Posted on 10 November 2009 by Chad Lamasa
Posted on 10 November 2009 by Glenn Clark
Here are Drew and Glenn’s top Ravens from this weekend’s loss to the Bengals.
7. Terrell Suggs
6. Dawan Landry
5. Dwan Edwards
4. Lardarius Webb
3. Ed Reed
2. Ray Lewis
1. Ray Rice
7. Le’Ron McClain
6. Ben Grubbs
5. Dwan Edwards
4. Dawan Landry
3. Ray Lewis
2. Ray Rice
1. Lardarius Webb
And here are both of the lists for each players total points.
Glenn’s season totals
22t-Steve Hauschka (1 point)
22t-Frank Walker (1 point)
22t-Kelly Gregg (1 point)
22t-Brendon Ayanbadejo (1 point)
22t-Sam Koch (1 point)
19t-Dwan Landry (2 points)
19t-Matt Birk (2 points)
19t-Kelley Washington (2 points)
17t-Dwan Edwards (3 points)
17t-Trevor Pryce (3 points)
15t-Chris Chester (4 points)
15t-Haloti Ngata (4 points)
14-Domonique Foxworth (5 points)
13-Mark Clayton (6 points)
12-Terrell Suggs (7 points)
10t-Todd Heap (9 points)
10t-Lardarius Webb (9 points)
9-Jared Gaither (11 points)
7t-Ed Reed (12 points)
7t-Willis McGahee (12 points)
6-Derrick Mason (14 points)
5-Ray Lewis (17 points)
3t-Jarret Johnson (19 points)
3t-Michael Oher (19 points)
2-Joe Flacco (28 points)
1-Ray Rice (35 points)
And Drew’s Season Totals
21t-Le’Ron McClain (1 point)
21t-Steve Hauschka (1 point)
21t-Marshal Yanda (1 point)
21t-Frank Walker (1 point)
21t-Sam Koch (1 point)
19t-Ben Grubbs (2 points)
19t-Matt Birk (2 points)
18-Dwan Edwards (3 points)
15t-Chris Chester (4 points)
15t-Todd Heap (4 points)
15t-Mark Clayton (4 points)
12t-Dawan Landry (6 points)
12t-Michael Oher (6 points)
12t-Terrell Suggs (6 points)
10t-Domonique Foxworth (7 points)
10t-Lardarius Webb (7 points)
9-Kelley Washington (8 points)
8-Jared Gaither (9 points)
6t-Willis McGahee (11 points)
6t-Jarret Johnson (11 points)
5-Ed Reed (13 points)
4-Derrick Mason (14 points)
3-Ray Lewis (25 points)
2-Ray Rice (37 points)
1-Joe Flacco (38 points)
Posted on 09 November 2009 by Derek Arnold
After a week in which they reassured us that the sky was, in fact, not falling, the Ravens pulled a complete 180 with their worst performance of the season in Cincinnati yesterday. It was the first of the Ravens’ 4 losses where they were absolutely, unquestionably, without a doubt, outplayed and outcoached for 60 minutes. The first of the four where you can’t look back, point to any one or two particular plays, and say, “yup, that was the one that lost it.” It was a flat-out, thorough butt-whipping at the hands of the “Don’t call us the Bungles.”
To any Ravens fan watching, flashbacks to Minnesota in Week 5 were unavoidable, as the purple team came out as flat as could possibly be, on both sides of the ball, en route to digging themselves a quick 14-0 hole. There would be no late-game near-miracle comeback at Paul Brown Stadium though, even if there would be an all too familiar Steve Hauschka “wide left,” thrown in as a little salt on the wound. Even though the defense did buckle down after the Bengals’ first two drives (both touchdowns), allowing just a field goal for the final 47:26, you still came away from this one feeling like it was a steamrolling.
Where to begin?
On offense, Bengals’ defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer now has Cam Cameron’s number in 2009 the way that Dick Lebeau of the Steelers did in 2008 (yet to be seen if it carries over to this year). In six games against the rest of the league this year, the Ravens offense is averaging 30.8 points and 399 yards off offense per game. In two contests against Cincy, those numbers drop to 10.5 and 236. Against the “not Bengals,” Joe Flacco has thrown 11 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, and compiled a passer rating of 100. But when the striped team lines up on the other side of the ball, his numbers have read a dismal 1 touchdown, 4 interceptions, and 59.2 rating.
That there are now not 1, but TWO teams in the division who seem to have figured out Cameron/Flacco is a bit unnerving.
As bad as Joe was yesterday, he got absolutely zero help from his offensive line, who need to take their share of the blame. The group that had played so solidly all season had their worst outing, as Flacco was under constant pressure and holding and false start flags were rampant. After allowing 12 sacks in 7 games, the Ravens gave up 4 to the Bengals, even without Antwan Odom. Three of these came on the final drive when they were able to tee off on Flacco, but the pressure was there all day. And, for his part, Joe needs to do a much better job of identifying his hot read and getting the ball out quickly when the blitz comes. Several times yesterday he had time to throw, but instead patted the ball and ended up on his butt.
Derrick Mason did absolutely nothing to back up his “nobody can cover me 1-on-1″ talk leading up to the game, as he caught just 3 of the 13 balls thrown to him, for a measly 31 yards. Mark Clayton and Kelley Washington had only 1 catch apiece, as the Ravens converted just ONE OF TEN 3rd down opportunities. A terrible effort by all.
All except Ray Rice of course, who was the only thing even resembling a weapon the Ravens had all day. He finished the day with 8 catches for 87 yards and 12 carries for 48 and the team’s only score.
On defense, all the problems that seemed to have been corrected against Denver came flooding back in force against the Bengals. The pressure that was there from the front seven against Kyle Orton was nowhere to be found when Carson Palmer dropped back. The gap integrity that held the Broncos’ ground game in check was instead replaced with more gaping holes for Cedric Benson, who racked up 117 yards. The sure tackling that negated Denver’s short passing attack regressed to the tune of more arm tackling FAILs and inability to wrap up the ballcarrier (with the pleasant exception of Lardarius Webb).
