Ravens musings and observations after loss to Raiders

October 03, 2016 | Dennis Koulatsos

Maybe it’s because I’ve gotten older, more “mature” if you will, but I just don’t take losses by the Ravens as hard as I used to.  Maybe it’s because of their success since they came to Baltimore in 1996.  Maybe it’s because of the 2 Super Bowls, the 6 playoff appearances in the past 8 years.  Maybe it’s because even after yesterday’s loss they’re still in pretty good shape at 3-1.  Maybe it’s because they showed up and still had a chance to win, even though they had a makeshift left side of the offensive line.

Not much to like after a loss, and yet there were some positives.  The defense played well overall, even after being handed poor field position twice.  First when the special teams allowed a huge punt return, and then the turnover when QB Joe Flacco was strip sacked.

The emergence of the running game behind guard Marshall Yanda and tackle Ricky Wagner. Terrance West ran north and south behind them and got stronger as the game went along. It was great to see an old school smash mouth running game return to Baltimore.  Now all the team needs is for center Jeremy Zuttah to step up, as well Alexis Lewis and Ronnie Stanley to recover from their injuries.

What I didn’t like was the 3 man rush on the Raiders’ last drive that gave QB Derek Carr ample time to find his receivers.  In sharp contrast on the Ravens’ last drive, the Raiders blitzed and got QB Flacco off of his spot.  I’ve been a Dean Pees supporter for many years now, but I think not going after Carr was a huge mistake.

The pass rush of the Ravens was almost non-existent.  I get that the Raiders have a very good offensive line, but the Ravens’ d-line gets paid to stop the run and put pressure on the QB.  With the exception of a couple of plays, the Ravens’ defense was stout against the run. But the Raiders were able to provide Carr with a relatively clean pocket, and did a great job of keeping Ravens’ defenders off of him.  Hopefully as Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil continue to recover from their surgical procedures, the pass rush will improve.

I also didn’t like the 100 plus yards in penalties against the Ravens.  Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells quipped a long time ago that any time you get over 100 yards in penalties, it’s like giving up 7 points. Having watched a ton of football, I think the coach was right.  If the Ravens are going to give themselves a chance to right the ship, they have to be more disciplined and clean up those penalties.

From center to left tackle the offensive line was a mess.  They were so porous that Flacco was on his bike for the majority of the game. This led to poor mechanics on his behalf, as he consistently threw off of his back foot.

The last thing I didn’t like was the presence of Raiders fans at M&T Bank Stadium. I don’t recall the last time I’ve seen as many of a visiting team’s fans as I did yesterday. There were way too many for my liking. I know that Raiders’ Nation travels well, but I was disappointed that many of our hometown fans sold their tickets. I’m by no means judging or criticizing our fan base, just expressing disappointment. I get that sometimes we can get more than face value for our tickets, and that everyone’s finances are different.  I get it.  I just hated to see and hear the Raiders fans all game long. I also hated the fact that they really had something to cheer about at the conclusion of the game.