Last Sunday, the Ravens defeated the Kansas City Chiefs, 38-24, in the season opener. This was a career-best game for second-year Ravens QB Joe Flacco. Flacco threw for a career-high 307 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 43 attempts. RB Ray Rice ran for 107 yards, and RB Willis McGahee ran for 44 yards, a touchdown, and a receiving touchdown. The Ravens set a team-record with 501 total yards. The Ravens got on the board first with a 44-yard field goal by K Steve Hauschka. Later in the first quarter, the Ravens extended their lead to 10-0 on a three yard touchdown pass from Flacco to McGahee. But then the Chiefs brought the Ravens crowd to a silence when Chiefs LB Jon McGraw blocked a punt and recovered it in the end zone to make it 10-7. That score remained at halftime. But in the third quarter, the Chiefs took the lead on a 2 yard touchdown pass from QB Brodie Croyle to WR Dwayne Bowe. The lead didn't last long, as on the Ravens next drive, Flacco found TE Todd Heap for a 9-yard touchdown to make it 17-14 to end the third quarter. In the fourth, the Chiefs tied the game at 17 on a 53-yard field goal by rookie K Ryan Succop. The Ravens then took another lead, on a 1-yard touchdown from FB Le'Ron McClain. Next, the Chiefs showed that they were not giving up yet, tying the game up again, this time on a 10 yard pass from Croyle to TE Sean Ryan. But the Ravens were determined to win, and on their next drive, Flacco found WR Mark Clayton for a 31-yard touchdown, giving the Ravens a 31-24 lead with just over three minutes left. On the Chiefs next drive, they fumbled the ball, giving the Ravens great field position late in the game. Willis McGahee later scored to seal a Ravens victory. The Ravens suprised everybody on Sunday with the amount of passing they did. Last season, the Ravens run percentage was the highest in the NFL. But Sunday, they passed 42 times.
Player of the Game: Ravens QB Joe Flacco-26/43, 307 yards, 3 touchdowns
Next week, the Ravens travel to San Diego to face the Chargers. The Ravens new aerial attack could be in full effect against a average Chargers secondary. The Chargers are very tough at home, as they are 20-4 there since 2006. In the last meeting between these two teams, the Chargers blew past the Ravens in San Diego, 32-14, back in 2006. This Sunday, the Chargers will be lead offensively by QB Phillip Rivers. Rivers is 22-5 at home in the NFL and in his college days at NC State. Last season, Rivers was the best QB in the NFL stat-wise. The Chargers star RB, LaDainian Tomlinson, is out for Sunday's game with an ankle injury in last week's win over the Raiders. Tomlinson's replacement will be the versatile Darren Sproles. Last week, the Chargers defense allowed 148 rushing yards, and the Ravens piled up 198 last week on the grund, so both the pass and rush game could beat the Chargers defense up pretty badly. Mainly because of this, I have the Ravens winning, 24-20.
Suggestion: As I said earlier, the Ravens passed many more times than people thought they would and that they did last season. At one point in the game last week, Flacco, probably from fatigue, just looked very off, and was overthrowing a lot. Even though passing a lot meant more yards and more points, I think Flacco needs to be more gradually placed in the role of throwing 40 passes a game.
Key Matchups for Ravens at Chargers
Ravens OT Michael Oher vs. Chargers DE Luis Castillo Edge: Castillo
Ravens TE Todd Heap vs. Chargers LB Shawne Merriman Edge: Merriman
Ravens WR Derrick Mason vs. Chargers CB Antonio Cromartie Edge: Mason
Ravens LB Ray Lewis vs. Chargers RB Darren Sproles Edge: Lewis
Ravens CB Fabian Washington vs. Chargers WR Vincent Jackson Edge: Jackson
Ravens LB Terrell Suggs vs. Chargers TE Antonio Gates Edge: Suggs
S Tom Zbikowski-Concussion-DBT
TE L.J. Smith-Hamstring-QST
LB Tavares Gooden-Knee-PRB
LB Jarret Johnson-Shoulder-PRB
S Ed Reed-Concussion-PRB
LB Terrell Suggs-Concussion/Chest-PRB
C Nick Hardwick-Ankle-OUT
LB LaDainian Tomlinson-Ankle-OUT
DE Travis Johnson-Groin-OUT
LB Antwan Applewhite-Hamstring-QST
G Louis Vasquez-Knee-QST
DT Jamal Williams-Elbow-QST
T Marcus McNeill-Hand-PRB
P Mike Scifries-Groin-PRB
That's it for this week's version of my Ravens Report, see ya next week.