The few times Greg Mattison did dial up the blitz, it was largely ineffective. They forced some early, errant throws from Palmer in the 2nd half, but during the game’s decisive opening quarter, ginger boy had all day and then some. Cincy was a disgusting 5/5 on 3rd downs on their two touchdown drives, which included an 11-yard gain on 3rd-and-10 with the score 0-0, and an illegal contact call on Chris Carr that gave them another try despite an offensive holding flag being thrown on the play. Other critical mistakes on those two possessions included Fabian Washington dropping what should have been an easy interception on a deep pass and a pass interference flag on Dawan Landry negating a Ravens’ fumble recovery (because, despite interfering, Landry was STILL unable to keep Chad Ochocinco from making the catch…UN-AC-CEPT-AB-LE!)
Ed Reed’s strip of Ochocinco (for the 2nd straight game) could have made this one interesting, had he been able to take it to the house OR had the Ravens’ O been able to score a TD for the 2nd consecutive drive OR had Hauschka not CH-CH-CHOKED again, this time from only 38 yards and the middle of the field.
Of course, none of those things happened, but the Ravens really didn’t deserve this one anyway. Not in the least.
I’ll search in vain for a bright spot for this week’s “Play Like a Raven” feature, but it won’t be easy. This one was just bad all around.
Posted on 07 November 2009 by kevinpb
Ravens 30 – Broncos 7. This was the best game the Ravens have played all year. The Ravens offense again played well, but both the defense and special teams stepped up and played superlatively which led to a dominating performance against an overachieving Broncos team. Let’s be clear, this was a game that the Raven’s needed to win. This is not the type of Broncos team that we are use to here in Baltimore, they are much quicker and much more disciplined under Josh McDaniels, but the bottom line is that Kyle Orton is their quarterback and they are still not physical enough to deal with teams like the Ravens. Denver plays Pittsburgh next week, look for much the same outcome when they play the Steelers. I don’t believe for a minute that the Ravens were buying the BS being shoveled by their head coach that there is no “must wins”. The way they played belied that belief. Good win, good job all around, let’s see why they were so successful.
Offensively, the Ravens went back to the no huddle offense and used it about 75-80% of the game. It is not a coincidence that they seem to get their offense in gear when they go to this set. It was a smart move against the Broncos here, because a Mike Nolan defense is predicated on having the right personnel on the field in the right situation. Many times you saw the Broncos racing people onto the field to get in position before the Ravens could snap the ball. A lot of times the defense barely got set. How many times did they not get the right personnel on the field? It definitely took them out of their comfort zone. By the middle of the third quarter all this racing on the field and the sheer size and bulk of the Ravens offensive line had worn out the front seven of the Broncos. Jared Gaither made a world of difference solidifying the line. Michael Oher is a workmanlike grinder who is playing very well. Gaither is a special talent; as long as he stays motivated, his career will more closely resemble that of Jonathan Ogden, then that of Bennie Anderson. Between the two of them Elvis Dumervil is still looking for his first sack against the Ravens. Kelley Washington is really paying dividends as our 3rd receiver. Mark Clayton is having a very good year. Take away his drop in New England and he is really becoming a valuable target. More importantly every time I watch him I think I am watching a Derrick Mason clone; and that is a really good thing. Flacco is not afraid to go to him and he consistently makes plays after the catch.
Defensively the Ravens came to play. It was clear from the get go that there was an electricity in M&T Bank Stadium. Jarrett Johnson set the crowd at a frenzied level with his sack of Kyle Orton on the first play from scrimmage. Johnson does not get enough credit for the type of year he is having. He has 5 sacks, stuffs the run and has been very good against the past. He has been the best linebacker on the field for the Ravens this year, and that includes Ray Lewis. The Ravens sent more varied looks at the Broncos and at times had a free run at Kyle Orton. It is clear that they used the bye week to rethink their ability to pressure the quarterback, and it was evident that a return to what they do best put a spring in their step and a swagger back in their defense. In the defensive backfield they played a little more cover 2, but with constant pressure of Kyle Orton and his happy feet after getting his clock cleaned by Jarrett Johnson, covering the Broncos receivers was less taxing for our depleted secondary. It is simple really the less time the quarterback has to throw, the easier it is to cover. All that being said, the secondary played better and Dominique Foxworth was effective. Ed Reed was running around and hitting like he did prior to his neck injury.
The special teams had the best game I have seen in a long time from a Ravens special teams unit. As usual, Sam Koch was a stalwart kicking the ball. Steve Hauschka was perfect on field goals and extra points. He was also effective of kick offs. He regularly reached the goal line on kick offs and occasionally kicked the ball into the end zone. The true improvement was with the return and coverage teams. Denver has a dangerous return man in Eddie Royal and we never gave him a chance to get started. I think one time he got a kick return out to the 35. Also, he was never able to generate a head of steam on any punt returns. Lardarius Webb is a player. He catches the ball and gets up field fast. He hits the hole and doesn’t stop. There is no dancing in his game and this is important. When Webb got some regular playing time in the defensive backfield in the 4th quarter, he was flying around making plays and hitting people. This was good to see. I know the Ravens want to go slow with this young man, but he is quickly carving out a niche for himself on this team. Chris Carr fielded all the punts and got some positive yards on a couple. He also played better in the secondary. This is vital. Ed Reed also made his presence felt on special teams fielding a couple punts and almost blocking another punt. I may be reading something into his performance, but he was flying around the field on Sunday like he did 3 years ago. If Ed is healthy again, watch out NFL. The most important aspect of the special teams was that they did not shoot themselves in the foot with stupid penalties.
My only complaint is our desire to constantly collect bonehead penalties and our growing penchant for challenging the referees. That needs to be curtailed. Michael Oher has a costly roughing penalty(even that it was questionable) and Derrick Mason had no business chastising the referee even if it appeared that he was right. That is the game of football. Mark my words, if we don’t get this in check it will come back to bite us in the ass later in the year.
