Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Good, Bad, Ugly & The Megan Fox: Ravens @ Steelers, Divsional Playoff

Ravens give it away, 31-24

What a strange season this has been. A few peaks, some deep valleys and plenty of unexplainable phenomenons going on in between.

Clearly we end the season bitterly disappointed. To think that the Harbaugh & Co. would finally exorcise the post season and Roethlisberger demons against the Steelers, have the game in control only to experience the same haunting nightmares while gifting the team’s archrivals a win, in many way represents a microcosm of the season.

Pick your culprit but the Joe Flacco/Cam Cameron combo still hasn’t shown they can step up and win against the big boys and the Ravens will certainly enter the 2011 season with similar, perhaps even more pronounced doubts.

With the end of any NFL season comes the realization that several of the players on the current 53 man roster will be gone. It’s the nature of the beast and some may be appearing on these pages for the very last time.

Until next season, here’s one final look at The Good, Bad, Ugly & The Megan Fox…

THE GOOD: Haloti Ngata as he so often does terrorized the Steelers and his constant commanding of two-man attention made the Ravens’ blitzes and basic four man pass rushes more effective…Dawan Landry was very solid in run support and stepped up his tackling efforts, leading the team with 10…Ed Reed’s presence in the secondary always gives opposing QB’s pause but perhaps more so than any other game this season, Reed supported the run very well…Josh Wilson was asked often to take on speedy Mike Wallace one-on-one and was up to the task. He put on a clinic while knocking down one deep pass hurled by Roethlisberger…Cory Redding came on late in the season and Saturday was no different while scraping down the line in run support. He also had a half sack and showed great awareness when scooping up what proved to be a fumble and taking it in for an easy 6…Lardarius Webb showed some nice open field running while efficiently following blocks on both punt and kick returns.

THE BAD: The Ravens offensive line has struggled in pass protection much of the season and Saturday was no exception…Both Willis McGahee and Ray Rice struggled in pass protection as well…Joe Flacco seemingly crumbles in the post season whenever the Ravens advance beyond the wild card round. He played a decent first half but in the second half, knowing that he had to at least protect the lead, he gave the Steelers an opportunity to score from deep in Ravens territory after an ill advised pass to Todd Heap was intercepted by Ryan Clark.

THE UGLY: Greg Mattison’s hideous decision to rush only 3 on a critical 3rd and 19 took even Ben Roethlisberger by surprise…Lardarius Webb didn’t help matters much on the play by allowing a receiver to get behind him despite a prevent quarters coverage…Anquan Boldin’s drop of a perfectly thrown ball from Joe Flacco (low and away from the defender) was a fatal mistake. If he catches it, the Ravens could be hosting the Jets in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday…Ray Rice’s fumble to trigger the epic collapse…TJ Houshmandzadeh’s dropped pass that ended the epic collapse…The things you take for granted, like a simple snap exchange between Matt Birk and Flacco, was botched, leading the way to an easy 7 for the Steelers…The officiating was a disaster. It is rare that a game between two physical and bitter archrivals is called so closely when the stakes are so high. The holding call against Marcus Smith in the fourth quarter was extremely ticky-tacky considering the circumstances (4th quarter punt return for a TD nullified) and the defensive holding call on Terrence Cody inside the 5 yard line and away from the play was wretched particularly when considering that Paul Kruger was bear hugged by a Steelers offensive lineman at the point of attack. The call gave the Steelers a new set of downs when instead they should have been pushed back 10 yards. It also led to the game’s final touchdown.

THE MEGAN FOX: Terrell Suggs took a ton of criticism in 2009 and rightly so. To his credit he responded in 2010 and for all intents and purposes he is a Steelers killer. Suggs was an absolute beast racking up 6 tackles, 2 for losses; 3 sacks and 2 QB hurries plus a critical forced fumble that directly led to 7 points for the Ravens. On the season v. Pittsburgh Suggs posted 15 tackles and 5 ½ sacks. His support of the run to contain and hold down the edge was text book. For the game, the Steelers’ series and the season, he and Haloti Ngata were the Ravens’ most dominant players.


Jimmy said...

Well said Tony!
from the Nest 7 guy.

Harryos29 said...

Harry OS 29 Jan 18 2011
7:20 pm Well, one coordinator just announced that he will be going back to College to Coach, Matteson.
..The way I look at it..one down one to go. I'm hoping that LES MILES makes Cam a juicy offer to come to LSU: TOMORROW!
..Changes are in the wind...stay tuned.

Harryos29 said...

HARRY OS 29 Jan 18 2011
..Some of my buddys are here with me in my MAN_CAVE of a club room tonight, watching the NFL Channel. It doesn't get any easier, each time we see the Ravens/Steelers game Replay.
Again, I really want the JETS to lay one on the Steelers this weekend: However, that is my heart talking; not my Head!
Prediction, Steelers 24 Jets 20 this coming sunday.

Jerry B said...

Always insightful and well thought out, TL! Now that Mattison has gone back to the college ranks where he probably has always belonged, maybe the new coordinator will be aggressive in utilizing the talent at his disposal. Now, if we could only find someone who wants Cameron..... By the way, aside from the improper use of talent, poor game planning, play calling, etc., my greatest concern is that Flacco won't get the "coaching up" he needs to get to the next level from this amateur group of assistants. Look what Mike Martz did for Jay Cutler in Chicago and you'll appreciate my concerns. Anyway, from where I stand, the defense just got.....better!

Harryos29 said...

Harry OS 29 Jan 18, 2011
..Jerry B. We are on the same page. Glad that Matteson returned to his home in college.
..I keep hearing on the radio that we are stuck with CAM. Hopefully that MEETING with the owner later this week will result in a NEW Offensive Coordinator. Ps. I don't want Brad CHILDRESS.. I hear that he is a control freek too. Josh Mc Daniel will help Sam Bradford in St Louis. So, who else is out there in the coaching ranks that is willing to come to Baltimore?