It was nice to see that the Ravens didn’t play down to the level of competition for once. That fact was pointed out to me by two rabid Ravens fans (Mike Tarlton and Christos Koulatsos please take a bow). It’s only one game but it seems that in seasons past the Ravens rose up against formidable teams but didn’t do the same with the less imposing variety.
For all intents and purposes the game was over by the end of the first quarter. There was no coming back from the deep hole the Dolphins were in, and we’ll temper our enthusiasm a bit over the lopsided outcome as it was at the expense of what is one of – if not the – worst teams in the league.
All this means is that the Ravens will finish somewhere between 16 – 0 and 1 – 15 the rest of the way. That is the scale, and that is not to take anything away from their victory, as there was a lot to like.
I was beating the drums for Lamar Jackson the second the Ravens drafted him last year, and I will leave it right there. No sense to gloat about it, but I am glad that people are finally jumping on the band wagon. I will let the late arrivals and people in the back make all the noise now.
Jackson was spectacular, but the most impressing statistic was this – he had 6 yards on 3 carries. He relied on his arm, trusting it to deliver precise passes again and again. He displayed accuracy, touch, awareness – you name it, it was all there! My “running back” did one heck of a job impersonating an NFL quarterback.
The offensive line was stout, the receivers and tight ends got separation, the backs ran hard. Rookie wide receivers Hollywood Brown and Miles Boykin had outstanding debuts, particularly Brown. Head Coach John Harbaugh and newly minted offensive coordinator Greg Roman had to be pleased.
On the defensive side of the ball, you had to be impressed with the overall team speed. It was nice to see the defense swarming to the ball. I thought the d-line was particularly dominant. Matt Judon and Pernell McPhee laid the wood on Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Miami running backs.
Future Hall of Famer Earl Thomas had an interception. Get used to seeing that folks. He put QBs on notice that lazy, inaccurate passes will be picked off this year. There were some things the Ravens need to clean up on the back end, but obviously the Jimmy Smith injury was by far their biggest area of concern. Coach Harbaugh said that Smith is going to miss “multiple weeks” with a Grade 2 MCL sprain.
Fortunately the Ravens still have plenty of secondary depth, and it was tested by Fitzpatrick as he had no choice but to throw the ball downfield in an effort to bring the Dolphins back from a substantial deficit. On one of those throws, he made a poor decision to throw the ball into double coverage. DeVante Parker was covered by Marlon Humphrey and Anthony Averett. They were both in great position to intercept the ball, but they mistimed it and Parker was able to climb the ladder to get it.
It is noteworthy that Humphrey and Averett were the starting cornerbacks at Alabama, on Nick Saban’s 2016 National Championship Team. Humphrey is a budding superstar, while Averett was so good his junior year that teams stopped throwing in his direction. That caused his draft stock to drop, and the Ravens were the beneficiaries of it. I think Averett has the potential to be a starter, and hopefully Wink Martindale can use the Parker reception to coach him up as well as Humphrey.
The Ravens host Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals next week at M&T Bank Stadium. I hope Ravens Nation shows up and supports it’s team. It’s early, but it was good to see the other teams in the division all lose. Looking ahead at their matchups, the Bengals host the Niners, the Steelers host the Seahawks, and the Browns travel to the Meadowlands to play the Jets.
It is conceivable that at the conclusion of week 2, the Ravens could be 2-o while their divisional rivals could all be 0 – 2. Let’s go!!!