Nov 11, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) reacts after a Ravens touchdown in the first half against the Oakland Raiders at M
The Ravens easily dispatched the Oakland Raiders. They won so easily, that I am not worried about admitting that I already wrote a good chunk of this before the third quarter even ended. As I type, the Ravens just scored yet another TD on a fake FG this time to go up a whopping 48-17 for a 31 point margin. 48 points ties the Ravens all time record for points scored in a game, It would be surprising if the Ravens didn’t break that record today.
-Lets start with the fake FG. Sam Koch ran the fake into the endzone for a very easy TD. This play was very simular to the 2 point conversion in the opener against the Steelers last year. The Raiders had been overcrowding the right side of the line all day trying to get a block and the Ravens finally got tired of it and called them on it. The Steelers did the same thing last year and the Ravens reacted the same way at a similar point in the game. I agree with this call for two reasons. 1st of all, this is the NFL. If you don’t want the score run up on you, then stop your opponent. I have no pity for any team that cries about the score being run up. get over it. 2nd, You have to send a message to other teams. The Steelers in particular love to crowd one side of the line, they now will have a very fresh reminder of what can happen if you do so.
-Courtney Upshaw was excellent today. he was all over the field making plays, he set the edge in the running game very well, he got his hands on two passes and batted them down. He only had 4 tackles in the first three quarters, but similar to Jarrett Johnsons old stat lines, Upshaws doesn’t tell half of the story of his game. This was by far his best overall game of the season.
-Bernard Pollard was excellent today as well. he made multiple tackles from everywhere, he had 2 tackles behind the line, he knocked away a deep pass, he got a sack. He was a big difference maker this week. I think Pollard might be one of the top 5 most under-rated players in the league, for the record, I felt the same way when he was in Houston.
-James Ihedigbo came in in the third quarter and played the rest of the game in place of Ed Reed who got rest thanks to the blowout. Ihedigbo played pretty well for the most part. He is still a young guy and he might have some potential moving forward. I have little beleif in Carson Palmer as a QB, but Ihedigbos play still made me more comfortable with the Ravens backup safety spot.
-Jacoby Jones got himself another kickoff return TD. he was never even touched, nor was Anthony Allen who was Jones lead blocker. It was a terrible display by the Raiders kickoff team, but it was still awesome to see Jones running down the field like that. Jones has solidified the Ravens special teams, a unit that has struggled for years. Jones had an awesome day all around. He had 60 scrimmage yards on 3 touches and he the return. the one sour note was the interception that he allowed to happen, but given that he did so many good things for the team, I will overlook it this once. Jones TD put the Ravens over the top and made todays game the Ravens highest scoring game ever. Congrats to Jones and the rest of the team for breaking the 50 point mark for the first time in franchise history. The last time the Raiders gave up 55 points was to Dan Fouts and the Air Corryell offense of the San Diego Charger in 1981.
-One incredible play by the Ravens was late in the game. they rushed 2 men and dropped 9 into zone coverage. incredibly enough the two men both got free and got to Palmer forcing him to throw it away. two guys against 6 and the 2 guys won. Pretty awesome stuff.
-Joe Flacco was incredible today. period. He ended his day 21 of 33 for 341 yards and 4 total touchdowns(3 passing, 1 rushing). This might have been the best game of his career in terms of stats and dominance. Lets hope he can carry this momentum over to the Steelers game next week.
-Speaking of momentum. I wrote earlier this week that the Ravens must win this game bug to develop some momentum to head into their toughest stretch of the season(@ Pit, @SD, vs. Pit). I think they did that today.
-Torrey Smith didn’t have a catch for a very long time…then he exploded. Torrey caught 2 TD passes over a stretch of less than 8 minutes and racked up 67 yards. Torrey showed how dangerous he can be if the defense sleeps on him. The Ravens got Jones involved and then with Jones having caught long passes already, the defense seemed to choke up on Smith and send the safety help that was on Smith, over to Jones. Then Smith shredded them. this is how the Ravens offense should function and this is why you have to get both Jones and Smith going early.
-Tandon Doss had a pretty cool punt return, it looked like he was playing pinball as he bounced off about 6 Raiders players and ended up getting somewhere around 30 yards on the return. the play was called back for a holding penalty, but the hold was away from the play.