This afternoon I watched my Alma Mater play their biggest game of the year. It might not sound like a headliner, but when you go to a service academy, Air Force-Navy is about as big as they come. I don’t think we saw the next Roger Staubach or Chad Hennings, but it was a game worth watching. And it was competitive – at least during the first half. The underdog Falcons effectively ran the ball, controlled the clock, and contained Navy’s prolific running attack.
In the second half, my Air Force Falcons were unable to accomplish any of the above. Navy shut down the Air Force running game and Air Force could not keep Navy’s offense off the field. Navy continually pounded the rock and demoralized the Air Force defense with third down conversions. Air Force did not help itself during the few minutes it controlled the ball. Two interceptions and a fumble sealed the deal.
A triumphant Navy squad left the field of play to hold hands with the conquered for the traditional playing of both schools’ alma maters since all of the young men on that field will forever be comrades on much more important battle fields in the future.
But, wait a minute. This is a Ravens’ blog, why am I reading about Air Force-Navy?
This is indeed a Ravens’ blog, but the fate of the Air Force Falcons is not unlike what happened to the Ravens last week against the Bills. If the Ravens want to walk away from Miami with a win, they should take note.
The Ravens’ sins against Buffalo are well known. The running game was non-existent. As a result, much like Air Force, the Ravens completely abandoned their strength and ran the ball a mere two times in the second half. While not completely causal, this surely had something to do with the five interceptions thrown by Joe Flacco. Additionally, the Ravens’ traditionally stout run defense allowed the Bills to chalk up over 200 yards on the ground.
We all know the result of that outing and no one wants to relive the experience.
The Dolphins are not the Bills, but if the Ravens want to avoid the same result there are three things they must do:
1) Stop the Dolphins’ run attack
2) Establish Ray Rice and the Ravens’ running attack
3) Avoid turnovers (especially interceptions)
To be sure, the Ravens understand these are non-negotiable items. The question is if they can accomplish them. I, for one, think they can, but must admit that I am anxious to actually see it happen. The Ravens’ new offensive line acquisition should help, but talk is cheap. Now is the time for action. I hope to see it soon.
Go Air Force, and Go Ravens!