Monday, October 04, 2010



It's far too early in the season to label any game a must win but if you were forced to do so, Sunday's contest between the Ravens and the Steelers might fit the bill for the purple and black.

A loss would have dropped the Ravens to 1-2 in the division and 2 games behind the Steelers who will get a big lift from Ben Roethlisberger. The suspended signal caller returns to the field for Pittsburgh in Week 6 following the Steelers bye week.

But this 17-14 win for the Ravens was more than just a way to keep pace with their bitter rivals. The win removed a big monkey from the Ravens' backs by winning for just the second time in eleven tries at Heinz Field. It also may be remembered as a coming of age game for Joe Flacco. For the first time in his career Flacco engineered a game winning drive at the end of a game on the road and against a playoff caliber opponent. That four play, 40 yard drive could prove to be the experience Flacco needed to take him to the next level in quarterbacking competency.

THE GOOD: Flacco had a couple of shaky moments when he fumbled after holding the ball too long and a head scratching interception. But other than that Flacco looked smooth, delivered on time and his pump fake and strike to TJ Houshmandzadeh for the game winner is a play likely to become a bookmark in the career of No. 5...Houshmandzadeh shook off an early drop that could have given the Ravens a key first down to haul in Flacco's pass to produce the game's final score. His head fake on the play influenced CB Bryant McFadden to bite allowing for a gaping window for Flacco to deliver the ball successfully...Houshmandzadeh's wide receiver mates Derrick Mason and Anquan Boldin were also productive with 6 and 7 catches respectively. Mason made a great acrobatic catch along the left sideline for a first down and Boldin leaped high on one of his grabs, corralled it and then had the presence of mind to reach behind the sticks for another first down...Lardarius Webb is recovering from his ACL injury nicely and made a key strip in the end zone of a would be TD pass from Charley Batch to Mike Wallace...The offensive line as a unit deserves mention while Marshal Yanda is deserving of individual praise handling the always dangerous LaMarr Woodley...Ray Lewis rebounded from a poor outing against Cleveland last week and put the exclamation point on the win with a diving interception of a Batch pass...Cam Cameron's playing calling early in the contest was outstanding.

THE BAD: Cameron's play calling in the second half was questionable at best. He didn't take any shots down field early in the down and distance sequence despite the ample time the offensive line provided Flacco. He also got away from what was working in the first half opting instead to run the ball most first downs. The short yardage and goal line play selections are screaming for improvement...Todd Heap dropped a big gain down the middle, probably due to the menacing presence of Ryan Clark...Tom Zbikowski is a rather lackluster punt returner. He lacks the speed to get outside yet continues to try. The team likes his sure hands but sure hands alone aren't good enough. Special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg needs to give someone else a shot.

THE UGLY: The turnovers have to stop. Fortunately neither cost the Ravens yesterday thanks to a resilient defense and an inaccurate kicker. It isn't often that a 3-1 team is -7 in turnover differential.

THE MEGAN FOX AWARD: Haloti Ngata racked up a game-high and career-high 11 tackles to go with one sack, two tackles for losses and two quarterback hits. He also crushed Rashard Mendenhall for the hit of the day. Ngata usually shows up big against the Steelers and this time, he was nothing less than a beast for Steelers' offensive line.


Jerry B said...

Good assessment, TL. Flacco continued to impress despite some very dubious play calling by an offensive coordinator who, for some inexplicable reason, not only fails to use his all of his weapons in short yardage situations, but also fails to use any imagination! Where's Ngata or Cody leading McClain into the hole; or "play action"; or rollouts with the run/pass option? Forcing short passes in those situations isn't......WORKNG! The "O" line deserves kudos for a tremendous performance against a highly touted pass rushing "D"! And, has anybody seen Troy Palamalou lately? He seemed to "disppear" yesterday.....

Anonymous said...

Megan Fox is starting to look crusty, with the constant botox, face lifts and the silicon boobs. Time for a new model. She's going the way of Pam Anderson.

