Observations from the Ravens game
WARNING: Some random Ghostwriter-esque rambling, but it won't be that bad, I promise.
Okay, there were some crucial factors in last night's game that few people seem to bring up, but I felt were very big in deciding the outcome.
First off, field position. I don't know if anyone else made the connection, but it seemed as soon as we got better field position, we were able to turn things around. This is going to be crucial for the other defenses we will face. We haven't been giving up yards on returns, but our own return game could use some work. Getting pinned back near the end zone really hurt us. And could someone tell me why all the punters we face suddenly turn into Ray Guy? It seems like every time our D manages to pin someone way back, their punter suddenly booms a 60+ yarder.
Run defense: forget Flacco, their running game hurt us more. we allowed over 100 yards rushing. I hate to say it, but not having Keisel and Casey out there hurt us. I know Ravens have a great running game, but we allowed them too many yards.
Secondary: this is where Flacco did hurt us. Even though he's not a great QB, he bailed them out of several 3rd and long situations. But you can just as easily pin that on our secondary. I distinctly remember one play where we left a receiver WIDE open that set up the Raven's final TD. And of course, no INT's. We've played better, so I'm not worried about that. I guess it was just an off-night.
Wait, the O-line is a positive? It can't be! Actually, it kind of is. Considering how poorly they did against the Eagles, and how good the Ravens front 7 is, they definitely showed improvement over last week. Ben was actually sacked less in this game than the last one where we crushed them 38-7. And one sack came on the play where Ben lost his shoe. Though it sucks to have an injury, I'm not too worried about Simmons being out. The man is garbage, always has been, and I'm still convinced he only started over Kemo last season was because of his vet status.
Passing game: he got off to a slow start, but last night had a lot of vintage Big Ben. Escaping sacks, improvising, and making clutch plays. Receivers (including Moore) also got tough yards when they had to. And need I remind you, we played better when Ben (not Arians) had the reins. But without a doubt, they ALL must improve.
Overall, it's the same old story. We have to control the LoS better and improve our return game, cause our schedule is not getting easier. Hopefully our players heal up quickly before it really comes back to bite us.