The Ravens put an absolute beat down on the Cincy Bungles yesterday, in a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score indicated. The purple and black (pants) dominated every facet of the game, and notched both Coach John Harbaugh and QB Joe Flacco victories in their first real NFL action.
The day started off a bit sour, as Todd Heap promptly fumbled away the first completion of Flacco’s career on the team’s own 33 yard line. No matter though, as the B’More defense was eager to get on the field, and held Todd up, sacking Carson Palmer on consecutive plays to knock the Bungles out of field goal range. That was a preview of things to come for Palmer and the Cincy O, as Rex Ryan’s defense channeled the Ravens’ defenses of yore, laying the smack down all afternoon. Let’s take a look-see, shall we?
First downs: 8
3rd Down Conversions: 2/13
4th Down Conversions: 0/2
Total Net Yards: 154
Time of Possession: 23:45
Points Scored: 3
Seriously, who saw that coming? The Cincinnati offense, which usually carves up the Ravens, was inept all day. Even though Palmer was only sacked twice, he was under intense pressure all day. Ginger boy will probably be having nightmares about Tom Zbikowski, who flattened him twice just after he got the ball away.
And those receivers that always give our secondary fits?
T.J. Houseouanvelkajhma: 3 catches, 44 yards
Ocho Cinco Johnson: Uno Catcho, dos-dos yardso
Speaking of the secondary, it was a sight for sore eyes to see both C-Mac and Ed Reed not only on the field (the latter of whom we feared we may have never even seen play again), but also contributing. McAlister had a couple very questionable pass interference calls on him in the 2nd quarter, but blanketed his man all day and picked off a pass that was tipped by Reed.
Defense, defense….feel like I’m forgetting something…
Of course, the offense! After so many years of giving mad props to the D after any win, the other side of the ball is almost an afterthought.
Seriously, though, Cam Cameron lived up to his hype in this one. Even though they were only able to put up 17 points, the Ravens could have easily had about 17 more on the board if not for a few miscues.
- Flacco put a screen pass on the hands of Ray Rice that could have turned into a long TD scamper if he’d secured the ball before trying to run
- Joe slightly underthrew Mark Clayton down the seam, allowing the defender to break up the pass, on another play where the receiver had a ton of green in front of him
- Todd Heap dropped what should have been Flacco’s first career TD pass (Joe can’t be gaining a good deal of faith in the Stormin’ Mormin so far)
- Matt Stover missed badly on his first attempt of the season, a 47 yarder
Otherwise, though, the Ravens offense was damn good. They racked up 229 yards on the ground, getting 64 from Ray Rice, 86 from Le’Ron McClain (who is a certifiable BEAST), 42 from Clayton, and, on a play that we won’t soon forget here in B’More, 38 from Flacco on a busted play that he turned into a naked bootleg and lumbered his 6’6” ass all the way to the end zone.
The offensive line, such a big question mark coming into the season, played superbly. Jason Brown was about 30 yards downfield blocking for Flacco on his TD run. When the team needed a tough yard to convert on 3rd down, they were perfect. Flacco was not sacked once in the game, and the Ravens were able to pound Cincy into submission in the 4th to seal the win as they held the ball for the final 7:15. Obviously, the Cincy defense isn’t nearly as tough as some we will face later in the year, but this was a great starting point to improve from.
I suppose I could point out how the officals were in mid-season form against the Ravens, pulling phantom calls out of their behinds (one of which negated a punt return TD), but why bother? Hopefully, as the team continues to display to the league that they do indeed have a newfound sense of discipline, the yellow flags will become less and less frequent.
I’ll also choose to sugarcoat Flacco’s day and not spend time talking about the couple times he was inaccurate when he had a man open, or how the team had to use all 3 timeouts way to early in the 2nd half. It was a rookie QB in his first game, and if that was the extent of his mistakes, he still gets an “A” for the day (especially after he impressed us with his downfield blocking on Clayton’s TD run). Also, Ray Rice’s fumble that resulted in the Bengals’ only TD of the day was pretty inexcusable, but since they still won, we’ll give him his rookie mulligan on that one.
For now, let’s enjoy this week and our undefeated football team.
1-0. Go Ravens.