Marisa Miller is the next big thing anyways.

Scott said...

" offensive coordinator who, for some inexplicable reason, not only fails to use his all of his weapons in short yardage situation..."

I think Jerry B is onto something here. After acquiring Houshmandzadeh, I have been curious as to why he has not seen the field more. I assumed for the first two games it was because he was still absorbing the offense, but now the guy needs to be out there. I don't want him to replace Mason, but I want to see him on the field in passing situations. Boldin, Mason, Heap and Flacco can only benefit from his presence.

Anonymous said...

Nice to see Yanda and WEbb step up. I used to harp on third-round misses in Baltimore but it seems like we've done better in mid-rounds lately. Those guys, along with Zibikowski have all stepped up.

Chappy 6, Timonium said...

I swear to god...if you didn't know any better you would think viagra & lumpy rutherford ...oh excuse me viviano & the bulldog,was doing postgame on the steelers network...what a bunch of appologist...going on like a bunch of winning fat hairy-armed steeltown women.......get rid of these two would think flacco had never done this before & going on how if rapersburger was in there it would be different.,...its bad enough you have moe-moes in this town that call in and bitch about stupid sh*t but to have these idiots go on about how it was nice but big ben did it in a superbowl....YOU KNOW WHAT WE ARE 3-1 in first place without ed reed...but hey with ben coming back lookout.......F THEM F THE STEELERS F THOSE SH*T COLORED TOWELS..............GO RAVENS!!!!!!!!

Phil from Frostburg said...

A few additional observations from the bleachers:
The Good:
* For once, we outplayed the Steelers AND put up more points. What a great feeling. Here's hoping they have a hangover for a few weeks.
* OMG, the OL was just great. Who would have guessed?
* Good job to the Search-and-Rescue team for finally locating Paul Kruger.
* Nice to see the endlessly discussed deep middle patterns finally make an appearance in Game 4.
* You have to give credit to Mattison this year. With a pedestrian pass rush and suspect secondary, these guys just play great team defense. They don't give up big plays too often, and they're great on 3rd down.
* Credit to Cameron for going for the jugular from the 20 instead of nickle-and-diming-down to a last play of the game finish.

The Not-so-Good (nothing is "Bad" this week):
* The Search-and-Rescue can now concentrate on locating this year's overhyped draft duo of Dickson and Pitta.
* What is up with the short yardage, 3rd down pass attempts? RUN THE BALL! Just dumb. It's simple math. Last year we were something like 12 out of 13 on 3rd and 1 running the ball for first downs. They were 0 for 4 yesterday passing on 3rd and 2 or less. They even went empty backfield once. At least go play action if you're going to throw it in those situations.
* Cundiff needs to make the tough field goals, enough excuses. Love the kickoffs, though.
* Ingress into and around the North (Unitas) end of the stadium was horrendous before the Browns game, the worst it's ever been. Tents and demo cars blocked pathways and caused huge bottlenecks. Let's hope Ravens brass fixes it this week.
* Maybe my memory is bad, but I'm not noticing much difference in the new HD video boards.

The unexplainable:
* Again, an AFC South team runs roughshod over the Colts defense, yet every other team outside the division struggles to move the ball against them.

Anonymous said...

Usually I think you are a total ass clown but that was a great post.

O'Neil Cousins

Harryos29 said...

I WAS CLOSE TO PITTSBURGH THIS WEEKEND AND HEARD THE LOCAL RADIO STATION; REGARDING REED AND CUNDIFF MISSING FIELD GOALS. One of the announcers on this radio station stated the FACT that BOTH kickers came out in warmups and went back and had LONGER_CLEATS put on their shoes.
..Something that happens all over the country; DUAL use fields. I think that PITT played at HEINZ Field on Saturday. that turf is bad enough when nobody plays on it, let alone a college game the day before an NFL GAME! I write this not to make excuses for the poor kickers...but to put out some FACTS that may have contributed to their MISSES