Posted on 20 October 2015 by WNST Staff
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Posted on 20 November 2014 by WNST Staff
Nestor caught up with the great Brian Billick on Thursday to weigh in on some hot topics around the NFL. Are the Bengals a real threat? Can the Browns keep up their early season success after a tough loss to Houston? CATCH IT HERE.
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Posted on 28 December 2013 by WNST Audio
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Posted on 01 November 2013 by Drew Forrester
I know the old saying – “beggars can’t be choosers” – but if the Ravens ARE going to lose in Cleveland on Sunday, I sure as hell hope they do it the same way the Bengals did it on Thursday night in Miami.
Can you imagine what doing my job would entail next week if Paul Kruger, for example, sacks Joe Flacco in the end zone in overtime to give Cleveland a 15-13 win?
I wouldn’t have to say anything at all. Just open the mic, sit back, and listen to it all.
“Welcome back to the D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction, let’s go to the phones to discuss yesterday’s Ravens loss in Cleveland…Smedley’s in Perry Hall. What’s up Smedley?”
“I can’t believe Jim Caldwell called for a pass play on 3rd and 10 from the 8 yard line…that guy needs go. I’m telling you, we can’t win the Super Bowl with that bum calling plays.”
“Well, they did win the title last year when he was the offens –“
“That’s not the point, Drew. We won last year, yes. But he didn’t have much to do with the offense. This year the whole offense is his and we can’t get the job done. Caldwell has to go.”
“Back to the phones we go, Fred’s in Parkville.”
“OK, anything else?”
“Not really. That guy has to go, Drew, I’m telling you. Did you see the start of the game? We were completely unprepared to play from the jump. I don’t know what everyone sees in him.”
“Phil’s in Manchester.”
“This is what the Ravens get for giving Flacco a hundred and twenty million. He has no field vision at all. Without Boldin, he might as well be Brady Quinn.”
“Dave in Towson, what’s up today?”
“You have to put some of this on the zone blocking scheme.”
“But, the Ravens didn’t use the zone blocking scheme in the game yesterday.”
“That’s what I mean. They should have used it. See, the problem is, Drew, Harbaugh has no feel at all for the offense. One thing about Cam Cameron, he had a feel for that stuff.”
“Steve, you’re up in Towson, what’s going on?”
“Someone mentioned Harbaugh earlier. I was thinking the same thing. I’m going all the way back to the coin flip at the beginning of the game. First, he sends the guys out there to call ‘heads’, which we all know is stupid. It always comes up tails. Then, heads comes up, he wins the coin flip, and he defers anyway. You have to take the ball to start the game. The whole game went downhill right away, in my opinion. He has no feel at all for the coin flip.”
You might be laughing, but you know what you’re reading above is true.
I don’t know what they’re talking about in Cincinnati this morning, but I can’t imagine they’re saying stupid stuff about their offensive coordinator the way we would be in Baltimore today.
Cameron Wake made one helluva play on the safety to win the game for Miami.
Andy Dalton HAS to get rid of the ball there, yes, but give some credit to Wake for making an All-Pro move to win the game.
By the way, none of this will happen next Monday, because the Ravens aren’t going to Cleveland and losing on Sunday.
It won’t be pretty, because it rarely ever is when it comes to the Ravens.
Baltimore 20 — and the Browns 12
Posted on 23 September 2013 by Thyrl Nelson
The Ravens improved to 2-1 on the season yesterday with a one-sided, 30-9 win over the Houston Texans. After the way that the Texans handled the Ravens last season, there were a number of reasons to be concerned beforehand. Truth be told, I had a much worse feeling about what might happen against Houston than I did before the beat down the Ravens suffered in Denver in Week1. Hindsight however is 20/20, so here’s a quick rundown of what we know now after the Ravens latest victory:
5. Justin Tucker is Back on Track
…for now at least. Maybe it was the reception that Billy Cundiff received from the Ravens faithful last week that had Tucker out of sorts. Maybe it was just the presence of Cundiff in the building that infected Tucker’s right foot last Sunday. Regardless, Tucker made enough big kicks in his rookie year to have some equity built up with fans. That equity though wouldn’t have lasted through too many 0-for-2 performances like he had last week vs. Cleveland, especially if those misses began to cost the Ravens games.