This was about as best as you could hope for coming out of the bye. The offense continues to evolve. The defense finally resembles what we are accustomed to around here and the special teams controlled the field position all day. It appears that confidence was gained in dismissing and undefeated yet, in my opinion, still overrated Broncos team. We need to go to Cincinnati and take care of business. Let’s return the AFC North back to what it is all about, Ravens v. Steelers for all the marbles. Now that is great football.
The New Yankees wer clearly the best baseball team this year. You have to congratulate them for winning their 27th world title. Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera have won their 5th title. For all the flack they get for buying pennants, this core have players has steered the Yankees to their 5th World Series title in 13 years. Pretty impressive feat! Two of the four are sure fire, 1st ballot Hall of Famers. The other 2 will merit consideration. Aside from the Pettitte daliance with steriods they have all done it the right way and have been consumate professionals for a long time. It is nice to see when perseverence and hard work pay off in the long run. One can only hope for such success for our Birds of Baltimore.
Hard not to second guess the Philadelphia Phillies and Charlie Manual though. I have no problem holding Cliff Lee back for the fifth game as long as you maintain the series lead, but once the Yankees came back and won games 2 and 3, and your are looking at facing Sabathia 2 more times, you have to then match up Lee against Sabathia at least for game 4. He gives you the best chance of beating C.C. and should have been on the mound in game 4 for the Phillies. Game 4 should have been played like it was game 7 for the Phillies, because if they lost it was all over but the shouting. I have to give some thought to a former college acquaintance of mine, Jamie Moyer. How bad do you think the Phillies brass would have liked to have a healthy Moyer to pitch one of those games. He would have given the Phillies a better chance to win Game 6 then Pedro Martinez in that position.
Hold on to your BCS crowns. This might be the year that topples the bowl championship series. This late in the season there are 7 undefeated teams in the country and the hottest team has 1 loss. It is not inconceivable that we could end up with at least 5 undefeated teams. Either Florida or Alabama will end up with a loss, but it is quite possbile that Cincinnati, Iowa, TCU, Texas and Boise State are going to end up undefeated. Texas will really have to stub it’s toe to lose a game even in the Big 12 championship game. It is possible Iowa will lose at Ohio State, but Cincinnati, Boise State and TCU all have a good shot to go undefeated. Which begs the question, if they have a bowl game between 2 of these 3 will anyone show up and will anyone watch? If form holds I am betting on a Florida-Texas showdown with the three non traditional powers undefeated on the outside looking in. Also, the hottest team in the country, Oregon will have to many tough games and to many hurdles to clear to ultimately make an impact on the title game. That is too bad, because they are certainly a fun team to watch. Last question, if there is a rematch between Oregon and Boise State in a BCS Bowl Game, does Oregon coach Chip Kelly have the stones to let LaGarrette Blount play in that game?
Bad boys, bad boys whatcha ya gonna do….In a master public relations move bad boy Brandon Spikes of the Florida Gators, who was caught gouging at a Georgia opponents eyes has turned his school mandated suspension of a half of a game into a full game. He decided himself that he will sit out the entire game to atone for his actions. What? Where did that come from? Talk about turning a villian into a martyr and improving his stock amongst his peers and in NFL circles. Brilliant move, to bad I find it hard to believe it was all devised by Mr. Spikes himself. What young kid would voluntarily give up any part of playing his sport if he did not have to. This reaks of Urban Meyer trying to turn a negative into a positive. It is a bold, inventive move to paint his player in an entirely different light. My only concern is all this would have shaken out the same way if Alabama was the opponent this week instead of Vanderbilt. Coach Meyer I think you have a future in politics.
Allen Iverson, just go away…Please! It took all of 3 games for Iverson’s trule colors to show. Signed in the off season by the Memphis Grizzlies, Iverson was happy to take the money and stated that he wanted to come in and do whatever to help the Memphis Grizzlies be a good basketball team. Three games in he is unhappy coming off the bench, and he is already making life a living hell for new coach Lionel Hollins. Hollins, who played for one of the most complete basketball teams ever, the 76 – 77 Portland Trailblazers, has to be questioning Iverson’s very existence on the roster. Allen Iverson claims he is not a bench player, and that he is not being selfish he is just being honest. Allen Iverson was a great player but he is not the elite player that he once was. His talent is no longer demands that he control the ball at every turn. His tantrum over playing time is only the latest selfish act in a career full of them. It is ashame, because there is a lot of young talent on the Grizzlies, Rudy Gay, Mike Conley, OJ Mayo and Hasheem Thabeet just to name a few, but it is also an impressionable group. Who will the group follow, Lionel Hollins or Allen Iverson?
Andre Agassi, I have got to party with you cowboy! What in God’s name would possess you to write a tell all book about your extravagant lifestyle that embarrasses you and your family? The drugs, the sex, the parties, the confrontations and the hair weave apparently all is on display in his new book. If you are now happily married with children what would possess you to put this all out there as public record for you to be scrutinized and criticized. Look we have all done things we are not proud of during our lifetime. I don’t know to many of us that would write a tell all book describing those faults in great detail. What was Jerry Springer all booked up?
Elizabeth Lambert, you are a dirty girl – Check out University of New Mexico soccer player, Elizabeth Lambert. In a recent game against Brigham Young Univ. she was shown punching opposing players in the back and in the face, hip checking players to the ground and yanking a girl to the ground by pulling her ponytail. Even though I am a proponent of women’s sports, I find this type of action a little disconcerting. Maybe Ms. Lambert should petition to join the Broad Street Bullies circa 1975 or better yet she would be perfectly suited for a heel role on WWE.
One non sports thought. Do yourself a favor and check out the FX channel show Sons of Anarchy. It is, hands down, the best show on television. It is always action packed, it is a great story and it is superbly acted. Who knew Peg Bundy was such a good actress. Katey Sagal is that actresses name and she is absolutely brilliant in this show. Check it out you will not be disappointed.
