Perhaps no opening could ever be quite as sweet as last season 34-7 thrashing of the Steelers, but this game might have come close. For the second year in a row the Ravens have opened the season with an easy beat-down of a divisional foe. The Ravens were up by 28 points when they pulled their starters in the fourth quarter. here are some notes.
***FINAL: Ravens:44 Bengals:13***
-Flacco and the new no-huddle are clearly the story of this game- Flacco came out swinging and never let up going 21-29 for 299 yards and 2 TDs. He audibled and changed the play constantly and generally made good decisions. His accuracy was near perfect and he was almost unstoppable all night. He looked very Peyton Manning-esque when he was changing plays and formations, Flacco is going to have a huge year.
- Tucker is Perfect- Justin Tucker continued his great start as a Raven and nailed all of his kicks. he made 3 FGs(39, 40, 46) and hit 4 XPs. the under-rated part of his night is going to be his kickoffs, several times he was able to kick to the corners and bounce the kickoff to prevent any chance for a return, it led to a few mistakes by the Bengals kick return unit as they tried to force plays.
-Is this 2006 or 2012???- Ray Lewis and Ed Reed looked like they were 25 again tonight. Reed had a great game highlighted by a pick six that sealed the victory(he dropped a pick in the endzone early in the game as well). Lewis had a monster night with 14 tackles, 1 FF and 1 sack, he was also in good coverage of Gresham on the play where Reed got the Pick six. This was a vintage performance from the Ravens two First ballot Hall of Famers.
-Jim Caldwell has made an impact- Im going to rave about the offense again here. Jim Caldwell may prove to be the most valuable addition by any team this offseason. His impact is clear, Flacco has never looked more comfortable and in control and the offense has never been smoother. Flacco also showed vastly improved footwork and mechanics and it it showed in his accuracy and ball positioning.
-The replacement refs aren’t great, but they aren’t bad either- The refs missed a few calls over the weekend, no doubt about it. That said, they didn’t make any really atrocious or grievous mistakes. no games were clearly won or lost on bad calls. All in all it looks as if the Officiating issue has been massively overblown.
-Lardarius Webb continues to be the best defender no one talks about- Webb was all over the field tonight. he lined up in all three corner positions as well as both strong and Free safety positions. He finished the game with 7 tackles, 1 FR and only 1 allowed catch for 8 yards. Webb might just be the best CB in the league and he is still trying to get his name known.
- Jacoby Jones fills a need- Jones wasn’t a world beater tonight, he had 3 receptions for 46 yards, but more importantly he had 0 drops and was excellent as a blocker. Jones was on the field most of the game and the Bengals D was forced to respect his speed. He had as much prodution in one game as any of the Ravens WRs not named Smith or Boldin did in all of last season.
The Ravens played a great game, but there isnt much time to celebrate as they will meet one of the more loaded offenses in the NFL next week in the Eagles. Time to get ready boys.
late game pick: Raiders over Chargers 24-21