While concern over the kicking game was mild at most, it was nice to see Tucker get back on track with a 3-for-3 game against the Texans, hitting from 28, 45 and 43 yards. Even though the two from 40+ came in late, low leverage situations, any concerns fans had about the Ravens kicking game can be shelved…for now.
4. Dirty Birds
After struggling with penalties last year, the Ravens still appear to have some work to do in that regard. The 2013 Ravens have 20 penalties for 181 yards through 3 games, including 10 for 87 yards in yesterday’s affair. Despite their most penalized performance of the season vs. Houston, the Ravens still managed to win the “penalty battle” as the Texans racked up 14 for 113 yards.
3. Cheering for Laundry
On the day that Ed Reed returned to Baltimore as a member of a new team, and Ray Lewis returned to be honored by the Ravens, it was the guys who suited up in their places that stole the show. James Ihedigbo picked up 9 tackles, 2 for a loss along with 2 defended passes and simply seemed to be everywhere while covering Ed Reed’s old spot. Daryl Smith, playing in Ray Lewis’ former domain plucked a Matt Schaub pass away from a waiting Owen Daniels, and at a time where the Ravens offense was struggling to make hay, made some on his own, hustling it 37 yards to pay dirt.
For all of the Ravens off-season pick-ups, Daryl Smith might have been the least heralded. He was grabbed on the same day the Ravens visited the White House and his signing went basically under the radar. If he continues to play like he did on Sunday, he could be the team’s most impactful addition. It’s also pretty encouraging that his big play came defending a tight end, which has been an issue for the Ravens of late.
2. Doss is a Boss
What more can you say about a guy who was shown the door by the team when they pared down to their final 53 men, only to come back with an emphatic impact? Life out of football, brief as it may have been, seems to have brought out the best in Tandon Doss who is making the most out of his second chance with the Ravens. Maybe in the coming weeks Doss can become more a part of the Ravens passing game, and finally show fans those hands we heard so much about from the team about throughout his first 2 seasons. It’s not like the Ravens offense couldn’t use a pair of hands that they can trust between the hash marks.
1. Who Says Joe Flacco Can’t Act?
While Joe Flacco’s increased, post-Super Bowl public profile has led to some pretty clunky performances as a pitchman in various commercials, Flacco’s acting skills were on full display yesterday. After last season’s debacle at the hands of the Texans, JJ Watt and the rest of the Houston pass rush broke the huddle with their ears pinned back more often than not on Sunday. Flacco used that aggression against the Texans inducing 5 encroachment or defensive offsides penalties on the anxious Texans defense.
Elsewhere in the AFC North
The Bengals picked up a big win and remain tied with the Ravens at 2-1 atop the division. For now at least, it’s shaping up to be an interesting battle between these 2 for the division. They’ll meet again in Week 17 this year, maybe with something actually on the line this time.
The Steelers looked really bad to start against the Bears on Sunday night, but showed some real resilience closing the gap from 24-3 to 27-23. It looked like Pittsburgh had really found their resolve in the face of an 0-3 start. In the end though, their comeback attempt was little more than a chance for Ben Roethlisberger to cough up the ball in a late critical situation…it’s kind of their thing.
Leave it to the Browns to all but announce that they’re going into full tank mode by trading RB Trent Richardson and skipping right over Jason Campbell on the depth chart to 3rd stringer Brian Hoyer to replace injured starter Brandon Weeden, and then pick up a win on Sunday. There are even reports that the Browns are shopping receivers Josh Gordon and Greg Little. Of course the Browns can’t even tank right. If they had only known that the best way to win was to actually try to lose, they could have saved themselves and their fans years of heartache.
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Posted on 25 March 2013 by Thyrl Nelson
Lets’ face it, when it comes to generating bad PR, the Orioles haven’t needed any help for a long time; but whether deserved or not, with a helping hand from NBC, Steve Bisciotti, the Ravens and Roger Goodell, the O’s are unfairly taking the brunt of the criticism for the fallout from Schedule-Gate 2013.