Posted on 03 November 2009 by Derek Arnold
From the game’s very first snap, you got the feeling that the Ravens were sick of it. Sick of letting near victories slip through their fingers in the final minutes of games. Sick of putting the game in the hands of the officials. Sick of hearing about how their defense had “gotten old” and was no longer a dominating unit. And just plain sick – of – losing.
And so it was, on that first snap, that Jarret Johnson came unblocked from Kyle Orton’s front side and blew him up with an 8-yard sack that was very reminiscent of Bart Scott-on-Baby Ben to Ravens fans. From that moment on, Orton NEVER looked comfortable in the game, and after a few more nasty hits on him by the rejuvenated B’More defense, he was pussy-footing in the pocket and you knew that this game was over, even if the scoreboard was yet to reflect the dominance the Ravens had brought to the table.
Double-J set the tone, but plenty of other Ravens’ defenders would soon get in on the act as well. Ed “Purple Blur” Reed was a man possessed, flying all over the field like the #20 of old, knocking Broncos’ helmets off, forcing fumbles, and nearly blocking punts. Kelly Gregg and Haloti Ngata were collapsing the pocket more effectively than they have all season. Terrell Suggs and Trevor Pryce were beating Denver’s tackles like rented mules. Rookie Dannell Ellerbe played well, and even the much maligned Chris Carr got on the stat sheet with a sack late in the game.
Speaking of Reed’s near-miss on the punt, though – we could watch every football game, on every level from Pop Warner to the NFL…and NEVER again see a punt go right through a players’ arms as Mitch Berger’s 2nd attempt did to Reed on Sunday. Add that to Jarret Johnson and Terrell Suggs BOTH dropping sure interceptions (and likely pick-6′s) and Ravens fans started to get a foreboding feeling that, despite the fire our club was playing with…it just was not meant to be our day. Add on the ridiculous non-call that led to Derrick Mason’s tantrum and subsequent 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, and the phantom pass interference on Dominique Foxworth (which the official 5 yards from the play did NOT see fit to penalize, yet somehow the gentleman trailing the play 30 or more yards away did, and IS ALLOWED TO – seriously, how is this possible?) and it seemed inevitable that the Ravens would again lose by the skin of their teeth to an undefeated team.
However, this was not to be a repeat of Minnesota. Rookie Lardarius Webb proved what we all suspected, that he SHOULD BE the kick returner for the Ravens, by breaking a 95-yard kickoff return touchdown on the first play of the second half, and in doing so turned the Ravens’ tenuous 6-0 lead into a much more poignant 13-0 version.
In the end, the good guys in purple would never trail, as all 3 phases of the game came to play for Baltimore, and a win in which the entire team played a part was the result.
Despite struggling early against the Broncos’ #1-scoring defense, the Ravens continued to stick to their game plan of short passes and runs to all parts of the field, and wore down Mike Nolan’s strong unit in the second half. This was a bit of a pleasant surprise, as the Broncos had dominated every second half they had been involved in through their first six contests.
Joe Flacco cares not for your prior successes. Flacco completed his final 14 passes, including each of the 10 he attempted in the final two quarters. The Ravens were 6/8 on 3rd downs in the second half, triple the amount of conversions Denver had allowed in the entire season to that point. Joe Cool finished a very cool 20/25 for 175 yards and one beautiful touchdown strike to Derrick Mason that sealed the game with 13 minutes to play. Flacco displayed his continually improving elusiveness and pocket presence, which was on full display as he dumped the ball off to Ray Rice for positive yardage even has he had All-World Safety Brian Dawkins hanging off of him like a Christmas ornament. His 80% completion percentage tied him with Elvis Grbac for best in a single game in Ravens history.
Ray Rice gained 84 yards on 23 carries, and Le’Ron “PAIN TRAIN” McClain got into the action in the 4th quarter, adding 3 carries for 31 yards, as the Ravens became the first team in 2009 to break the 100-yard barrier against the Rocky Mountain Horsies. Willis McGahee had 3 touches for 3 total yards, and at this point it just looks like Willis is in slow motion after watching Ray Rice for the past several weeks.
It wasn’t just the aforementioned Webb getting the job done on special teams. I’d be remiss if I didn’t give big props to Sam Koch, Steve Hauschka (3/3 FGs, several kickoffs in the end zone), Prescott Burgess (4 ST tackles), and the rest of the units that so impressively held Denver return man Eddie Royal in check. Royal, who scored TDs on both kickoff and punt returns a few weeks back against San Diego, had no room on either type of return Sunday, as the Broncos were consistently pinned inside their own 30 yard line.
And what of Mr. Brandon Marshall, who was supposedly going to give the Ravens’ secondary all sorts of fits, and have flashbacks of Sidney Rice and Vincent Jackson haunting the dreams of Ravens fans? B-Marsh had all of 4 catches for 24 yards, and short-armed several (T.O.-Style) once he realized the nature of the beast that he was on the field with. Also, as we alluded to here last week, Kyle Orton is NOT Brett Favre, Carson Palmer, or Philip Rivers. The Ravens put out the blueprint on how to beat Denver – unfortunately, their next opponent is the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Ravens must build off yesterday’s win, as they now face a Cincinnati Bengals team who is atop the AFC North standings, and who will be coming off the bye of their own. That Denver-Pit game will have much more significance to us here in Charm City if the Ravens can go into the Jungle and exact some revenge on Marvin Lewis & Co.
Posted on 03 November 2009 by Glenn Clark
Here Glenn and Drew’s lists for their top seven players from the Ravens 30-7 win over the Broncos.
7. Steve Hauschka
6. Domonique Foxworth
5. Jarret Johnson
4. Lardarius Webb
3. Jared Gaither
2. Ray Rice
1. Joe Flacco
7. Steve Hauschka
6. Derrick Mason
5. Domonique Foxworth
4. Ray Rice
3. Jared Gaither
2. Kelley Washington
1. Joe Flacco
And here are the lists of the totals.
