Are We Back?
I've been traveling the last few weeks and ended my trip in Pittsburgh for the Ravens game. That was a heck of a game. And I think this team might be turning a corner. Couple things I noticed during the game.
1. Cam looks way better than Ziggy. Is he changing the whole complexion of the D? All of a sudden, back to back teams couldn't run on us. We're making tackles. And Timmons was all over the place making what seemed like every tackle in the game against Balt.
2. Kudos to Timmy. Seriously. He's gone beast mode these last 2 games and especially against Balt with 17 tackles I think I heard.
3. Troy might be the most talented player in the history of the game. The thing I really noticed about him on Sunday is after a mistake, he goes to another level. There was a series where he got a penalty in the 2nd/3rd Q (don't remember exactly) and after made 3 straight spectacular plays. I was in the endzone where the Ravens tied the game up and watched Troy leap the long snapper. That may have been the best play ever that didn't work out. But then on the next EP attempt, he was literally inches from blocking it. His desire to make up for the missed opportunity was almost better than his leap. Heinz field erupted like few times I've ever seen before when Troy made the leap. If I were DL, I'd really consider just telling TRoy to take a penalty now and then so he can go into Superman mode.
4. With all the well deserved praise going to Beachum and Whimper, I thought the real unsung hero on the line was Ramon Foster from my view. There were quite a few plays where he seemed to manhandle Ngata. I'm surprised I haven't really heard anyone talking about it.
5. Before Manny's return at the end of the game, he came on the field jacked up with a look in his eyes. Being 10 feet away from him before the kickoff, I knew what was coming. I told everyone around he was running it back. Everyone thought I was crazy. And they were going nuts/angry when he ran it out of the end zone. I'm not sure the Ravens even knew he was back there. We kinda just slipped him in there instead of Felix at the last minute. And I think the plan all along was to have him run it out of the endzone from anywhere if the ball wasnt kicked out of the back of the endzone. He never considered taking a knee. I think it was a designed play.
6. Haley's still very predictable. Not sure if I know what's coming because I watch every game, but I felt like if I know every time we're gonna pass or run, the Ravens have to know too. The only play I didn't expect was the shovel pass to Miller for a TD. And that scored for us. Makes me think we should try to be more unpredictable other times too.
7. Bell looked good, but so did the line. Not sure who deserves more credit. But Bell seems to be able to balance patience with hitting the hole decisively and quickly better than any RB we've had in a long time. And he's much quicker than I thought he was for a big guy. Nice job on the direct snaps.
8. Couple nice plays by Willie Gay saved our butts. He gets hammered unfairly by the fans. He's a really solid CB. Im staring to believe this D might be able to carry the team. We might only be an NT away from having one of our best D's ever. Looks like we figured out how to tackle again. I heard so many people in Pittsburgh complain about DL. Nothing could be further from the truth. His system is sound when players make plays.
9. Fantastic seeing Ben win on a game winning drive. I can't remember the last time that happened. That's exactly what this team needs. Eliminate turnovers, make tackles on D, and get Ben to pull it out in the end. Sanders stepping out of bounds on his return may have been a blessing in disguise.
10. The RZ efficiency is a joke. But a play here or there could change that. Moye this week and Brown last week. Even with the drop, I'd like to see more of Moye in the RZ. His one catch was brilliant and earned him another look imho.
11. Aside from the game, I met some nice Ravens fans this weekend. The couple sitting next to me were busting Flacco's balls more than me. Funny stuff. And I met a Steeler fan from Mexico at the game that was hella cool. Made the treck all the way from Guadelajaro. Awesome to see that kind of commitment and fandom even when we started the season 0-4. The crowd in general was more into the game than I expected with our record. It's like the majority still agree with Ryan Clark that we're going to the playoffs. And even with our hole, this team still looks like it has a puncher's chance.