It’s a topic that’s been discussed ad nauseum for the better part of the last couple of weeks, and now that it’s been resolved (or at least decided) I’m going to take one last lick at this dead horse before we put it to bed…until the beginning of September that is, when we’re sure to dig it back up and beat it to death all over again.
For now, it’s time for Ravens fans to let go of the “woe is us” and realize that this couldn’t have worked out any better for the team.
In the Harbaugh era, and to some degree before it, there are two giant hammers that the Ravens have wielded consistently. The Ravens have been near impossible to beat at home, and are undefeated when they’ve had extra rest or opportunity to prepare for an opponent. There’s no need to swing both of those hammers at the same time, and all Schedule-Gate has done is prevented the Ravens from having to.
I get that fans want to celebrate the team’s Super Bowl win with the whole world watching; but what’s best for the team? It’s kind of laughable that those who consider themselves fans of the Ravens suddenly seem to be more interested in having center stage for themselves for one night in September, than they are in giving the Ravens their best opportunity at winning enough games to possibly make another Super Bowl run.
The Harbaugh era Ravens are 5-0 in opening games and 14-0 when having 10 or more days to prepare for an opponent (including openers). It’s probably also worth mentioning that 4 of those 5 opening game wins have been at home (so much for the “NFL is out to get us” angle). Now that it’s decided that the Ravens will open on the road, there are only 3 games that should be up for consideration for the NFL’s showcase. Not coincidentally, those games happen to be the Ravens 3 toughest looking road games as well (Pittsburgh, Cincinnati or Denver). Since there’s no avoiding having to play those games anyway, doing it in the first week of the season is ideal.
It’s better to get Peyton Manning and Wes Welker in the first game of the year, when they’re still trying to figure one another out, and probably more ideal to get in and out of Denver before the frost settles in. While it by no means insures the Ravens will win; it seems to give them their best chance to win. In fact, if we can get over our hurt feelings for long enough to think about the good of the team, ideally the Ravens would open in Denver, and then on the back of 10 days rest head to either Pittsburgh or Cincinnati, and then return to Baltimore for the home opener.
It’s also worth mentioning that opening on Thursday night has not always precluded teams from having to play another Thursday game in the same season. Given that the Ravens are defending Super Bowl champions, it would seem likely that they’ll get their maximum 5 prime time games, and that there’s a real possibility that they’ll have another Thursday game. Opening on Thursday, on the road would not only prevent the Ravens from having to be ready for Thursday night on 3 days rest, but would also virtually insure that if they did get a 2nd Thursday game it would be in Baltimore, with another (likely tough) opponent having to prepare and travel on short rest.
So if we’re keeping score at home, the NFL played the role of bully on behalf of NBC, and tried to impose themselves on the Orioles. The Orioles held their ground and as a result are stuck with a September 5th game that is sure to be a dog attendance-wise because it’s going up against the Ravens opener. The Ravens by opening on the road against a tough opponent will have a likely better chance to win a tough road game than they would otherwise, and may still get a Thursday home game with significant, inherent advantages built in. Someone remind me again why everyone is so mad at the Orioles over this. Oh yeah…it’s because we miss out on the chance to scream “look at us” to the football world while pounding our chests, right?
Sign me up, 10 times out of 10, for the schedule formula that gives the Ravens the best shot at being a playoff team, or a division winner, or a home playoff game host, or a bye week possessor. Frankly I’m shocked that Ravens fans are having such trouble grasping this one. I thought better of most of you.
Lastly, if the locker room somehow sees this as a slight, as fans clearly have, then it facilitates the mentality that has seemed to serve them so well lately. It’s Baltimore against the world as usual. If that works, so be it. But the Ravens are the winners in this mess; it’s just that some folks’ sensitivity won’t allow them to see it.
Posted on 27 December 2012 by jeffreygilley
The Ravens schedule in 2012 has been among the toughest. The Rams tied the Ravens with the fourth strongest schedule and the Browns, Broncos, and Giants were the only teams with stronger schedules.
The Bengals will line up against the Ravens with a lot to prove. They have vastly improved after a three and five start and the defense has led the charge.
The Ravens’ offensive line played very well last week against the Giants but the Bengals have pass rushing threats at the defensive tackle position where as the Giants do not. Therefore, look out for the matchup between Marshal Yanda and Atkins, it will be a great one to watch!
