Wow. Just got back home from watching the Ravens game. That looked like a match-up between two mediocre teams. The Ravens blew several opportunities inside the Red Zone, just to settle for field goals. On one trip in “The Zone,” the offense didn’t have a pass in the end zone. On the second trip, McNair threw one in, but he was throwing it away to avoid a sack.
It was interesting to watch the Ravens after flipping through the channels for the Patriots/Browns, and Redskins/Lions games. Those games featured four teams that, even when failing, had some creativity and imagination on the offensive side of the football. The Patriots are loaded, but didn’t just rely on their own talent. Tom Brady has several receivers who can run and make things happen, but they throw the ball down field and put pressure on the defense.
The Browns do a lot of the same. They put pressure on the defense to stop them. The Browns receivers run double moves, which makes the secondary play honest. There’s no way Braylon Edwards is that much better than any of the young receivers we have. The difference is, the Browns use Edwards the way a number one NFL receiver should be used.
Jason Campbell completed 23 of 29 passes for two touchdowns against the Detroit Lions. Before you insert any jokes about the Lions’ defense, at least the Redskins exploited them and made them look as bad as you think they might be. They didn’t get into a “pitcher’s dual” with them. They compiled over 360 total yards, and put 34 points on the board. That’s getting it done. That’s a team responding coming off of the bye, after a horrible loss. Let’s keep in mind, the Lions were 3-1 coming into that game.
The Ravens came off of a horrible loss. They looked bad on both sides of the ball against the Cleveland Browns. What they needed this week was to get better by seperating themselves against a mediocre team who was starting their back-up quarterback.
I know, the 49ers were starting Trent Dilfer, and he has something to prove against the Ravens. Dilfer had 126 yards passing. I respect what he said earlier this week about Brian Billick, but there’s a reason the man hasn’t held down a starting job either before he got here, or since he’s left. If you’re worried about Trent Dilfer getting revenge on you, it’s probalby going to be a long season.
The Ravens’ defense played their best game of the year, but the offense was ineffective. Not only did the Ravens force the 49ers to defend the end zone, but Steve McNair consistantly completed passed short of the first down marker. In fact, McNair only averaged five yards per pass attempt. Derrick Mason averaged just under eight yards per catch. Michael Turner of the Chargers had a better average on the ground.
This offense has Steve McNair, Derrick Mason, Willis McGahee, Todd Heap, who was injured Sunday, and Demetrius Williams. There are offenses in the NFL with less that are more productive. McNair threw two deep balls Sunday that were accurate, so, as I stated before, he still has the arm strength. One pass resulted in pass interference, but it hit Mason in the face mask, and the other hit Williams out of bounds over the outside shoulder, where it was suppose to be. Some coaches would say Williams needs to get further away from the sidelines in order for McNair to hit him in bounds.
The bottom line is, this team is going to go as far as the offense carries them. That doesn’t mean the defense isn’t still one of the best around. It just means the Patriots, Colts, Chargers, and Steelers all have offenses that are capable of putting at least 17-20 points up against this defense. At least. The Ravens have to be able to do the same against those teams. From where I’m looking, I’m concerned.