We learned several things from this game. One is that Peyton Hillis is a freak of nature who’s a better player than the average Brown, and another is that Anquan Boldin is the second coming of Jesus.
All Yogi Bear related puns and Bible lessons aside, it was nice to see the Ravens get back in the win column, and even nicer knowing that they got there behind Joe Flacco and their passing game. Last week’s performance against Cincinnati was embarrassing not only for Flacco, but for his receivers, tight ends, and offensive linemen. Playing well this week was huge for the 3rd-year QB, silencing the “Kyle Boller” remarks and other jolly banter and scallywagging of that sort.
Yes, it was the Browns. Should we think less of this win because of that? Not at all. Why? That’s an easy answer. The team we saw was not the normal Browns team that has single digit win totals every year and has very few legitimate weapons on their roster. The Browns were rolling on all cylinders (excluding their pass defense), and coming up with a win in their home opener was huge for this Ravens team.
All the towel wavers from Pitt-stank-booger will tell you the same thing this week. “Your Ravens almost lost to the Browns, so they must be terrible.” Yeah, throw that garbage in the Alleghany River like you do with the rest of your trash. You’ll see just how “bad” the Ravens are on Sunday. Tell me the Browns were a terrible team yesterday and I’ll give you a million dollars. They did almost everything needed to win in the NFL. They ran the ball EXTREMELY well against a vaunted run defense, their quarterback took care of the ball and made big passing plays when they were needed, and for the most part, they shut down the Ravens’ biggest weapon, Ray Rice. The reason the Ravens won this game was because Joe Flacco and Co. were on fire.
Flacco’s 145.5 QB rating in the first half doesn’t even begin to explain how great his performance was. All the problems that had plagued him in the first two games, or his entire NFL career for that matter, were not seen yesterday. He hit his receivers in stride, knew exactly where they’d be in their routes, forced absolutely zero passes, and read the blitz well. Sure, the Browns may not have a secondary like the Jets or Bengals, which definitely factored into Flacco’s success, but if you go back and watch every single completion he threw, you will see the flawlessness of some of his throws and some of his decisions. No cornerback, whether it’s Nmandi Asomugha, Darrelle Revis, or even the highly-regarded Frank Walker, would have been able to break up or disrupt those passes Flacco threw yesterday, and that’s a very, very, very good thing for the Ravens.
The defense was not as strong as it has been. The touchdown-less streak ended, whoop-dee-frickin-doo. The Browns’ offensive line was great yesterday, and Peyton Hillis was even better. When he wasn’t carving up the defense, Seneca Wallace was making great throws for first downs. I’m usually one of the first ones to rip a unit for a lackluster performance, but I can’t here. Credit needs to go where credit is due, and that is to the Browns’ offense. They did an incredible job of moving the ball and tiring out the Ravens’ defense.
Player Of The Game: Anquan Boldin, WR- While I’ve raved about Flacco’s performance, Boldin had a career day. I just wrote about giving credit where credit is due, and Flacco better give some big credit to Boldin for being so stellar yesterday. The new pickup broke loose several times during the game for big gains, and was open on almost every play. He exploited bad coverage, made big plays when needed, and had a nose for the end zone. There’s nothing more that you could ask from a receiver.
- Joe Flacco
- Ray Rice
- Michael Oher (mostly for his sicknasty altercation)
- Dawan Landry
- Terrell Suggs
- Kelly Gregg
- Sam Koch
That’s all for today. Look out for some Squealer-bashing this week, and a Rookie Watch post tomorrow.