Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Good, Bad, Ugly & The Megan Fox: Ravens @ Rams

Throughout the entire week leading into the Ravens game against the Rams in St. Louis fans and the media both wondered aloud – which team, the one that hosted the Steelers or the one that was rolled in Nashville, would show up at the Edward Jones Dome.

Many worried that a 0-2 hosting team might play with a level of desperation – particularly one that many believed would compete for the NFC West Divisional Title.

It didn’t take the Ravens long to answer their critics and ease the collective mind of their fans after Joe Flacco and Torrey Smith connected on a 74 yard scoring strike on their second offensive play from scrimmage.

They never looked back and why would they after jumping out to a 21-0 lead on the heels of 3 first quarter scoring strikes from the Flacco-Smith pitch and catch tandem.

The win sets the Ravens up nicely for a Sunday Night showdown with Rex Ryan & the Jets at M&T Bank Stadium.

THE GOOD: Joe Flacco made good choices throughout the contest, stood strong in the pocket, bought time when needed and kept his head downfield to make the most of opportunities in the St. Louis secondary. He fired lasers from start to finish…Ray Rice made the most of a relative modest number of touches (8 runs for 79 yards, 5 catches for 83)…Andre Gurode was solid subbing for an injured Ben Grubbs…Anquan Boldin brings a defensive attitude to the offensive side. His physicality at the position provides a spark even when a catchable TD pass that evaded his grasp did not…Ricky Williams was productive in his relief role of Rice…

Terrell Suggs was strong off the edge, disrupting Sam Bradford regularly. Plus his multi-technique play isn’t appreciated as it should be. He not only contained a reverse but also dropped Lance Kendricks for an eight yard loss. Later he read a screen to his side and dropped back in coverage and that forced the Rams signal caller to dirt the ball after the play was diagnosed and busted…The defensive front was stout across the board. Haloti Ngata, Terrence Cody, Cory Redding, Pernell McPhee and Paul Kruger all had plus outings. Ray Lewis refused to be beaten while exerting that unparalleled will upon St. Louis. Lardarius Webb has shown improvement at corner and his technique on his interception was text book. He was also productive in the return game.

The coaching staff had a great game plan across the board. Offensively Cam Cameron and his staff found something in that Rams secondary that they thought was too inviting. Give them credit for going after it again and again because the Rams had no answer. Props also go to Chuck Pagano’s gang for re-energizing the pass rush and slowing down Bradford’s fast break offense. John Harbaugh has run his winning streak to 9 following a Ravens loss.

THE BAD: This will amount to nothing more than nitpicking. The aforementioned miss by Boldin; Flacco’s bad impersonation of Mike Vick and subsequent fumble following a run; Billy Cundiff’s two misses from 51 yards out; Michael “The Penalty Machine” Oher; no matter how Harbaugh spins it there is no excuse for leaving Joe Flacco in the game. It was a perfect opportunity to play Tyrod Taylor. Harbs challenging a fumble with 3:20 left in the game leading 37-7 deserves a C’MON MAN!

THE UGLY: Terrell Suggs after a sack. Well maybe before the sack too.

THE MEGAN FOX: This one is a rather obvious choice. Torrey Smith made the most of his opportunity filling in for the injured Lee Evans, gathering in 5 passes for 152 yards and 3 TD’s plus a nicely executed bubble screen that was recorded as a 10 yard run since the pass was actually a backwards toss. Smith played as though his hair was on fire, running hard with purpose. He attacked footballs thrown his way, particularly on this third TD, a fade route to the front left corner of the end zone. “Tweet’s” overall performance validated the organizational support of his play and it sets up well moving forward. He’ll need to be accounted for and when Evans returns the underneath routes should be even cleaner. On Smith’s post pattern TD Boldin was also wide open coming across to the area that Smith cleaned out with his route.

This game by the gateway to the West should not be forgotten any time soon.

It just may have opened up a gateway to more aerial assaults by Cam Cameron’s offense.


Anonymous said...

Am I the only one excited by the long-term promise of this young team? We went from being a veteran top-heavy team to being a younger and fast team almost over night. I know we won't always look like we looked against the Stillers and Rams but the potential is there. Consider our D...young talent like McPhee, Cody, Kruger, and Art Jones. They all look like players to me. In the secondary, see three young talented corners in Williams, Webb, and Smith. On offense, Dicksom, Pitta, Smith, Reed, and Doss (who looks like a player to me). I'm leaving out others but you get the idea. NEVER have I seen a Ravens team with as many promising younger players to go with our cornerstone players. As a fan, it's fun to see these guys contribute.

We do need a few offensive linemen for sure. I gotta think Ozzie and Eric D will focus there this year.

But to me, this team looks like it'll be around for awhile.

Jerry B said...

Right on the money as usual, TL! Easy to get excited about this team that is as talented as any in the league, again, and with proper game planning, play calling, etc. on both sides of the ball, is destined for the playoffs and....beyond! Just as long as they don't lose sight of Warren Sapp's observation that to win in the pass happy NFL where pass defenders are hamstrung by rules, a team needs two ingredients: a QB and a pass rush! The Ravens have both if they will just........use them!