While everyone’s talking about all the talking on the field Monday night between referees and Ravens, there were a few notes I took about the game that I’d like to pass along.
LeRon McClain had his best game of his young NFL career. If you’ve seen the replays of McGahee’s 3rd quarter touchdown run, watch McClain take our old friend AD out of the play with a stellar block. He did this just about all night, whether it was leading Willis through the rushing lane or chipping defenders on the edge. McClain showed why the Ravens were so high on him. A very solid effort.
Speaking of McGahee, he has really blocked well in pass protection all season. In addition to his tough runs on Monday, he picked up the Patriots’ blitzers very well. His blocking allowed Boller some crucial additional time on a number of pass plays.
Where was Wes Welker? Cory Ivy put him in Witness Protection. Simply terrific game from Ivy.
Jermaine Winborne did a solid job too, even with the holding penalty on Watson at the end. Something tells me David Pittman’s days are limited in Baltimore.
Lost in all the hoo-hah over the Ravens on field "debates" with the officials was the Rodney Harrison Act. This no-class HGH reprobate had words with Brian Billick (which I’m sure you’ve all seen the video of by now). Why doesn’t this type of behavior warrant an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty? Since when is it acceptable to taunt not just the opponents’ sideline, but the Head Coach? How is this acceptable? How do the referees fail to see it? If anything, this just cements my opinion of the Patriots as classless, selfish cheaters. I’m really stepping my hatred of them up even more after that display. In fact, it’s so bad that I’m actually rooting for the Steelers this Sunday. Please forgive me.
Jason Brown was a monster inside. He has an innate ability to get to the "second level" (linebackers and defensive backs) on just about every rushing play. JB’s going to be an All-Pro for a number of years. He’s really good.
If you thought, as I did, that Daniel Wilcox wasn’t going to suit up again this year, then you had to be very encouraged by his return Monday. He really is an unsung player on the offense. Good to have him back. And a touchdown to top it off!
More than any other player, Kevin Faulk hurt the Ravens the most, in my opinion. Check out a few of his runs the other night. There were two where he was seemingly trapped in the backfield only to slip a tackle and gain 6 to 8 yards. He did drop an easy screen pass, though. But he’s a terrific change of pace back for their offense. I really think he makes a difference for them.
I was listening to DF yesterday and heard a caller ask why New England got five downs on their first series of the game (inside the Ravens’ five yard line). Since I was watching at home, I didn’t get confused. If you were there, I can understand why it may have looked that way. The Pats had first and ten at the eleven yard line. Two consecutive penalties on our D gave them a first and ONE at the Ravens’ two. Maroney then picked up a first and goal with his carry. First and one? Never saw it before either. But you can’t get a first down there by penalty. It was half the distance to the first down marker, not the goal.
A few final facts to consider: Three 4th quarter possessions for Baltimore, three three-and-outs. A 3rd and One pass (AGAIN!) to McGahee that never had a chance. Seven penalties on Baltimore at the half. Ed Reed’s ridiculous fumble (the biggest play of the game in my mind). Letting Jabar Gaffney beat you for the game-winning TD.
How could I forget? Antwan Barnes was terrific! If he can raise his game, it will make the entire D a LOT better. More pass-rush weapons means more flexibility.
Now, let us never speak of this game again. (Yeah, right!)