Play Like a Raven – Week 16

December 29, 2009 |

PlayLikeaRayRice

The Weekly Honor’s namesake again lived up to his billing, gashing the Steelers’ (then) #1 rush defense for 141 yards on 30 carries. He had only 1 catch for 14 yards though, and his fumble on the play after fellow 2008 second-round draft pick Rashard Mendenhall had done the same really hurt the Ravens.

Still, Ray Rice played like a Raven, once again.

Played Like a Raven – Todd Heap

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HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAP!

Where has this been all year from Todd? Maybe he is just now getting fully healthy, maybe Joe is only now trusting him enough near the goal line to go to him, or maybe Cam has finally figured out how to get the matchups he wants with Heap. Whatever the reason, four touchdown catches in two weeks is great to see from a guy that had seemingly become the forgotten man in the B’More offense.

The puzzling thing though, is why he was only targeted about three times all day. He had the 2/2 throws/touchdowns early on, then seemed to disappear until Flacco again went to him in the end zone later in the game. Heap nearly had his third touchdown in three receptions, but a could-have-went-either-way non-call for pass interference was just enough to keep him from pulling it in.

Where was he during all the non-red zone plays though?

If the Ravens can take care of business in Oakland, Heap may be primed for quite a postseason. Welcome back, Todd.

Did Not Play Like a Raven – Oniel Cousins and Derrick Mason

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Cousins, starting at right tackle due to the absence of Jared Gaither, was absolutely SCHOOLED by Lamarr Woodley. Woodley led the Steelers with seven tackles, including back-to-back sacks and a forced fumble that killed the Ravens’ final drive. Woodley seemingly ran through Cousins like he wasn’t even there most of the day, and, had Cousins not gotten help from backs, tight ends, and guard Marshal Yanda, Woodley may have racked up double digit sacks.

Not only was it his play that was unacceptable, but then Cousins had to throw in a personal foul penalty that knocked the Ravens out of field goal range on their opening drive of the fourth quarter. Come to think of it, Cousins pretty much single-handedly (but not quite – see below) ended two of the Ravens’ three fourth quarter drives.

He’s a young guy and he’ll surely bounce back, but on this day, Oniel Cousins definitely DID NOT Play Like a Raven.

The other goat from this game, despite his once again leading the team in receptions and yards, was Derrick Mason.

His drop on the wide open touchdown pass that would have given the Ravens the lead is absolutely inexcusable. It may have been the most inopportune drop of his 13-year career. When that ball bounced off his facemask, Derrick basically punched every Ravens fan right in the stomach. Personally, I laid face-down on the floor for the remainder of that awful drive, which ended up resulting in ZERO points.

ZERO, instead of six.

If Mason catches that ball, Cousins never gets his personal foul penalty.

Flacco again went to Mason, on the Ravens next drive. Instead of picking up about 20 yards on 2nd and 6, and setting the Ravens up in Steelers’ territory, Mason dropped/fumbled (another one that could have went either way) the ball, and Sam Koch trotted on the field three plays later. That particular catch would have actually been negated by a Marshal Yanda holding penalty, had he held on, but it still doesn’t excuse his second consecutive critical late-game drop.

If the Ravens are to make any sort of run through the Playoffs, they cannot have their #1 receiver making game-changing drops. Mason is a professional, and undoubtedly his own worst critic after watching the game tape. Let’s hope it results in some renewed focus for this stretch of critical game(s, hopefully) to come.

Thanks to the Sun for the pics in this blog post

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