If the Ravens beat the Bengals, they would need help from the Dolphins who would have to beat the Patriots in Fox Borough for the Ravens to claim the third seed in the AFC. Unfortunately, this wont happen so the Ravens will most likely host Andrew Luck and Chick Pagano in the wild card round. Many are predicting a Ravens victory but the Colts are a very good team. The Ravens would have to lean on the run game seeing as the Colts rank 30th against the run.
If the Ravens beat the Colts and the Patriots beat the Bengals (which is likely), the Ravens would have to travel to Houston to play the Texans who have only beaten the Ravens once in their history which was earlier this season. The Ravens season might just end there and if they get past the Texans, the Ravens would host a rematch of the AFC Championship game from last season.
The Patriots and Texans are arguably the best two teams in the NFL. The Ravens would have to beat both of them to reach the Super Bowl. But with Ray Lewis coming back for the playoffs and the defense getting healthier, anything is possible.
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Posted on 25 December 2012 by Drew Forrester
The Ravens are heading to Cincinnati for a football game on Sunday.
And they’re going to try and win.
As they should.
There will be plenty of people this week who suggest that John Harbaugh should rest the bulk of his starting 22 for the upcoming season finale against the Bengals. Those folks will say “No way New England is losing to Miami” or “There’s no reason to risk a starter in a game that doesn’t matter” or “The number one goal is to be healthy for playoffs.”
Those are also the same folks who strolled into M&T Bank with a smirk on their face back on December 2 when Charlie Batch led the Steelers to town and said to anyone who would listen, “We’re not going to lose to Charlie Batch, obviously.”
Full disclosure: I was one of those people…but I didn’t have a smirk on my face as I walked into the stadium.
But I won’t be one of those goofs this week who recommends that the Ravens lay down in Cincinnati. John Harbaugh hasn’t had the greatest December of his coaching career, but he’s getting this one right. He must direct the Ravens to head to the Queen City fully intent on winning the game and, perhaps, securing the number three seed in the AFC.
To do anything else other than put your best AVAILABLE team on the field would make zero sense.
The word “available” above is in ALL CAPS for a reason. Harbaugh shouldn’t play anyone who wouldn’t normally play in the game. In other words, you simply put the 53 men out there who are healthy enough to play in an NFL game. If Anquan Boldin’s shoulder is sore and he can’t practice Thursday and Friday, you sit him out of the Cincy game. But if he practices and can play, he suits up and plays.
Saying “they should rest the guys who are banged up” is silly, because you’d be telling about 15 players not to play on Sunday. At this time of the season, nearly every starter or 35-snap a game back-up has an ailment that could use a couple of weeks of rest. But, as the saying goes, there’s no rest for the weary.
So, Harbaugh should treat this game just like he plans for an early October contest. The 53 players who can go, go.
Because as far as the Ravens go, the most important thing for them in the upcoming post-season can be summed up in two words. “Home Field”. I’ve paid attention to the Ravens this season and they’re nothing if not completely mysterious on the road. At home, they’re a threat to beat anyone. Away, they’re liable to stink it up worse than the Rolling Stones did at the 12/12/12 concert for Sandy relief.
They will either go into the post-season as the 3rd or 4th seed. That means the maximum amount of home games they can play in the playoffs would be two. They get a home game on either Jan. 5 or 6, then play on the road the following weekend if they win the opener in Baltimore. Somehow, if the wild card teams win their games (which, if you check over the last five years, happens enough to never say never), the Ravens could wind up hosting the AFC title game. Remember back in 2006 when the Colts beat the Ravens in Baltimore? Guess who hosted the AFC championship game the following week when New England – the four seed – eliminated San Diego? Right…the Colts. Guess who went to the Super Bowl and won a couple of weeks after that? Correct again, if you said “Colts”.
So — while the possibility still exists that your team could host the AFC title game, you go 100% in an effort to better your position on the chance you wind up getting the championship game in your building.
It’s that simple, really.
(Please see next page)
Posted on 11 September 2012 by Ryan Chell
As Glenn Clark said on “The Nasty Purple Post-Game Show” following the Ravens 44-13 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, John Harbaugh and the Ravens staffers should just tell their players that every week in the first week of the season.