Glenn’s season totals
20t-Steve Hauschka (1 point)
20t-Frank Walker (1 point)
20t-Kelly Gregg (1 point)
20t-Brendon Ayanbadejo (1 point)
20t-Sam Koch (1 point)
18t-Matt Birk (2 points)
18t-Kelley Washington (2 points)
17-Trevor Pryce (3 points)
15t-Chris Chester (4 points)
15t-Haloti Ngata (4 points)
13t-Lardarius Webb (5 points)
13t-Domonique Foxworth (5 points)
11t-Terrell Suggs (6 points)
11t-Mark Clayton (6 points)
10-Ed Reed (7 points)
9-Todd Heap (9 points)
7t-Jared Gaither (11 points)
7t-Ray Lewis (11 points)
6-Willis McGahee (12 points)
5-Derrick Mason (14 points)
3t-Jarret Johnson (19 points)
3t-Michael Oher (19 points)
1t-Joe Flacco (28 points)
1t-Ray Rice (28 points)
And Drew’s totals
18t-Steve Hauschka (1 point)
18t-Marshal Yanda (1 point)
18t-Frank Walker (1 point)
18t-Sam Koch (1 point)
16t-Dawan Landry (2 points)
16t-Matt Birk (2 points)
13t-Chris Chester (4 points)
13t-Todd Heap (4 points)
13t-Mark Clayton (4 points)
11t-Michael Oher (6 points)
11t-Terrell Suggs (6 points)
10-Domonique Foxworth (7 points)
9-Kelley Washington (8 points)
8-Jared Gaither (9 points)
6t-Willis McGahee (11 points)
6t-Jarret Johnson (11 points)
5-Ed Reed (13 points)
4-Derrick Mason (14 points)
3-Ray Lewis (20 points)
2-Ray Rice (31 points)
1-Joe Flacco (38 points)
Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…
Posted on 28 October 2009 by kevinpb
Ravens, Rants and Rankings – week 6
Vikings 33 – Ravens 31. I started writing this blog 4 different times, and had to check myself. Where to start? The Ravens went into a hostile environment got down early and fought for 60 minutes. That is the good news. They went ahead late, had a last second chance to win and didn’t get the job done.
The offense is still a work in progress, but with every snap it is becoming clear that the Baltimore Ravens have gone from a defensive stalwart to a burgeoning offensive team. Joe Flacco and Ray Rice are stars in the making. The offense can still use a big play receiver but our receiving corps is better with Flacco throwing them the ball. Ray Rice runs hard and catches the ball well out of the backfield. He is a threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball. The offensive line again playing without Jared Gaither held up fairly well and got better as the game went on. There were a couple false starts and Flacco was under pressure, but still was kept upright enough to make enough plays to win the game. Derrick Mason caught 12 balls, Heap was terrific across the middle an Ray Rice was phenomenal on check downs and swing passes. Kelley Washington caught a couple of big passes late and there was even a Demetrius Williams sighting. Demetrius made a tough catch that extended a drive late. He also made an excellent block on Derrick Mason’s touchdown catch. Joe Flacco was terrific. He did everything he needed to for the Ravens to win the game. There should be no doubt who will lead this team for the next 10 -15 years. Our offense is certainly not a finished product but guess what folks, the offense is not our problem.
For 12 years we have been spoiled in Baltimore. Our defense was the backbone of the Baltimore Raven tradition. Not only did they stop most opposing offenses cold, they also picked the most opportune time to turn opposing teams mistakes into points. For years they carried a pathetic offense on their broad shoulders. The Baltimore Ravens circa 2009 are in real trouble on the defensive side of the ball. The defensive line is still a capable bunch, but for a couple of years they have not produced a lot of pressure on the quarterback. Now it is clear that they are becoming pedestrian against the run. I, for one, am glad to see the most meaningless record in sports finally be a thing of the past. The fact that the Ravens had not allowed a 100 yard rusher in 39 games is finally a thing of the past. Don’t get me wrong, playing strong against the run has been a staple of this defense for a long time, but this has been a meaningless record. There have been a few teams over the course of this record that have run the ball successfully on this team and when that happens the Ravens lose. Case in point, last year against the Giants, when all three of their backs ran rough shod over the Ravens.
Currently the Ravens problems are traced to their defense. The Ravens defense has always played with such aggression that they teetered on the edge. For the most part that has made this team an upper echelon team in the NFL for the last 10 years; but when the opponent can deal with that aggression and execute their offense ( like Indianapolis or New England) or when the other team matches our aggression (like Pittsburgh and Tennessee) our chances of success decreases. When the team has not been successful things can go south fast for this team. Players start taking chances and gambling to make plays, or players become unhinged and meltdown ( like in Detroit a few years back or the Monday night game against New England a couple of years ago).
There has been a very decided change in the Ravens philosophy this year. The players won’t admit it and the coaching staff won’t admit to it, but there is less risk taking. The defensive philosphy appears to be more cerebral as opposed to being more brutal. The defense is in transition with regards to this philosophy. The secondary has no big hitters to rattle receivers coming across the middle or to stick a running back when coming up to support against the run. In fact, our cornerbacks might be the worst set of form tacklers I have ever seen on a football field. They are not physical at all. They would prefer to run and cover rather then hit somebody. The problem is that when the ball is thrown down the field on them, while they may be in position to make a play they do not possess the phyical nature to make a play on the ball. This has proved to be true on numerous occasions this year. See any number of plays in the San Diego game. See the long ball caught by Chris Henry of the Bengals down the Ravens sideline after we had just scored. See the long balls caught by Sidney Rice of the Vikings. The Ravens cornerback was there but none of them had the ability to make the physical play. Dawan Landry has been a major disappointment at strong safety. He is not making plays at the line of scrimmage and he has been abused down the seams by tight ends for each team we have played.
