Tag Archives: Baltimore Ravens

NFL Week 1 Observations. The Better Late Than Never Edition.

Overreactions.

That basic sums up week 1 in the NFL. The teams that lost Sunday looked inept and hope, to quote the great Jim Mora “that they can even win a game.” The teams that won meanwhile, are on top of their divisions and are very much going to win the Super Bowl. That’s how it feels anyway. That’s because with just 16 games in a season and a media that has 24 hours to fill, hyperbole is necessity. The media needs it like Miley Cyrus and attention, and boy does she need attention. But I digress.

Peyton Manning? I Heard He’s Really Good.

It appears that you heard correctly bold subtitle thing. It also appears as though you haven’t been living under a rock. Last Thursday, in the season opener that featured Manning’s Broncos and the defending champion Ravens, Peyton Manning gave a master class in quarterbacking. He got out to a bit of a shaky start and then proceeded to toss an NFL record 7 touchdown passes, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since Joe Kapp with the Vikings back in 1969. The last time someone did without throwing an interception, like Manning did that night, was Y.A. Tittle in 1962. I think the interesting thing here is that Manning appeared to know this off the top of his head. That’s some real student of the game stuff right there.

Also The Ravens Are Full Of Holes, And It Shows.

The defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens start the season on the ropes. I promise you, this is not an overreaction. Joe Flacco seemed to have chemistry with exactly none of his receivers, except maybe Dallas Clark but his hands appeared to be made of bricks, and Joe never found his rhythm. Jacoby Jones who is not only an important part of the offense but special teams as well, was taken out by one of his own players in what can only be described as sheer ineptitude. Jacoby sprained his knee and will be out 2-3 weeks. Baltimore could really use Anquan Boldin at receiver right now but, unfortunately he’s too busy being awesome in San Francisco. Where the Ravens traded him for reasons no one can begin to fathom. Add to that a nonsensical limit to Ray Rice’s touches (adequately screwing over my fantasy team) and I’ll be the first person to tell you I haven’t the foggiest idea what the Ravens are doing.

The defense has holes. They’ve got more holes than swiss cheese, a sieve and Miley Cyrus’s personality put together (zing!). They don’t look bad so much as they looked lost and inept. They made a star out of Julius Thomas who no one had ever heard of, even I presume, Julius Thomas. The NBC analysts Chris Collinsworth and Al Michaels were at a  loss with anything to actually say about the guy, except that he played basketball. Which, to be fair, is more than any of us knew. Especially the Raven’s defense.

The Bills, Cardinals And Raiders Will Be Better Than Everyone Thought.

Everyone believed that the Patriots beat the Bills simply by arriving in Buffalo. Instead Tom Brady & co. won but with way more effort than anyone imagined. It was a nail biter that ended with Tom Brady driving his team down the field to set up the go ahead field goal. But the Bills gave their fans something to be optimistic about this decade. Rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel looked sharp throwing for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns. Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller both looked shifty and hard to hit, both of them using their combined 30 carries to pick up 108 yards.

The Cardinals look like a for real NFL offense for the first time in years. Literally years. Larry Fitzgerald proves that he can be a dynamic player if there is a halfway competent quarterback passing him the ball. Enter Carson Palmer, our friendly neighborhood halfway decent quarterback. He looked impressive throwing for 327 yards and 2 touchdowns, hitting 8 different receivers along the way. Rashard Mendenhall added a bit of a running game and all of a sudden the Cardinals look like they can give any team in the league a run for their money.

Terrelle Pryor a.k.a. Al Davis’ last draft pick proved that the old man could still smell talent. Pryor had a decent outing Sunday. He threw a couple of interceptions but, he passed for 217 yards and a touchdown. Pryor made plays with his feet, specifically he made 112 yards worth of plays with his feet. He kept the Raiders offense on track and gave them a chance to win late. Unfortunately, Andrew Luck is Captain Clutch and stole a victory late for the Colts. Apparently Pryor cried after the game, but honestly, he’s got nothing to cry about he gave the Raiders a chance to win. The Raiders. I would’ve have been shocked if they won more than two games this season. Now, I’d be shocked if they didn’t.

