Well, there’s one main thing that we can say was positive about this game:
The defense is insanely good.
Other than that, yesterday’s performance was just terrible. On offense, nothing ever flowed. When the running game was working, the passing game was falling behind. When the passing game worked, well, the passing game worked only a few times in the whole game, to be perfectly honest.
Joe Flacco had a terrible game, yes. Quite possibly the worst of his career. It has to at least be some kind of positive knowing that when your quarterback throws four interceptions and throws several more terrible passes, that you only lose by 5 points, and that he makes enough plays to stay in the game. This year, his weapons are good enough for that to happen, and in most cases, those weapons will be able to help Flacco and the team pull out the win, instead of a close loss.
I’m not going to go too far into the officiating. Enough has been said about it, especially by Ray Lewis. My take on this whole thing is that the officiating crew was not focused enough on the game, and weren’t prepared to judge the Ravens’ hard-hitting, playmaking defense. The little things that the Ravens do can throw off referees, and we saw that a bit last year, as well. Lewis made the right play on the “Tripping” call, but it was the fact that he made the right play that surprised the official who made the call. I don’t know what kind of ‘shrooms the crew was doing on the Suggs RTP call, because that is as blatant a no-call as I’ve ever seen. Suggs had a full head of steam going into Palmer, and did his best to avoid hitting Palmer as hard as we know Suggs can. Those two calls put the Bengals in field goal range, and with Mike Nugent being immortal, those cost the Ravens the game.
Here’s a short list of guys I was impressed with yesterday:
- Ray Lewis
- Terrell Suggs
- Lardarius Webb
- Anquan Boldin
- Todd Heap
- Derrick Mason
- Jalen Parmele
- David Reed
- Sam Koch
There are a few more guys, but those are the main names that I’m going to throw out there. If I were a causal football fan watching that game yesterday, I would not think that the Ravens are a Super Bowl caliber team. Not even close, actually. I would think the same thing after watching the win against the Jets. This team is insanely talented, and all the pieces are there for them to go all the way this season. The first loss always hurts the most, and it also is the one that teaches the most. I’ll leave you with the things we learned from today’s game:
- The defense is as good as ever. Add Ed Reed and Sergio Kindle after Week 6, and these guys will be dominating offenses. The Jets and Bengals both have legitimate offenses, and neither could do much of anything. That’s a good sign.
- Joe Flacco needs to get it together. To be fair, these two pass rushes and overall pass defenses are two of the best five in the NFL, but he looks like a rookie out there. The “Kyle Boller” criticisms were widespread today, and that’s just not how Flacco is. He needs to show us that Golden Boy arm and his great poise in the pocket again.
- The Ravens need Ed Reed back, ASAP. Tom Zbikowski dropped an interception and needs to focus more on his punt returning duties, because he’s done some stupid things. Reed is the guy that makes quarterbacks afraid to throw deep, something that Carson Palmer tried (and failed) to do yesterday.
- Our special teams unit as a whole is solid. Sam Koch is insane, Billy Cundiff looks solid in the kicking game, and can kick the ball off better than anyone in the NFL right now, and David Reed is a great gunner. Parmele and Zibby have been good in general, minus Parmele’s fumble yesterday, and Zbikowski’s two questionable decisions returning punts. This unit might decide a few games over the course of the season, and that’s a good thing.