Played Like a Raven – Jarret Johnson
Double J got the game started off right with his punishing sack of Kyle Orton, and that hit set the tone for the entire game. B’More was clearly the more physical team all afternoon, and #95 made sure that the donkeys were well aware of that fact from the get-go. Though he had only the one sack, Johnson pressured Orton all day long, and hit him several more times. If JJ had some better hands, the Ravens likely would have sent the Broncos home with a goose egg (his dropped INT came just several plays before Denver scored their only points of the day), and possibly could have scored a touchdown of his own.
Johnson has now tied his previous career high with five sacks, which leads the team and accounts for nearly one-third of the Ravens’ season total of 16.
Jarret will never, as so many Ravens fans unfairly expected him to, fully “replace” Adalius Thomas. He has, however, evolved into a very solid player in his own right, and this week was just another example of that.
Did Not Play Like a Raven – Anybody who got flagged
And no, I don’t mean “the refs did not Play Like a Raven.”
What I mean is that, after demolishing a previously undefeated team to the tune of 30-7, we could very easily have had our second game of the season in which no player “did not play like a Raven.” Unfortunately, the one blemish from the game was that, as a team, the Ravens racked up 8 more penalties for 94 yards. At one point, CBS displayed a graphic that showed the Ravens’ penalty yards were, to that point in the game, outpacing both their passing and rushing offensive production.
Each of them had solid games otherwise, but Derrick Mason, Michael Oher, and Dominique Foxworth all picked up major penalties. Ed Reed was offsides on 4th-and-short, an unforgivable mistake.
I’m not here to argue the merit of the flags (again). The calls “were what they were.” After seven games, the Ravens need to realize that they just are not going to get the benefit of the doubt that other teams get, or that they may have gotten while on other rosters, and should adjust their play accordingly.
As Chris Pika points out, the Ravens have racked up 510 penalty yards, 33 more than the next most penalized team, the lowly St. Louis Rams.
The penalties didn’t matter Sunday, because the scoreboard was sufficiently lopsided. As we’ve seen already too many times in 2009, they CAN and WILL affect close games. With the level of competition the Ravens will face over the next crucial month, the handing out of yardage needs to stop NOW.