The Ravens finally busted out of their night game bugaboo that had plagued them since 2005, and won a prime time contest, besting the Redskins 24-10 at M&T Bank Stadium. Terrell Suggs and Ed Reed split the “Horse Trailer” players of the game award from John Madden, and deservedly so. It was Suggs’ pressure on Washington QB Jason Campbell on the Skins’ first drive that led to Reed scooping the interception from the tops of the blades of FieldTurf. The Ravens offense capitalized, going 55 yards on just 5 plays as Le’Ron McClain bowled the final 8 yards to give the Ravens a 7-0 lead, one they would never relinquish.
But Eddie was just getting started. Reed, who would seemingly love to see the Redskins on the Ravens’ schedule every year, thrust himself towards the top of the NFL MVP discussion just 3 minutes later when he came up with a play that was amazing even by his lofty standards. Washington RB Clinton Portis took the handoff and appeared to have picked up a Washington first down when Reed and Jim Leonhard finally got him wrapped up. Reed though, was not happy with just a tackle, and swiped the ball as Portis fell to the ground, getting just enough of it to jostle it loose before the back’s body was on the ground. Reed scooped up the loose ball and was in 3rd gear racing towards the end zone by the time the other 21 guys on the field realized what was going on. Samari Rolle put a great block on Campbell at the WAS 5 and Reed sidestepped Santana Moss before basically moonwalking into the end zone to give the Ravens a 14-0 lead just 5:30 into the game.
Ed Reed, the best damn safety to ever play the game. Think that guy from the Squealers is even close? Check out these stats my man Dewey threw together and get back to me.
The rout should have been on at that point, but the Ravens offense struggled to get anything going aside from that first drive they put together, all the way until their final game-sealing drive in the 4th quarter. Cam Cameron and Joe Flacco seemed equally perplexed by a Redskins defense that broke character and showed zone looks all night long, as opposed to their usual man-press D. Compounding the problem were the case of dropsies that was sweeping through the Ravens’ backs and receivers, the wind causing Joe Cool’s passes to sail, and the rusty mess of crap that has become Willis McGahee. McGahee, instead of coming back fresh and rejuvinated as we had hoped and (half) expected, was about 2 steps slow all night, dropped a pass and a pitch, and had a costly fumble that gave Washington their only signs of life all night. He found no holes against the Skins, and finished with 32 yards on 11 carries, with a measley long of 6. Ray Rice and Le’Ron McClain appear to be much better options for the Ravens going forward, although we’re not ready to completely give up on Willis just yet. His services will still probably be needed if the Ravens are to make a January playoff push.
Luckily for us B’More fans, the Ravens defense did their best to make 14-0 seem like 47-0. They would not allow a point until the 4th quarter, when they also allowed their first touchdown in 46 opponents’ drives (a club record), and not until they had now scored their THIRD touchdown since the last they had allowed. They pressured Jason Campbell relentlessly, as the Skins seemed completely confused by Rex Ryan’s blitz packages all night. Even before they lost 2 of their starting O-linemen to injury, they were not moving the ball at all, but those guys going out pretty much sealed the deal. The secondary was superb again, and those guys really seem to be finding their stride. Fabian Washington had his best game as a Raven.
It doesn’t seem right to nit-pick too much after such a satisfying win, but for the Ravens to get an even MORE satisfying (and more important) win next week against the horseshoe-up-their-ass Pittsburgh Steelers, they will have to be a little closer to perfect.
- The stat sheet says the Skins were only 3/14 on 3rd down, but didn’t it seem worse than that watching the game? One particularly frustrating sequence occurred in the middle of the 2nd quarter. Washington had 3rd-and-1 at their own 19, then shot themselves in the foot, picking up consecutive false start penalties to push it to 3rd-and-11. A draw play picked up FIFTEEN (!) but the Skins were flagged for holding and now faced 3rd-and-15 instead. So what do the Ravens do? Blitz 6, and this time, the Skins gain TWENTY-FIVE on the WR screen. That ish isn’t going to fly next week – if we have Pit backed up to their goalline facing 3rd-and-long, we have to force punts.
- Will the Steelers take a page from the Redskins’ playbook and go with zone defenses? It seems doubtful because the Steelers are so good on defense that they probably feel they don’t need to change for anybody. If they do though, Cam and Joe need to be much better prepared to change game plans on the fly. Let’s not let this turn into a how-to-stop-the-Ravens blueprint.
- The Skins had at least 5 plays of 16 or more yards. Nothing too terrible, but didn’t it seem like they were gashing the Ravens just enough to make you a little uneasy?
It was a great win, but like we said, a win next week would be even greater. This should be a really fun week here in B’More as we gear up for what some are calling the biggest regular season game in Ravens history.
Oh, yeah – Ed also had another interception to drive the final nail into the Skins’ coffin.
You’re next, “Ben.”