It’s the second straight year that the Ravens laid a whooping to an AFC North foe in their Week 1 opener, as the Ravens slaughtered the Pittsburgh Steelers 35-7 in front of their home crowd in 2011.
The Ravens wasted no time showing off their no-huddle, “sugar” offense, as quarterback Joe Flacco quickly found WR Torrey Smith on the first play of the game for a 52-yard gain to grab an early 3-0 lead, and never looked back.
The Ravens out-gained the Bengals 430-322 in total yards, and forced three Cincinnati turnovers as the visitors fell behind 24-13 in the third quarter and were forced to play catch-up.
Which they never did.
That’s when the Ravens pounced on Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, as Ravens safety Ed Reed did what he does best against the Cincinnati-grabbing his tenth career interception against the visiting team and helped make a comeback all but inevitable.
The Ravens move into sole place in the AFC North with a 1-0 record and travel to Philadelphia next week to take on the Eagles.
But how did the Ravens do Monday night? I rate how they did against the Bengals…
Joe Flacco was without a doubt the player of the game for the Baltimore Ravens, as anointed by Glenn post-game on “The Nasty Purple Post Game Show”.
Flacco finished 21-of-29 for 299 yards and two touchdowns. He had perfect touch on his deep call, connecting on long throws to Smith and wide receiver Anquan Boldin for a 34-yard strike.
Often times, Bengals corners Leon Hall and Nate Clements-who have had success against Flacco in his young NFL career-had good coverage on the receiver, but the Ravens fifth-year QB couldn’t have put the ball in a better spot for his receiver to make the play, and not the DB.
He did have several passes that could have been intercepted by the Bengals, but they fell incomplete and were insignificant in the outcome of the game.
Also give credit to Flacco for trusting his offensive line, which included rookie OL Kelechi Osemele and Ramon Harewood making their first NFL starts, and tackle Michael Oher playing out of position, to keep him upright in the face of a sometimes threatening Bengals pass rush.
Running Back 5/5
A casual observer may look at Ravens RB Ray Rice’s yardage in the game and say, “The Bengals stopped Ray Rice.”
That was certainly not the case, as Rice finished with 68 yards rushing on just 10 carries.
Simply put-Joe Flacco and the Ravens receiving corps were the stars of the show.
The Ravens had the opportunity to showcase their no-huddle offense and its best, and continue to pass in it with success.
And if it ain’t broke…don’t fix it.
Rice had two touchdowns in short yardage near the goal line, and for a guy who has had those opportunities taken away from him over the last couple seasons, it’s good to see-as long as he has Vonta Leach in front of him.
Rice also added 25 yards through the air, including a big catch on a 4th-and-1 saving Joe Flacco from a drive-ending incompletion.
He capped that drive with his 30th overall touchdown, and Baltimore took a 10-0 lead with 6:08 left in the first and never looked back.
Hard to not give this unit a perfect score given what Joe Flacco did with the football.
But receiver Torrey Smith was almost a non-factor after his first quarter connection with the Ravens quarterback.
Tight end Ed Dickson was almost irrelevant in his first regular season action since spraining his shoulder in preseason, but had good coverage on him all game.
Anquan Boldin may have been the benefactor of a good call from the NFL’s replacement refs, as his 34-yard touchdown pass that put the Ravens up 17-3 with 12:34 remaining in the 2nd quarter appeared to have touched the ground.
But replays-which are shown to officials on all scoring plays now in 2012-showed no conclusive evidence to overturn the call, so the touchdown stood for the Ravens.
Dennis Pitta had a career-high 73 yards and a touchdown-in his first game since breaking his hand in training camp. Imagine what he can do with Flacco once that injury is completely behind him…
Offensive Line: 4/5
This unit played well considering three-fifths of the unit was playing out of position. Michael Oher, the team’s right tackle from last season, was forced to return to left tackle given the conditioning concerns of Bryant McKinnie moving forward.
Oher allowed the Ravens to keep up the pace with their no-huddle offense, and on several plays made blocks way down the field, including a 3rd quarter outside screen to Ray Rice.
