Sunday, October 17, 2010

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

If someone had told me that the Ravens would have 11 fewer penalty yards than the Patriots, won the turnover battle 2-0 and Joe Flacco would post a QB rating of 119.3 v. Tom Brady's 69.5, I would have predicted a double digit margin of victory. As we know, that didn't happen.

They say the numbers don't lie but in Foxborough on Sunday they were Pinocchio.

This game clearly wasn't just one that got away.The Ravens gave it away.

They failed to finish and put away a team that was one more defensive stand away from the nail in the coffin. Interestingly, it was the play calling on both sides of the ball in the second half that reeked of bashfulness more so than the performance of any single player.

THE GOOD: Joe Flacco was 27 of 35 for 285 yards with 2 TD's and no interceptions. At times he does the little things that make a difference in the outcome of a play, as he did when he looked off the safeties to create a throwing window on his TD pass to Todd Heap. But he still clings to his security blanket a little too tightly (the check down pass to Ray Rice) despite having time to throw...Derrick Mason made tough catches throughout the day, chipping in with his first 100 yard game of the season...Sam Koch was a bit too busy but was solid throughout the day averaging 44.9 yards on 9 punts including 5 inside the twenty...underrated Chris Carr had the secondary's first INT on the season and he defended the bubble screen very well.

THE BAD: Surprisingly Ray Rice shows up here. Last season Rice averaged nearly 8 yards per carry on 33 attempts against New England. Today he looked sluggish and left many yards on the field failing to get to the backside of what appeared to be decent zone blocking schemes. He averaged only 3.1 yards on 28 carries. By the way, has anyone seen Willis McGahee? Has Cam Cameron? Today would have been an ideal day to get him the ball because Rice obviously wasn't on his "A" game...Michael Oher had 3 penalties in the game, the second a costly holding penalty in the second quarter that moved the Ravens from a first and 10 at their own 38 to a first and 20 from the 28. Three plays later (and another Oher false start) they punted, failing to capitalize on good field position...Le'Ron McClain was baited into an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that moved the Ravens deep into their own territory in overtime. The Ravens eventually punted and gave Tom Brady good field position to drive the team for the winning FG...Cam Cameron and Greg Mattison were outwitted by the Patriots coaching staff. Belichick and his assistants made the necessary halftime adjustments while Cameron and Mattison adopted the play-not-to-lose approach. Cameron's emptying of the backfield on Flacco's failed sneak on third and less than a yard was inexcusable. Mattison rushing only 3 from his own 5 yard line was even more heinous. And after all the talk about Pats' rookie TE Aaron Hernandez, Mattison had next to no answer for the former Florida Gator (thanks Anonymous). Thankfully he developed the drops late in the game. John Harbaugh needs to take some of the blame for both of his coordinators, allowing his team to play scared and failing to embrace a go-for-the-jugular mentality, something he campaigned for last week. Practice what you preach coach!...Billy Cundiff's kickoff out of bounds after the Ravens had just taken a 20-10 lead shifted the momentum back to the Patriots.

THE UGLY: The Ravens' return game was absolutely horrific. On kickoffs Jalen Parmele was way too indecisive. He doesn't have the speed to be a game breaker and when he doesn't run vertically and with purpose a touchback is a much better option. His game has fallen markedly and his roster spot could be in jeopardy if the Ravens activate both Ed Reed and Brendon Ayanbadejo this week from PUP as expected. Tom Zbikowski and Chris Carr were equally bad as punt returners. Only Carr tried to return a punt and he lost a yard but perhaps more disturbingly, both players allowed catchable balls to hit the field only to bounce much deeper into Ravens territory. Their poor efforts contributed greatly to the Ravens losing the battle of field position badly in the second half.

THE MEGAN FOX AWARD: Haloti Ngata has been the team's best player since the beginning of the season and today was no exception. Ngata controlled the line of scrimmage posting 7 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 quarterback hurries and wasn't far removed from an interception towards the end of regulation. He will certainly command more double teams going forward. Let's hope that Greg Mattison has the ability to use that to the advantage of his guys off the edge. But if today was any indication, I'm not holding my breath.


Jerry B said...

In a nutshell: a "gutless" headcoach plus two "clueless" coordinators add up to a huge waste of talent and a....loss!

Travis said...

As a Patriots fan.. The Ravens have nothing to worry about. They have just as much chance in the AFC as the rest of the top teams.. This game just so happened to go the Pats way.

Anonymous said...

Hernandez is a Gator..not a Hurricane

Tony Lombardi said...

My bad Anon...made the change...thanks!

Anonymous said...

You're welcome :)
Great blog by the way. Read it weekly