If you’re looking for some points-of-light besides the Ray Lewis story, I’ll go ahead and give you some. I’m sure everyone else in the media will handle the Ray-retirement angle, so I’ll look back at Sunday’s 24-9 whipping of Indianapolis and give you four different things on which to chew.
Not in any order of importance, mind you, but here’s what happened on Sunday.
The stage was too big for Luck
Sure, he threw for a handful more yards (six) than Joe Flacco. He also had thirty-one more attempts. Yes, you read that right. The kid had 288 yards on 54 attempts while his opponent in purple was an effective 12-for-23 for 282 yards. Luck’s QB rating was woeful (59.8) while Flacco’s was superb (125.6).
Simply put, Andrew Luck wasn’t very good on Sunday afternoon.
Now, let’s note right from the start that his offensive line was horrendous. And that’s being kind.
But the golden boy from Stanford – the likely Rookie of the Year in the NFL – was hardly a threat all afternoon, particularly in the first half when he looked completely rattled. His deep balls had too much air under them and his inability to sniff out pressure led to far too many scrambles and errant throws. Luck did settle down in the second half and was a tad better, but years from now he’ll look back on this performance and wince at how rookie-ish he looked for most of the day.
He’ll have plenty of big games in his career, but Sunday’s outing in Baltimore surely wasn’t one of them.
McKinnie steps in and steps up
With left guard Jah Reid out, John Harbaugh was forced to shuffle his offensive line on Sunday, and the emergency nod went to veteran Bryant McKinnie, who played left tackle in place of Michael Oher, who was switched to right tackle so that Kelechi Osemele could sub for Reid at right guard. Get it? McKinnie was the big benefactor of the Reid injury, and the Ravens prospered as well, as the big man put together a nice afternoon protecting Joe Flacco.
A week ago in Cincinnati, McKinnie saw extensive playing time in the final three quarters and to say he looked disinterested would be like saying Ray Lewis looked “sort of” fired up for Sunday’s home finale.
McKinnie has spent most of the 2012 season on the bench. He’s also spent most of the season out-of-shape, overweight and, when pressed into duty, he’s been largely ineffective, no pun intended.
But Harbaugh got him to break a sweat last week in practice when Reid wasn’t able to suit up and the 5th year coach rolled the dice that his veteran left tackle might actually try in the Colts game.
It was a gamble, of course, for Harbaugh saw just one week before in Cincinnati that McKinnie’s series-by-series effort was basically a coin flip.
But the decision worked out for the coach and the offense, as McKinnie stood up to Dwight Freeney for four quarters and kept Flacco upright virtually all day long.
(Please see next page)