In an effort to stem the tide of the big plays against his defense, Ed Reed has started to gamble more frequently. He was successful in guessing against Carson Palmer and took an interception in for a touchdown. Against the Vikings, in much the same set that he was successful the week earlier against the Bengals, he was late and picked off Fabian Washington on a quick slant that Sidney Rice caught and raced 65 yards with after the catch.
Additionally, the front seven which over the years has been as consistently vigilant in maintaining defensive assignments and gap integrity as it has been in being brutal and punishing, is pushing and taking chances looking for the big play. Several times in the last 2 games these gambles have led to giving lanes to the running backs and has led to big plays in the running game. That is something we certainly aren’t use to around here.
The pass rush has been in decline for the last couple of years. The fact that our defensive backfield is pourous is exaspirated by the fact that we can’t get to the quarterback without blitzing. This is not a recipe for success. Suggs and Pryce have not had success this year getting to the quarterback and of our defensive tackle rotation, none of them have a resume that indicates they are a premier pass rusher. The change in coordinator and philosophy has curtailed the amount of blitzes used in the course of the game, and the pressure we have created has suffered as well. When we do blitz and the offense hits the hot read or checks down to a back, all of the sudden we have a gifted playmaker with the ball against the worst tackling defensive backfield in the NFL.
The speical teams have been awful for the last several years, Sam Koch not withstanding.
We do not cover kicks and punts well, and we cannot get off the field without committing stupid penalties when returning the ball. Ladarius Webb is an upgrade returning kicks, he runs hard and hits the holes fast, but we constantly shoot ourselves in the foot. Early in the 2nd half of the Minnesota game, we had a great return on the kick off by Webb out past the 40 yard line nulified by a stupid penalty which backed us inside the 15. No one can forget the bonehead penalty in the AFC championship game last year. Instead of playing aggressively, we had to protect the football, ran it three times and punted. It boggles my mind that we supposedly have a great special teams coach and our head coach made his bones as a special teams coordinator and we are this awful. With regards to the missed game winning field goal, I will not beat up the kid. Everybody misses field goals. My feelings on the subject are best summed up this way. I can live with Matt Stover missing that field goal, I can’t live with Steve Hauschka missing that field goal. Steve Hauschka should never had been on the field in that situation, but hey what do I know.
My biggest concern is that the coaching staff is putting so much importance in the ability to play special teams that we are not putting our best 45 players on the field each and every Sunday. I do not think special teams is all that special, give me a reliable kicker and punter, be able to make strong tackles on coverage teams and give me a return guy who secures the ball and is smart on returns and I am happy. It is not that hard. The big question with regards to special teams is simple. If we have all this special teams knowledge, and we have placed an emphasis on everyone playing special teams, then why are we so bad in this aspect of the game? More importantly, if the 45 man game day roster is being decided by those players who are willing and talented in the special teams aspect of the game, then why are we so bad? Both Paul Kruger and Demetrius Williams have been criticized for not being able, or more importantly, not wanting to play special teams, and both have been relegated to the bench and even the inactive game day list. I think it is time to find out if these guys can contribute on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. I am not saying they are the answer but we at least need to find out if they can help this team. You can’t tell me it is more important for Matt Lawrence to be on the game day roster then for Paul Kruger. Kruger was drafted to rush the passer, let’s see what he can do.
For years we won football games by dominating with defense and special teams. Now both these aspects of our game are deficient and subpar. How hard is it to get your head around the fact that a Ravens team needs to outscore it’s opponent to win? Yes, play like a Raven certainly has a new meaning.
With all that being said the season can still be salvaged. We need to play more cover two in the back field, so that our corners do not get isolated one on one. Keep everything in front of us and make teams work the ball down the field. Stop giving up the big plays that have killed us. We need to find a pass rush, whether it be by switching personnel or by blitzing more. We need to make the opposing quarterback more uncomfortable, because with the upcoming schedule, if we let Palmer, Manning and Roethlisberger stand back there all day we are dead meat. With our burgeoning offense, we don’t need to be dominant on defense any longer, just competent. The Ravens have dug themselves a hole and with both Pittsburgh and Cinncinati playing well we will have to go 8-2 in the last 10 games to secure a playoff birth. The season starts Sunday against the Denver Broncos. I am sorry, I refuse to believe they are an undefeated team. The Ravens will show up on Sunday, I am confident about that. Let’s get loud out there and bring home a win.
I will get back to the rankings next week after the Ravens beat the Broncos.
Posted on 20 October 2009 by Chad Lamasa
Posted on 20 October 2009 by Rex Snider
Stover Would’ve Made It …..
Damn, it felt good to say it. And, as preposterous and pig-headed as it sounds, you know the prospect of Matt Stover, lined up for a 44 yarder, crossed your mind. You envisioned it – DON’T LIE TO ME …..
I’m not sitting here saying “WHAT IF ….”
It’s impractical. But, more than a few Baltimore football loyalists have been wondering how Steve Hauschka would fare when finally fronted with a crucial game-deciding field goal attempt.
You’ve been to Training Camp – it’s easy to put the ball between the uprights on a steamy summer morning, in Westminster.
You’ve also been to the pre-game festivities, at M&T Bank Stadium, when kickers display their version of batting practice homeruns, with 60 yard field goals.
You’ve watched Steve Hauschka convert extra points and “low-pressure” field goals without much regard for his game breaking ability.
You waited for Sunday’s game to get here. It’s HERE. And, now, the Ravens have another thing to worry about, because everybody has this uneasy feeling in their stomach. One thing will cure it – getting another chance and making it.
Until that time arrives, we’re gonna allow lots of crazy things to cross our minds.
Steve Bisciotti- Wasting Money ??? Say It Isn’t So …..
For years, we’ve been told the Ravens owner is a guy who’s made his money the old fashioned way – he’s earned it. We know the real-life accounts …..
A modest childhood, in Anne Arundel County …..
Working his way through school, including Salisbury State University …..
Starting his own business, with little more than an insatiable desire to succeed …..
