Jan 3, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Heath Miller (83) carries the ball as Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Daryl Smith (51) tackles in the second quarter during the 2014 AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
Much like in the game of basketball, defense can also win games in the NFL. As a matter of fact, that has been evident throughout most of the Baltimore Ravens’ franchise history. I’m referring to the days when their defense was putting up way more points than their offense.
Pretty much what we saw in Denver last weekend when Baltimore’s offense went on to only post two field goals. The defense contributed to Baltimore’s one and only touchdown of the game as cornerback Jimmy Smith impressed a lot of people, reading a pass from Peyton ManningPeyton Manning and intercepting it for a 24-yard touchdown return.
I’m sure Ravens Nation is happy those days are over. Well, hopefully that remains the case this season because it certainly didn’t look like it on Sunday.
I know that Baltimore’s lack of offense Week 1 has contributed to many headlines in the media this week, but hopefully what people are recognizing is the fact that the defense is to be praised for their performance and it’s a good sign for the Ravens.
Baltimore’s defense held one of the league’s most lucrative offenses of recent years to 19 points in front of their home crowd, causing Manning to have a poor showing in Denver’s season opener, only completing 24 of 40 passes for 175 yards, according to The Baltimore Sun.
Sep 13, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Carl Davis (94) grabs onto Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) in the second quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
That’s a performance that has also put Manning and his offense in the same negative limelight as Baltimore’s offense has been in this week. The Ravens shouldn’t be too worried though. The offense is something they can work on, considering they’ve had a good track record since the John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco era began and we can’t forget about the fact that the talent in the receiver department is not like last season and there’s a new offensive coordinator in town.
But, as far as Baltimore’s defense goes, that’s a unit that the Ravens have been hoping to see improvements in since the Ray Lewis era ended in 2012 and with a good defensive line back in the fold and a secondary that’s made drastic improvements since last year, this could be the season that the defense gets back on track.
And if that ends up being the case, that will be a backbone that the Ravens will surely not have complaints about because when you’re talking about grinding a game out, that’s something that a strong defense allows a team to do and that’s what the NFL is, a grind-it-out game.
The Ravens are hoping that their offense can match what appears to be a ready defense and they’re definitely not looking to see themselves in headlines for similar reasons by the time the season reaches the midway point. They’ve seen that episode before and it’s not pretty.
That’s something that they witnessed their former receiver Torrey Smith go through last year before he was able to turn things around at the midway point of the season. However, for Jacoby Jones, that’s probably the main reason he’s not in a Ravens uniform this year. He was just never able to quite turn things around last season and by the time there was anything positive to highlight about his performance, it was too late.
So, hopefully the Ravens can get back on track this Sunday when they face the Oakland Raiders, but if all else fails, at least they can look to their defense to keep their chances alive and that’s a department that you want to always be able to pull out the hat when you need production.
Sep 13, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) throws the ball in the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos won 19-13. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
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