Here is a look back at my 6-pack game preview and some post game thoughts:
- Give Joe time- At times today, it seemed like Flacco had all day to look down the field and make plays. Not being sacked one time today speaks highly of the job that the offensive line did for him. Flacco completed 15 passes to seven different receivers, eight to the wide outs, six to the running backs, and one to a tight end.
- Keep drives going – The Ravens today kept the ball for 36:15. A big part of that was due to their ability to convert on third downs. The Ravens were 9-17 53%, on third downs today. LeRon McClain converted on third down four of the nine times. The Ravens got the ball with 7:15 left to go in the game and never gave it back to the Bengals. In that time they ran the ball 10 times, threw one pass, and took two knees to end the game.
- Find Ben Utecht - Utecht finished the day with two catches for 10 yards. Ben had to stay in most of the time to help pass protect for Carson Palmer.
- Get to Carson – The Ravens were giving Palmer all kind of looks early on in the game. Here is how Palmers first quarter went: sack (Justin Bannan), sack (Jarrett Johnson), two runs, a completed pass, and was intercepted. Several members of the Bengals media, said they do not remember seeing Palmer that rattled in a long, long, time. Matter of fact, today was the first time since week 17 of the 2005 season that Palmer has been held under 100yds passing in a regular season game.
- Don’t play their game- Besides Samari Rolle throwing the football after his interception that ended up never happening, the Ravens played smart football as it relates to unsportsmanlike penalties. Several times during the game there were some flare ups between players and pushing and shoving. Every time Ravens players would grab their teammate and pull them away from the situation. In the past penalties for late hits, unsportsmanlike conduct and other things would have cost the Ravens.
- Special teams has to be special – Sam Koch did yet another excellent job of pinning the Bengals deep. Koch does not get the credit he deserves for his punting ability, but he came up with some huge punts today. Yamon Figurs also had a huge day with some nice returns. There was a very questionable block in the back call on what would have been Figurs punt return for a touchdown. Figurs also deserves credit for being a gunner on special teams and making a great open field tackle on Chatman of the Bengals for a one yard loss.
-The Ravens locker room was an interesting place to be after the game. Watching the guys walk up the tunnel and into the locker room was a very interesting scene. Ray Lewis embraced quarterbacks coach Hue Jackson who had a huge grin on his face. You could hear the team applauding, cheering, and celebrating, across the hall in the media room even with the locker room doors closed.
-Several Ravens players said that the Bengals defense almost had a look on their face that they could not believe that the Ravens were moving the ball at will on them. There was definitely a swagger with the offense today.
-The Bengals were not pleased with their performance, “we sucked”, said Bengals wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, “we got beat on two b.s. plays”, was how John Thornton summed up the day for the Bengals defense. I know it is early, but Marvin Lewis might be the leader in the clubhouse of a coach on the hot seat after week 1.