The Philadelphia Eagles Look Fast On Field, Chip Kelly Says They’re “Too Slow.”

The Philadelphia Eagles are going to break a lot of records this season, and they’re all going to be for the most plays run. Under rookie head coach Chip Kelly, the Eagles have adopted a frantic playing style. The Washington Redskins thought they were prepared for this. The were in fact, not prepared for this. Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett (the poor guy) was studying college film in an attempt to prepare for Kelly’s blazing offensive production. It seemed for naught. The Redskins hung in there early but once the Eagles got in the end zone, it seemed like they couldn’t stop scoring. Lesean McCoy and Michael Vick worked together like partners in crime. Two really fast partners in crime, shredding the Redskins tired defense for 24 first half points, while running 53 plays (which is a disturbingly high number of plays). After the game Chip Kelly said to NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala with a straight face, “I felt like it was slow, to be honest with you.”

Michael Vick said he felt like he played an entire half of football in one quarter. That’s because you did Mike. That’s because you did.

RG3 Looked Like A Rust Bucket For Most Of The Game.

To say Robert Griffin III looked rusty, would be the understatement of the century. He looked like the tin man, if the tin man decided to take frequent baths in the ocean. Griffin was the definition of rust for three quarters of this game. His actions appeared stiff and unsure. His timing with his receivers was off. Passes hilariously overthrown and comically under thrown. He looked like a shell of himself. The only thing about this game that gave Skins any hope for this season was the fourth quarter. Robert was able to find a rhythm and when he did find it, the Eagles seemed unable to stop him. So that’s good.

Packers Try To Stop Kaepernick From Rushing, Ironically Get Picked Apart In The Air.

Well, it’s not like the Packers didn’t succeed in a manner of speaking. Colin Kaepernick only rushed for 22 yards. Unfortunately for the Pack, their defense failed in every other sense of the word. The 49ers quarterback took whatever yardage he wanted from the Packers defense, which turned out to be 412 yards and 3 touchdowns. Clay Matthews got his hit on Colin Kaepernick but may have cost his team the game. There were offsetting penalties, and the officials mistakenly awarded the 49ers another 3rd down instead of the fourth down they were supposed to get. Some people might blame the officials for this. I blame Clay Matthews. His hit on Kaep as he was running out of bounds was stupid, unnecessary and a tad dirty. If he doesn’t to that there isn’t even a mistake for the officials to make.

Anquan Boldin formerly of Ravens fame proved that the Ravens made a mistake in trading him to the 49ers. Joe Flacco’s former favorite target became Colin Kaepernick’s favorite tartget, grabbing 13 passes for a grand total of 208 yards and a touchdown. Boldin had a monstrous difference in the game because when the Packers broke out of their zone a bit to guard him, he still burned them.

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense put up a very good fight. Rodgers had 333 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with one interception, but the punch that Eddie Lacy was supposed to add to the running game, never came, and Rodgers was up a creek with Jordy Nelson and no paddle. Amazingly, it was almost good enough as the Packers fell 34-28.

Tony Romo’s Has An Offensive Line?

Why, yes he does. In fact, they were quite good. They looked like a cohesive unit for the first time in about 15 years (I’m exaggerating but only mildly). No longer do opposing defensive linemen look like the Juggernaut running through paper maché. They have to actually work  to get to Tony Romo. This provides Romo with more time to look down field than he’s ever had in his life. If you thought he was good before (Romo haters, not one word) wait until you see him have time. The Giants have a pretty good secondary and they couldn’t stop Tony at all. He was slinging the ball all over the yard as he and the Cowboys staved off a late game comeback by the Giants.

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Lights Out! Or How The Ravens Survived the Surging 49ers to win Superbowl 47

A Super Bowl review four days after the big game?! Unthinkable. I thought so too but, now I get to cram all the delicious post-Super Bowl action into here. No body has to lose any sleep over this. Even if (disappointingly) this my first post since the “fail mary” that lifted the Seahawks past the Packers and made Aaron Rodgers angrier than Rich Eisen covering a Brett Favre comeback.

