Monday, January 11, 2010

The Good, Bad, Ugly & The Megan Fox: Ravens @ Patriots Wild Card

THE GOOD: There is a ton of credit to spread around for the Ravens this week but to keep this piece somewhat succinct, I’ll focus on the performances that stood out the most. Ray Lewis, you are a beast! Your preparedness, execution and physicality set the stage for a standout performance. You singlehandedly ruined Tom Brady on this one sunny afternoon in chilly Foxboro…Chris Carr’s light started to shine at about the midway point in the season and since then he has continued to build upon the momentum. He destroyed a staple of the Patriots’ offense (the bubble screen) twice and his tackling overall was flawless. He added to the solid performance with an excellent punt return of 34 yards. North and south running gets you places and it helps to minimize special teams penalties…Domonique Foxworth, a player whose tackling has been suspect at best looked like a tackling machine in New England. Normally you don’t want your best corner among the team leaders in tackles but many of his 9 takedowns took place at or within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage…Ray Rice, talk about setting the tempo. He is a perfect example of what you get when you combine talent with determination…Dwan Edwards continues to quietly contribute to a solid defense despite being overshadowed in the media by his more esteemed colleagues, Kelly Gregg and Haloti Ngata. He had a sack, QB hurry and six other tackles despite the Patriots running the ball only 18 times. That is productivity…Frank Walker you’ve been close to getting it right for some time. Against the Patriots you did by being around the ball and being physical…When Ed Reed stays true to his assignments good things happen for the Ravens secondary…Greg Mattison had his unit ready to play and he had answers for nearly everything the Patriots’ offense could serve up…Three penalties for 15 yards! Finally the Ravens decided that they would not self destruct. Having Gene Steratore’s officiating crew each week would be nice also…Team tackling was in essence a clinic.

THE BAD: Tough to find much wrong with yesterday’s performance but since I must, let’s start with the team’s failure to challenge the recovery of the Chris Carr/Tom Zbikowski muff. Fortunately the Ravens kept the game in control but with timeouts in your pocket and with a 24-0 lead in the second quarter, why not throw the flag blindly even without the benefit of a replay to prevent a shift in momentum?...Demetrius Williams, you have got to make that catch on the deep post. Two hands on the football with little contact of consequence and you drop it? These are the playoffs and that drop may make you, like most of us, a spectator for the rest of the post season…Jalen Parmele was very hesitant on kick returns, averaging just 15.5 yards on two returns only one week after averaging 34 yards/return one week ago…The kick team coverage was inconsistent and Billy Cundiff’s kickoffs were simply unacceptable…Willis McGahee what were you thinking running out of bounds to stop the clock on second down with 1:02 remaining in the first half while Belichick was trying to save the clock for Brady using his timeouts? You gave him a freebie...A three-man rush inside the red zone Greg Mattison? C'mon man!

THE UGLY: When Joe Flacco runs even I want to hit the cold tub – that’s how uncomfortable the Ravens QB looks now. What were they thinking of calling a naked bootleg for Joe late in the game. He looked like he was running in a straight jacket.

THE MEGAN FOX AWARD: The offensive line gets this week’s MFA. The Ravens threw only 10 passes, ran it 52 times and shoved it right down New England’s collective throat. Belichick has a reputation for taking away the strength of an opponent and forcing them to win in an unconventional way. Cam Cameron and the entire offense with their actions on the field simply said, “I don’t think you can!” And they were right, largely because the offensive line won their match ups individually and collectively they dominated the Patriots’ front seven. They set the tone immediately on the game’s first play from scrimmage. It doesn’t happen often when your opponent is defending the run, you call a run play off center and your back goes 83 yards UNTOUCHED! But that is exactly what happened just 17 seconds into yesterday’s game. The sequence of downs at the end of the first half when the Patriots had the Ravens pinned in at their own four with just over 2 minutes left was a microcosm of the O-line’s dominance. The Ravens weren’t going to throw, the Patriots’ knew the Ravens weren’t going to throw but could do nothing to stop them from grinding out the clock.


Harryos29 said...

Harryos29 Jan 11, 2010 You hit it right; the Offensive line was really offensive. I loved it. Our Ravens Nest 14 members met early at the local American Legion and sat infront of the new 55 inch TV.
... it was almost as exciting as the Vault. Well..we did not have to leave our seats to refill our GLASSES!!!
Here is hoping the Ravens bring their "A" game to INDY this weekend.
This weekend, I am bringing the same attitude that I brought for the PATRIOTS GAME...Cautiously Optimistic. Just Saw MIKE GIBBONS on the local news; He was showing the tape of the May Flower Vans pulling out back in March 1984, and mentioned that, A WIN SATURDAY WOULD REALLY GO A LONG WAY INTO GIVING BALTIMORE SOME CLOSURE FROM LOSING OUR TEAM...GO RAVENS!

Jerry B said...

Every comment right on the money, TL! Back to the thought at the beginning of the season that this team is talented and good enough to beat anybody! Every game they lost this year was due to them beating themselves, mostly through stupid, untimely penalties!. So, if they continue to "pound the rock", play aggressive on defense, meaning that they PRESSURE the passer and play smart, penalty free football, my program says they it all! As for Harbaugh, as hard as it is to argue with success, his primary responsibilities on the sidelines include clock management, knowing when to call time out and knowing when to challenge questionable calls, all of which are areas in which the young coach needs to improve........

Anonymous said...

Considering Ozzie has made lousy receiver and corner choices for several years noe , the Ravens are doing o.k.