Steve Bisciotti isn’t living the American Dream. HE IS THE AMERICAN DREAM.
Every person living within the borders of this great country knows the economy has truly struggled over the past couple years. Times are tough – and we’re subsidizing some companies, while bailing-out others.
Whenever I see a corporation that has landed in the lap of dysfunction and desperation, I’ve wondered “Hmmm …. How would Steve Bisciotti feel about this?” Does he support the free rides given to GM, Chrysler and AIG?
I’ve never observed Steve Bisciotti as a guy who wastes money. By all accounts, he appears to be a MONEY MAKING MACHINE – and correct in virtually every business decision.
But, now, I’m not so sure. In fact, I’m wondering if Maryland’s Most Notable Gazillionaire is feeling duped by his staff’s decision to give Domonique Foxworth enough money to buy 540 brand spanking new Corvettes?
Yes, that would be Domonique “The 27 Million Dollar Man” Foxworth …..
The return on investment? Well, he really looks good while chasing guys – who have a football in their hands, huh? Actually, Foxworth wasn’t the most pedestrian member of the Defensive Secondary, on Sunday, but he’s still done very little to earn that new contract.
In all fairness, the Ravens owner and his staff have made good signings, as well …..
But, I do wonder what “Bank Bags” Bisciotti is thinking these days …..
The Return of “Little Bill” on Nickelodeon
If you’re a parent of a son or daughter under 25 years old, you certainly remember the hit Nickelodeon cartoon, “Little Bill.” It featured storylines from a book series, by Bill Cosby.
Well, I’m happy to report I’ve started writing the screenplay for “Little Bill – 2,” which I will be submitting for Mr. Cosby’s review. I plan on keeping it elementary and consistent with the preceding version.
In “Little Bill – 2,” our main character, Little Bill, played by John Harbaugh, imitates his hero, Big Bill, played by Bill Belichick. And, with normal human instinct, Little Bill repeats his role model’s moves, mannerisms and quotes.
Look for Harbs, as he continues coining his trademark Belichick bytes …..
“They scored more points ….”
“We need to do a better job ….”
“We will work hard ….”
Thanks, coach. Can we quote you on that? By the way, it seems more credible for coaches with fists full of Super Bowl rings to do things as they please. Whereas, the coaches who are still learning the job and the town, itself, might want to be a little more endearing and cooperative.
When the Patriots lose a couple games (which hardly happens), the fans can rely on the team’s record of FOUR SUPER BOWL appearances, in eight seasons, as evidence that things will be okay. Bill Belichick has the “cred” to bluntly suggest “don’t worry about it” in very few words.
Where did John Harbaugh develop such a resume’ ???
He hasn’t …..
Thus, when reporters and fans ask for some reassurance or hopeful outlook, would it be too hard a task to elaborate a little bit? In fairness to Coach Harbaugh, I’m not referring to the post-game pressers, when emotions still run high.
But, the dramatic three word clichés, as a formidable response to a plausible question, a day later, are not acceptable. Oh, they might be allowed, per policy. But, it’s as unacceptable as the efforts of some players.
So, repeat after me ……
See the difference ???
Well, well, well …..
In fairness to Ravens Head Coach, John Harbaugh, his former D-Coordinator – turned Head Coach of the New York Jets, hasn’t been spewing his very quotable and borderline pompous remarks lately …..
I guess that’s what a ‘lil bit of losing can do for you, huh?
Damn, it was getting to the point where I was starting to avoid another guy named “Rex.”
What’s Sexy-Rexy gonna do if his team keeps doing stupid things, or if young Mark San-CHISE keeps throwing strikes to players in the wrong colored jerseys?
If things don’t work in the Big Apple, I would think Mr. Bisciotti would borrow some money from Domonique Foxworth, and lure his former D-Coordinator back to Bawlmer, for a promotion to D-Coordinator/Assistant Head Coach/Official Team Spokesman …..
Seriously, can you imagine this exchange …..
Reporter – “Coach, what happened out there today ???”
Rex Ryan – “They scored more points.” “We will circle the wagons.” “We are men.” “By the way, that’s a good question.” “Our players are tough.” “Play Like A Raven.” “Thanks for the good question.”
Nah – NOT A CHANCE !!!!
The Trade Deadline Arrives …..
We will finish this off in the spirit of all good Orioles fans …..
To recognize the looming NFL’s trade deadline, I’d like to propose the following possible deals …..
Baltimore Ravens TRADE Frank Walker, Prescott Burgess, the rights to former Raven Dan Cody, a Michael Phelps’ autographed bong and a handpainted portrait of Al Davis on the underbelly of a blue crab ….. to the Oakland Raiders for Nnamdi Asomugha
Baltimore Ravens TRADE Justin Harper, Jason Phillips, Samari Rolle, the rights to former Raven Leon Searcy, an autographed copy of his new novel “Burning Down The House” by Peter Angelos and an unopened suitcase found floating in the inner harbor ….. to the Cincinnati Bengals for Rey Maualuga
Baltimore Ravens TRADE Willis McGahee, the rights to former Raven Chris McAlister, any future rights to Brandon Marshall and Anquan Boldin, an authentic Anita Marks-Miami Fury jersey and a pair of New York Yankees panties ….. to the New England Patriots for Randy Moss and Steven Gostkowski.
Let The Countdown Begin …..
Without providing any free advertising to other Baltimore radio stations, we have just 19 days until the start of 24/7 Christmas music on one particular affiliate …..
Merry Christmas & Happy Halloween !!!!
Posted on 19 October 2009 by Derek Arnold
Go HERE for the full effect of this post.
Fairly or not, when Ravens fans look back on yesterday’s game (and it will be one that we will remember for a LONG time), it will be Steve Hauschka who many remember as the goat.
Not the vaunted Ravens defense, who, suddenly awful, gave up 426 yards, 167 of those on the ground, and over 20 points AGAIN. The defense is giving up a woeful 21.7 points per game, and if you take out the Week 3 game against Cleveland High School, that number shoots to 25.4 ppg against “real” NFL teams. This is a full 10 POINT PER GAME increase over what 2008′s defense managed, with very similar personnel.