Also for Oher, there were no outlying concerns about Oher with false starts, holding calls, or just struggling with his man.
The Ravens also had Ramon Harewood starting at left guard in his first ever NFL start-a position he had never played until this preseason, and rookie second-round pick Kelechi Osemele started at right tackle.
Geno Atkins recorded two sacks for the Bengals, while Thomas Howard had the Bengals other quarterback grab. Both came early on in the game, and for a unit trying to be cohesive with each other, the unit did its part protecting Flacco.
Defensive Line: 2.5/5
This unit didn’t show up until the game was far out of reach for the Bengals, and they knew they could rush Bengals QB Andy Dalton.
It wasn’t until then that they started to rattle Dalton and force him to make mistakes.
The Bengals were able to churn out three long scoring drives of 76, 75, and 79 yards.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis rushed for 91 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries.
Both nose tackles Ma’ake Kemoeatu and Terrence Cody were blown off the ball to make plays, but Haloti Ngata‘s four tackles, pass deflections and two sacks bailed this unit out.
Ray Lewis had 14 tackles Monday night.
Remember-he’s 37 years old. Maybe losing that weight and dropping to 235 pounds was a good idea for Lewis, who was able to keep up with the Bengals’ speedy receivers over the middle and was able to build up some speed to sack and force a fumble on Andy Dalton.
Linebacker Courtney Upshaw-in his regular season debut-shared a sack late in the game and also drew pressure on Dalton, forcing him to sail a ball high that safety Ed Reed came down with and returned for a touchdown that was the straw that broke the camel’s back for the Bengals.
Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe did not start, but saw more action against the Bengals receivers due to his speed. Jameel McClain was brought in on short yardage situations.
Not one of the Ravens defensive backs have to hang their head in shame after holding Dalton to 221 yards.
Lardarius Webb and Cary Williams didn’t allow WR A.J. Green to shift momentum back to the Bengals, and safety Bernard Pollard did an exceptional job patrolling the middle and containing TE Jermaine Gresham.
And Ed Reed continued to be himself against the Bengals, as he earned his seventh pick-six of his NFL career, and passed fellow Raven alum Rod Woodson for career interception return yardage.
Special Teams: 5/5
Rookie kicker Justin Tucker went 3-for-3 in his first taste of real NFL action. All you can ask for…
Sam Koch punted one of his two punts inside the 20 yard line.
Be sure to follow WNST on Twitter for your Ravens news! And give me a follow at @RyanChell87! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!
Posted on 10 September 2012 by Drew Forrester
Bengals coach Marvin Lewis strolled into his post-game media press conference at M&T Bank Stadium on Monday night and didn’t look all that concerned about the battering his defense took in a 44-13 drubbing at the hands of the Ravens.
I must have watched a different game than he did from the sidelines.
“We weren’t bothered by the (Ravens) no-huddle, we just didn’t make any plays,” he claimed.
I guess that’s one way of trying to justify a game with no turnovers created, which the Bengals defense didn’t do on Monday night.
From my vantage point, I saw a Bengals defense unprepared for the next play in front of them. Time and time again, the Bengals failed to put any pressure on Joe Flacco and the 5th year quarterback picked them apart with ease, going early and often to a host of pass catchers, including Jacoby Jones and Anquan Boldin, who caught a 2nd quarter TD pass.
It all started off magically for the Ravens. The season’s first offensive play for Baltimore was a 52-yard completion from Joe Flacco to Torrey Smith, a sign of things to come for the rest of the night. The victim was Leon Hall, who took his fair share of humiliation on Monday along with the rest of the Cincinnati secondary. Flacco looked polished, assertive and hungry, picking apart the Bengals with throws both across the middle and deep down the field. It was, Lewis hopes, perhaps a case of opening night nerves for the visitors, but the Ravens offense moved the ball at will throughout most of the evening.
Interestingly enough, the Cincy offense rattled off three consecutive long drives in the second and third quarters, going for 76, 79 and 81 yards en route to collecting their 13 points. It’s rare that a Ravens defense allows three drives of that nature, but Baltimore wasn’t exactly the ’85 Bears on Monday night, as they put little outside pressure on Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton and didn’t stop the run with the kind of regularity we might have expected.
(Please see next page)