So, without further ado, the notable moments of Super Bowl 47 and it’s after math.

The San Francisco 49ers Start Slow and Pay For It.

In my opinion, San Francisco was too conservative in the first half. This hurt Colin Kaepernick’s rhythm , because San Francisco did not line up very often in the pistol formation nor did they use the read option very much. This is odd because the Ravens’ defense showed a susceptibility to it against the Redskins earlier in the season, and later in the game. The Ravens respect for the run game makes the read option effective against them by opening up holes in their secondary. A weakness the 49ers did not exploit until the second half.

Kaepernick was often times indecisive with his throws early in the game, which led to a 1 interception and no touchdown half for the second year quarterback.

On defense, San Francisco was determined not be beaten by Baltimore’s speedy receiver Torrey Smith. They double teamed him on nearly every play he was in the game, though the Ravens took shots in his direction anyway ( I assume in an effort to keep the defense honest). This allowed slant passes and other underneath routes to be highly effective against them. Torrey Smith didn’t do nearly as much damage Anquon Boldin and tight ends Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson did. This was eventually their undoing on the defensive side because the Ravens picked up a number of crucial third and longs by winning those routes.

The Baltimore Ravens Soared Early and Held On Late.

The  much maligned Joe Flacco ended his post season with 11 TDs and no interceptions, including his 3 TD first half performance that netted him the game’s MVP award. Flacco, in a contract year, played like a franchise player deserving of his self glossed elite status.

There was however, more to this game than Joe Flacco. Wide receiver Jacoby Jones turned in his own MVP-worthy performance as well, receiving 1 TD pass and returning a record setting 108 yard kick return at the beginning of the second half to keep the Ravens in the driver’s seat.

Despite Flacco’s stellar first half, he came to earth and was pretty human in the second. The power outage may have had something to do with this, stymieing the Ravens momentum but, regardless Flacco was not playing at his first half level in the second half as far as red zone play is concerned. The Ravens were still moving the ball well but settled for field goals inside the 20 yard line on a couple of possessions that may have iced the game.

The Ravens game plan was very balanced. Offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell deserves credit for that. Running backs Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce shared 32 carries between the two of them. Flacco threw the ball 33 times. The Ravens disproportionately racked up yards in the air with 287 passing yards as compared to their meager 92 rushing yards. However Flacco was hot for most of the game and the 49ers have an especially stout run defense. 49ers linebackers Navarro Bowman and Patrick Willis made sure that life on the ground was going to be tough for Baltimore.

On the other side of the ball, the Ravens played smart and out witted Kaepernick for much of the game. Especially on Colin’s first half interception. This was a typical Ed Reed performance where, he made deep passes a dangerous option for the opposing quarterback. Reed tracked the play from beginning to end, and as he often does, found himself in the perfect position to make a play on the football.

After the power outage the Ravens had trouble with the mobility of Colin Kaepernick. However, on crucial plays the found ways to hold firm.

Officiating

The referees let the players play in the big game. There were only 7 penalties committed on Sunday by either team.

The most notable officiating moment is the no call on Ravens defensive back Jimmy Smith who made contact with receiver Michael Crabtree at the end of the game. A no-call, that in my opinion, was a good one. Both Smith and Crabtree made contact prior to the ball being thrown and Crabtree pushed off after the ball was thrown.

The Aftermath 

After the Super Bowl 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh (obviously) took offense to the game ending no-call.

Joe Flacco called himself “a Raven for life” which is important because this is the end of his contract. The Ravens can re-sign him or slap him with the franchise tag. He also learned that the MVP of the Super Bowl wins a car.

Colin Kaepernick took blame for his teams’ loss, citing early mistakes as a reason.

John Harbaugh said his brother was the best coach in football as he won a brotherly rivalry for big brothers everywhere.

Ray Lewis did one last squirrel dance after the parade for all of the Baltimore fans, and it was as epic as you thought.

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