Ray Rice had about as quiet a 100-yard performance as one can ever have on Thursday night. The Ravens offense was again shut out for the first 30 minutes of a road game, and was largely ineffective until very late in the game, but this was not Rice’s fault. Rice had 59 yards on 12 carries (4.9 average) and added another 43 yards on just 3 receptions. This gave him 102 total yards from scrimmage on just 15 touches (6.8 average).
Rice came out very strong, picking up 11 and 13 yards on the Ravens’ first two offensive snaps. It looked to be a very good sign for the B’More offense…but we all know what happened next. Inexplicably, Rice would get just two more touches the entire first half – runs of 5 and -2 yards.
In addition, Rice’s 24-yard screen pass reception on the Ravens’ final drive was both a blessing and a curse. While it did set them up at the Falcons’ 11-yard line with just over a minute remaining in a game that they trailed 20-14…it also set them up at the 11-yard line with over a minute remaining. To that point, the Ravens had shaved nearly two minutes off the clock in the process of moving the ball from their own 28-yard line in 5 plays. Looking back, a more methodical approach was probably necessary, so as to avoid leaving Matt Ryan so much time to answer Todd Heap’s 11-yard touchdown reception.
Not that any of the blame for the loss goes on Ray Rice’s shoulders. Just saying…
Played Like a Raven – Terrell Suggs
T-Sizzle was a man Thursday night. Suggs had two sacks, four hits, and three pressures on Matt Ryan. It was the 11th multi-sack game of Suggs’ career – and the first that the Ravens have lost.
Suggs gets a lot of heat around Baltimore for not putting up the big sack numbers that many tend to associate with the defensive end/linebacker position, especially a guy who is as well paid as Sizzle. However, Suggs is having an outstanding season, and were it not for #55, opposing quarterbacks probably really could have a cup of coffee and a doughnut each and every time they dropped back.
Suggs was flagged for a facemask penalty, a call that was pivotal in Atlanta’s second touchdown of the night – but we’ve already been over what complete BS that was.
Hopefully Suggs can build off his performance from Thursday night, though. As great as it is to have a well-rounded linebacker such as the one he has become, it is becoming more and more obvious that the pass defense really could be the undoing of this team, and some additional contributions from #55 in the pressuring-the-passer area could help immensely.
Honorable Mention – Anquan Boldin
Did Not Play Like a Raven – Michael Oher
Holy crap, “Big Mike,” WTF was that?
On a night where Oher finally met the man who portrayed him in the film “The Blind Side,” Quinton Aaron, for the first time, it looked as if Aaron had actually replaced the second year tackle on the field for much of the night. You half expected Sandra Bullock to run out on the field to slap some sense into him.
While the entire offensive line was pretty horrendous, Oher is going to get the lion’s share of the blame here. He was absolutely awful, getting completely abused and confused by Falcons’ defensive end John Abraham again and again.
The guys over at Pro Football Focus (quickly becoming one of my favorite websites) agree with me, and state that it was Oher’s worst game of the season.
We go from great to god awful and the noticeably bad performance of Michael Oher (-6.1). His run blocking wasn’t great and he couldn’t handle whoever the Falcons put at right end, constantly beaten when guys would delay their attack or move inside him. He gave up a sack, two hits and four pressures — his worst day of the season.
Matt Ryan came out of Thursday night looking like the clear better quarterback of he and Joe Flacco, but a great deal of that impression was due to the play of the QB’s respective offensive lines. Ryan had all day to throw, while Joe was running for his life time and time again.
Let’s hope that Oher and the rest of the line were simply hit with the perfect storm – done in by a multitude of factors ranging from lingering fatigue from the Miami game just four days earlier, to unfamiliarity with the surface at the Georgia Dome, to whatever else you want to throw in to make yourself feel better. The line needs to shape up, and quick. This week, they face a Carolina Panthers defense that is 26th in the league with just 13 sacks, which could be just what the Doctor ordered.
Dishonorable Mentions – Rest of offensive line, Lardarius Webb