I’m not going to sit here and burn the 2nd-year kicker in effigy. Yes, it was a very make-able kick – 44 yards in perfect (indoor) conditions. Yes, had he made it, all the negatives that we saw from our purple and black during the previous 59 minutes and 58 seconds would have been seemingly washed away. And yes, going into the bye week at 4-2, in a virtual tie for the division lead, would be much more desirable than where we currently sit, riding a 3 game losing streak and a full game plus behind Cincinnati and Pittsburgh in the AFC North.
But it was a game in which the Ravens’ defensive deficiencies, both on the ground and in the air, were on full display for the entire NFL to see, and any team that is worth their salt will be able to exploit this Ravens defense as it is currently constructed. Adrian Peterson started things off ominously, gaining 26 yards on his first touch. For the day he managed 143 yards on 22 carries, a video-game like average of 6.5 yards per rush, and the Ravens were unable to pry the ball from his hands even once, despite his well-documented fumbling issues.
And even when AD sputtered (basically throughout the 2nd and 3rd quarters), Old Man Brett (Favre) was able to torch the Ravens in the passing game. Favre was 21/29 for 278 yards and 3 touchdowns, his favorite target being Sidney Rice, who pulled in 6 for 176. When the Ravens were able to pressure Favre, he was rendered ineffective; however, those instances were far too few and far between to make much of a difference. Greg Mattison’s vanilla 4-3 defensive schemes are simply not getting the job done with the personnel he has at his disposal. Let’s hope he fully realizes and accepts that fact, and adjusts accordingly over the next 12 days.
The book on beating the Ravens has become painfully obvious for all to see. At this point, teams are likely to be calling the likes of Clarence Moore to sign for one game when they see B’More on their schedules. I kid, but barely – the aforementioned Rice stands 6’4″, and was yet another example of the intricate offensive scheming it takes to beat the Ravens: “send your tallest receiver deep.”
Yesterday, it was Frank Walker who was picked on during Minnesota’s final drive. However, Walker was only in the game because Fabian Washington had already been benched for his terrible play against Minnesota receivers up to that point. A huge disappointment, considering Fabe had started to step it up a bit since being named our “did not play like a Raven” in Week 2 against San Diego. On the other side, Dominique Foxworth had a slightly better game. His open field tackle of FB Naufahu Tahi stands out, but he whiffed on at least one other. And who’s to say that his “decent” game was nothing more than a function of Washington’s ineptitude?
The safeties were no better. Dawan Landry seems but a shell of the player he was prior to his spinal cord concussion last season. On Favre’s second touchdown pass to TE Visanthe Shiancoe, Landry looked like the most confused person in the building, as he stood with his back to the line of scrimmage watching Shiancoe run his route uncovered. And, on the decisive 58-yard pass to Rice that set the Vikings up for the go-ahead FG late in the game, there was no safety to be seen. John Harbaugh said after the game that there was “supposed” to be help for Walker over the top, but “the safety” bit on an underneath route. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here assuming “the safety” wears #20. Skirting our responsibilities to freelance again, Ed? How many times does that have to bite you in the rear this season for you to realize that maybe, just maybe, you should stay in position?
Perhaps the most infuriating part of the defensive “effort” was that it managed to overshadow a Ravens offense that nearly pulled off an extremely improbable comeback. Despite scoring only 10 points over the game’s first 52 minutes, Joe Flacco had himself in prime position to out-comeback Favre the comeback king, leading the Ravens to 21 points in the game’s final 8 minutes. Those three touchdowns came on consecutive drives of 7, 3, and 1 plays, and the final (kick missing) drive was a beautiful 9 play succession that covered 41 yards and bled all but two seconds off the clock to set up what (would’ve, could’ve, should’ve) been the game winner.
Flacco finished the day with a career-high 385 yards and 2 touchdowns, with no turnovers. It was a good enough effort from Joe Cool to win. His defense just let him down, time and time again.
Of course, he had help. Ray Rice was absolutely outstanding in the loss, and is quickly becoming an NFL star. He led the Ravens in rushing (10-77-2) and receiving (10-117-0). His 33-yard scamper with 3:44 to go gave the Ravens their first and only lead of the game. If I had one criticism of Rice for the game, it would be that he did not do all he humanly could to get the ball to the middle of the field on his final carry, which COULD have helped Hauschka a bit.
Even though it’s never a good sign when a RB leads your team in receiving, the Ravens’ wideouts were far from invisible. Both Mark Clayton and Derrick Mason caught touchdowns, Todd Heap and Kelley Washington each had 3 receptions, and there was even a Demetrius Williams sighting, who caught his first pass of 2009 for 17 yards and a critical 3rd down conversion early in the comeback.
Sure, we had hoped to see Cam Cameron’s offense get back to the things they did last year, running the ball and controlling the clock, but an early 14-point deficit combined with terrible field position due to special teams ineptitude conspired to work against that plan of attack. Cameron looked like he had every intention of establishing the run, but in the end was forced to air it out to try to overcome the Vikes’ big lead.
The optimist will look at the Ravens’ last 3 games, each decided in the waning seconds, and say that they are, realistically, 3 plays from being 6-0. However, the harsh reality is this: over those 3 games, not once did the Ravens manage to put together 60 solid minutes of football on both sides of the ball, and THAT is the reason that those games came down to the wire like they did.
The Ravens, both coaches and players, need to do some soul searching during this much-needed bye week, and find those 60 minutes of football. If they do, then the playoffs are still very much within grasp, with games remaining against Pittsburgh (2), Cincy, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Oakland, and Denver in the AFC, along with winnable inter-conference matches with Detroit, Chicago, and Green Bay. But if they can’t, for instance, figure out a way to mask the gaping holes in the secondary, then a once promising season may be on its way down the proverbial toilet.