Ravens = 2-0. I did not predict this, but I’m pretty happy about it.
The offense looks pretty darn good. The running attack looks unstoppable (although the Chargers run defense wasn’t at full song). While 130 yards rushing isn’t spectacular, 4.1 yards per carry is pretty nice. The worries about receivers have been replaced (more on that in a minute) and as I happen to have predicted in the preseason, these guys are going to do just fine. You don’t need a bigtime playmaker to win games, you need a solid diverse core of good football players. The Ravens have that. And they have a pretty good QB. What I really like is that it seems they can score at will (3 touchdowns in 4 trips into the red zone? The Ravens?), and never let the game get out of their control. Also, there were spots where execution was brilliant (the Washington touchdown was an awesome play).
I’m going to buck the Baltimore sports radio trend and not go nuts about the secondary. Yes there’s a bit of weakness. Yes, I’d like to see a little more from those guys. But defense is truly a team effort, and a 60 yard pass play can start with the nose tackle making a mistake. The Chargers have a heck of an offense, and every one of their receivers is 6-5 and jacked, going up against our 5-10 180 pounders. I think they held their own OK, and while there were too many big plays, all but one had the damage contained. They made the tackle after the pass was caught, so there weren’t big yards after the catch. All in all, they played pretty well against a really tough matchup.
I’m not sure if the issue is the playcalling or the play but I would like to see a little improvement, and some work on eliminating the little mistakes on both sides of the ball.
The Ray Lewis play at the end of the game is what fans live for. Seriously. A jump up off the couch and spill the popcorn play. My dog is still hiding under the bed.
Oh, and have the Ravens ever been #1 in the ESPN Power Rankings?
Other game notes:
The Jets defense looks better than I expected, and the Patriots look terrible. They are lucky to be 1-1. The Jets offense will be their downfall if there is one.
How does a team win with 15 minutes time of possession? Payton Manning, that’s how. Wow.
Next week, Ravens face the Browns in Baltimore. They will be 14 point favorites (or more) but these are sometimes the games the Ravens have a let down. Harbaugh has done a good job eliminating that, this game may actually be a test. My prediction: Ravens 24, Browns 13. But I’m probably wrong.