A huge sports weekend in Baltimore saw the Orioles clinch their first winning season in 15 years, the Ravens miss a chance to go 2-0 on the season against a very good Philadelphia Eagles team and the Towson Tigers take a big first step in defending their 2011 CAA Championship. All that and more in this week’s “What had happened was”. Let’s get to the weekend’s top three sports events.
Towson defeats William and Mary 20-17 to even their 2012 record at 1-1 and picked up their first CAA conference victory.
Terrance West carried the ball 27 times for 157 yards and Grant Enders did a great job running the Towson offense. Enders was 16-21 for 175 yards and one touchdown. Enders also carried the ball 13 times for 66 yards. Towson Wide Receiver Erron Banks scored his first career touchdown to give Towson a 20-10 lead. The Tiger defense got off to a slow start, giving up 10 points to the Tribe in their first two possessions. They clamped down after that, holding William & Mary to just 19 yards in their next five possessions. Towson took their first lead of the day on a D.J. Soven 30 yard field goal midway thru the third quarter. Banks’ TD reception gave Towson some breathing room at 20-10. The Tigers would need it when the Tribe struck again with 5:44 left in the fourth quarter, but Raphael Ortiz’ two yard touchdown reception would not be enough to keep Towson from picking up their first CAA win of the season.
The Ravens missed out on moving to 2-0 When Michael Vick rallied the Eagles to a 24-23 victory at Lincoln Financial Field.
It would be easy to start, go on at length and finish with the officiating but I will save that for the show. I want to focus on the Ravens missed opportunities and lack of adjustments. Ray Rice averaged 6.2 yards per carry, but he only carried the ball 16 times. Baltimore came out in the second half with a 17-7 lead and promptly threw the ball eight consecutive times. Joe Flacco threw an interception on the Ravens’ first possession and then went three and out. How does Ray Rice not carry the football at least once in that sequence? By the time Ray Rice carried the ball the game was tied at 17. Rice’s first touch was a six yard gain. The one thing the Ravens have to guard against with their no huddle offense is the tendency to get away from the running game, especially against a team like the Eagles who are vulnerable to a physical offensive line like the Ravens have. The other missed opportunity for the Ravens offense came in the final drive. Facing 3rd and one with two timeouts in their pocket the Ravens had to give the ball to Ray Rice at least once to try and pick up the first down.
It was a tough second half for the Ravens defense but they also missed out on a great opportunity to stop the Eagles on their first touchdown drive of the game. The Ravens soft zone defense allowed Philadelphia to gain 19 yards on 3rd and 20. Then on fourth and one Bernard Pollard got great penetration and LeSean McCoy stumbled but they couldn’t stop him from getting the first down. Speaking of Pollard, his loss to a rib contusion was huge for the Ravens secondary. He may have been playing the best football of anyone on the Ravens defense through the first two games before leaving the game against the Eagles in the second quarter.
The Ravens other big missed opportunity happened on special teams. Early in the second quarter the Ravens faced 4th and four at their own 43. The Ravens called for the fake punt. It was the perfect call for the formation that the Eagles had, but Sean Considine tripped over James Ihedigo’s foot and the Ravens came up short.
I know that Ravens fans will go to bed tonight frustrated that the Ravens didn’t pull out the victory in Philadelphia, but all things considered I think this team will be alright. Every season is a work in progress and Ravens fans will have to get used to the defense giving up some plays. The only silver lining to today’s game was that it was a non-conference road loss. Those don’t hurt too much when you get to the end of the year tie breakers.
The Orioles’ 9-5 win over the A’s on Sunday was their 82nd win of the season and guaranteed them a winning season for the first time since 1997. That’s right its football season and the O’s are still dominating the #1 spot in the countdown. Soak it in Orioles fans you have earned it. Sunday’s win had a little bit of everything that had defined this 2012 team. They fell behind but rallied to come back, they hit home runs, (Matt Wieters had two he is still untouchable) and Jim Johnson had to come in and lock it down. This win was a big one after the Orioles dropped the first two to the A’s. Oakland has been a house of horrors for the Orioles lately and they could ill afford to get swept, especially considering they could have to go back out there for a one game Wild Card playoff. It also keeps them on track to have a winning road trip. I love the fact that guys like Tommy Hunter and Jake Arietta are coming in and getting outs in the middle innings. It’s amazing what a change in atmosphere can do to a guys willingness to try and help the team.