The Baltimore Ravens have been widely considered the most inconsistent team this year, looking like a Super Bowl contender one week and a division bottom feeder the next. After getting manhandled by the Seattle Seahawks last week, the Ravens looked to get back on track with a huge game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
This game against the Bengals was important for several reasons. The Bengals are divisional opponents and if the Ravens won, they would lead the division. With the Steelers on a bye, this was the Ravens chance to get back some confidence with a win against a quality opponent.
The Ravens delivered and put forth one of their more complete games of the season. Despite not having Ray Lewis on field, the Ravens’ defense persevered and was able to pull this one out in the end.
You have to give a lot of credit to Andy Dalton and the Bengals’ wide receivers who were missing A.J. Green. Andre Caldwell and Jerome Simpson really stepped up and made some big plays.
The Ravens’ offense has been dubbed Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The can look like completely a different team at times and frequently struggle early in games. While the offense did need time to get moving, they got back to a very effective and balanced attack. This is something we haven’t seen in awhile and it was a breath of fresh air. Ray Rice had a monstrous game with over 100 yards and a couple of touchdowns. Joe Flacco wasn’t too shabby either with 270 yards in the air and two touchdowns. Torrey Smith has been an amazing addition this season, catching several deep bombs for over 160 yards and a touchdown. His speed can not be matched and safeties have trouble keeping him in front of them.
Finally, Cam Cameron got the memo. This is the kind of gameplan the Ravens need to execute week in and week out. Ray Rice will pop runs here and there and get the momentum swinging in their favor. I know we all want to see him control the game but Joe Flacco is more of a game manager. He shouldn’t be forced to do too much and should let the running game do the talking.
Next week will be an even bigger challenge. The Ravens only have three days to prepare for a Thanksgiving game against the 49ers. The Harbaugh brothers will clash in this sibling rivalry but John will have the advantage in this one. Jim and the 49ers will have to travel cross country, from San Francisco to Baltimore, and will have little time to prepare. John and the Ravens have homefield advantage and gain a slight edge in a game where every little thing makes a difference. I am extremely excited for this one.