continue to come out this flat against the Colts, Steelers and even the Packers, they can forget postseason play.

THE UGLY: The game itself was about as entertaining as a documentary on the manufacturing process of synthetic turf. That game has the dubious distinction of being the only NFL game the entire season to be a scoreless tie at halftime…Mark Clayton’s drop of a slightly high throw from Flacco on a slant pass was even more proof that the team’s 2005 first round pick is not a playmaker. The perfect call and read only to be undermined by poor execution…The team’s use of their timeouts in the first half was purely amateurish as was John Harbaugh’s challenge on Cleveland’s first play from scrimmage following a 13 yard run by Jamal Lewis. Harbaugh thought Lewis fumbled and it wasn’t even close…Steve Hauschka, his name is now a verb – a synonym for miss as in, “Holy s*^t he Hauschka’d it again!” The caucasion answer to Baby Face has been released by the team.

THE MEGAN FOX: For weeks I have beaten up on this week’s award winner for missing tackles, lack of aggressiveness and obvious weaknesses in pass coverage. And while I recognize that the Ravens were playing the hapless Browns and seemingly incompetent Brady Quinn, my choice for this week reportedly was in risk of losing his job to the injured Haruki Nakamura. Perhaps that was Dawan Landry’s wakeup call. The oft-criticized strong safety played aggressively, tackled confidently and wasn’t caught out of position. His four tackles (one for a loss), 1 pass defended and another that he intercepted for a score added up as one very solid game – in fact a thing of beauty, like the namesake of this award.


Jerry B said...

TL: I'm convinced that the problems on offense started with the injury to Gaither. The offense started the season as a prolific passing machine with Flacco spreading the ball around and capable of scoring from anywhere at anytime, which was fun to watch. Almost immediately following Gaither's injury, the philosophy changed to a conservative, predictable "vanilla" variety and it has continued, which leads me to believe that Gaither may not be 100% healthy. The problem is that without Lorenzo Neal's lead blocking, the running game has virtually ground to a halt! As a result, the formula for stopping the Ravens offense is simply to take Mason "away" and pressure Flacco - seems to be working, too! Agree that the "D" played much more aggressively last night and Landry had his best game since his injury, but that was against the lowly Browns. Will Mattison be that aggressive against the Colts? That's the "$64,000" question! One would hope so, but based on past performance, probably not!