Last Sunday, the Ravens beat the host Chargers, 31-26. The Chargers got on the board quickly, as QB Phillip Rivers completed a screen to RB Darren Sproles, who ran 81 yards for a touchdown. But the Ravens answered when RB Willis McGahee ran 5 yards for a touchdown. Then, Chargers K Nate Kaeding hit a 29-yard field goal to give the Chargers a 10-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. Next, McGahee found the end zone again, this time 3 yards, to give the Ravens their first lead of the game. Kaeding then hit another field goal, this time from 22 yards, making it a one point Ravens lead. The Ravens answered again, as QB Joe Flacco found wide open WR Kelley Washington for a 27-yard touchdown. Kaeding would hit another field goal at the end of the half to make the score 21-16 Ravens. In the third quarter, Flacco found TE Todd Heap for a 9 yard touchdown. Then, Phillip Rivers hit WR Vincent Jackson for a 35-yard touchdown, to get the Chargers back in the game. To make it a two-point game, Kaeding hit his fourth field goal of the game, this time from 25 yards, to make it 28-26 Ravens. On the Ravens next drive, K Steve Hauschka hit what was eventually the game-winning field goal, from 33 yards. The Chargers needed a touchdown to win it. On a huge fourth and two, deep in Ravens territory, Darren Sproles got the hand-off, but Ravens LB Ray Lewis read the play, and tackled him behind the line to seal a Ravens win. The Ravens key point to success in this game was the fact that they shut the Chargers down in the red zone, as you can see by Nate Kaeding's field goal's, all from 20-yard range.
Player of the Game: Ravens LB Ray Lewis-10 tackles, 1 forced fumble, game-winning tackle
Next week, the Ravens take on the 0-2 Cleveland Browns at home. The Ravens defense needs to take advantage of a weak Browns offense, lead by inexperienced QB Brady Quinn. The Browns defense is also not impressive, and the Ravens offense, which seems to be improving week by week, will have to go at them strong. Through the first two weeks of the season, the Ravens offense leads the AFC in both yards per game and points per game. The Browns defense has given up the most points than any other team in the AFC. The Browns secondary usually does a good job of preventing the long ball, which means that Joe Flacco will have to thrown short often. TE Todd Heap should be a good target on Sunday. Last week, the Ravens did not do a good job on special teams of stopping KR Darren Sproles. This week, they face an even tougher KR, Joshua Cribbs. The Browns could get their only touchdown next week on special teams. In an absolute route, I have the Ravens improving to 3-0, with a 41-16 win.
Suggestion: The Ravens secondary has not been very successful this year, and that has to change. They need to play tighter, and ultimately, better.
Key Matchups for Ravens vs. Browns
Ravens C Matt Birk vs. Browns DT Shaun Rogers Edge: Rogers
Ravens RB Willis McGahee vs. Browns LB D'Qwell Jackson Edge: McGahee
Ravens WR Mark Clayton vs. Browns CB Brandon McDonald Edge: Clayton
Ravens DT Haloti Ngata vs. Browns LT Joe Thomas Edge: Ngata
Ravens CB Dominuque Foxworth vs. Browns WR Joshua Cribbs Edge: Cribbs
Ravens LB Terrell Suggs vs. Browns QB Brady Quinn Edge: Suggs
LB Jarret Johnson-Shoulder-QST
S Ed Reed-Neck-QST
TE L.J. Smith-Hamstring-QST
DT Justin Bannan-Knee-PRB
OT Jared Gaither-Illness-PRB
S Tom Zbikowski-Concussion-PRB
CB Fabian Washington-Illness-PRB
RB Jamal Lewis-Hamstring-DBT
OL Floyd Womack-Ankle-DBT
LB David Bowens-Knee-QST
K Phil Dawson-Calf-QST
DT Shaun Rogers-Foot-QST
RB James Davis-Shoulder-PRB
WR Mohamed Massaquoi-Shoulder-PRB
RB Cedric Peerman-Thigh-PRB
DL Ahtyba Rubin-Toe-PRB
P Dave Zastudil-Knee-PRB
OL Alex Mack-Knee-PRB
That's it for this week's version of my Ravens Report, see you next week.