That wasn’t just another Ravens win, that was a statement to the rest of the NFL that the Ravens are true playoff contenders. I was down at Washington College (my alma mater) for the game. Considering I didn’t have to work, I stuck around and watched the game with the numerous Eagles fans who I have described in previous blogs. We usually don’t hang out on Sundays, but considering the entire cast of the men’s swimming ’08 alumni were there, I decided to give it a shot. Of course, I was in the comfort of other Ravens fans to ease the pain in case the Raven’s lost.
But they didn’t. In fact, they mopped the floor with the Eagles, and in the process have made themselves an integral part of Philadelphia sports lore: The Day the Donovan McNabb Era Ended.
The first half of this game was actually rather boring. Aside from a great play by Jarret Johnson and an Ed Reed pick that set up a great TD catch by Daniel Wilcox, both offenses were searching for a way, ANY way, to move the football down the field without bringing out the punter. But the second half, especially the fourth quarter, was filled with reasons for Ravens fans to cheer and Eagles fans to have another one.
I don’t understand how there’s any reasonable way you can substitute a potential Hall of Fame quarterback (after it’s all said and done…at this point, he’s in the Hall of Very Good) for a back-up with limited experience…on the road in one of the most intimidating atmospheres in the NFL in M&T Bank Stadium…against a ferocious defense that has already forced three turnovers.
Andy Reid made a bad call, and he’s trying to rectify it by starting McNabb on Thanksgiving night…sorry buddy, this isn’t going to save your job, or McNabb’s for that matter. The Eagles are a team ready to implode, which is kind of strange to think about considering how dominating they’ve been in the NFC in recent years.
Some thoughts on the game:
-Jared Gaither surprised all of us by playing against Philly, and he played a pretty good game considering he’s playing with one arm.
-Joe Flacco keeps getting better every week. Considering all of the pressure he was under, it’s amazing that he didn’t throw a pick. He’ll see similar pressure against Pittsburgh in a few weeks, so it’s good to see that he’s learning to protect the football.
-What happened to Brian Dawkins? Did he even play on Sunday? He is the heart and soul of the Eagles defense, and had literally no impact on the game. No wonder the Ravens put up 36 points.
-If I could give out an Unsung Hero award, it would undoubtedly go to Jarret Johnson.
-Matt Stover is still struggling to get elevation on his kicks.
-For the second time this season, the Ravens special teams cost the team a shutout. That has to be frustrating for Ray Lewis and Co.
-My game ball goes to Ed Reed. For several reasons, including the record-breaking 108 interception return for a touchdown that sealed the game. As Gerry Sandusky said: “You better believe the hay’s in the barn now.” I think it’s a no-brainer.
Who gets your game ball this week?