Last Sunday, the Ravens suffered an embarrassing 17-14 loss to the Bengals. This moves the Ravens to 3-2 on the season. This was truly a sad game to watch. The Ravens were playing without any heart, and this loss will definitely come back to hurt them later this year. After a scoreless first quarter, Ravens S Ed Reed picked off Bengals QB Carson Palmer and returned it 52 yards for a touchdown. Before halftime, Bengals K Shayne Graham made a 32-yard field goal to make it 7-3. The Bengals then took the lead on a 28-yard touchdown run by RB Cedric Benson. But the Ravens responded, when QB Joe Flacco dumped off a pass to RB Ray Rice, who ran 48 yards for a touchdown. But in the last minute of the game, Carson Palmer found WR Andre Caldwell in the end zone for a game-clinching 20 yard touchdown pass. On the Bengals game-winning drive, the Ravens committed three stupid penalties, which moved the Bengals farther and farther down the field. These penalties ultimately cost the Ravens the game. Cedric Benson ran for 120 yards, the first time in 39 games that the Ravens defense allowed a 100-yard rusher. The Ravens rushed much more than they passed last week, and the rushing game didn't work. I think that the main reason for this was because they were missing T Jared Gaither, a great offensive lineman for pass rushing. Maybe the Ravens were scared that without Gaither, the Bengals defense would get to Joe Flacco easier.
Player of the Game: Bengals RB Cedric Benson-128 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown, 2 catches, 16 receiving yards.
Next week, the Ravens face a very tough team, the 5-0 Minnesota Vikings, in Minnesota. First-year Ravens C Matt Birk faces his former team. The Ravens have won two of the three meetings against the Vikings. Lead by veteran QB Brett Favre, the Vikings are off to a hot start. Favre is one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, but this is the first time he has started a season 5-0. The Vikings also have one of the best RBs in the NFL, Adrian Peterson. The Ravens need to stop Peterson in order to win this game. The Vikings pass rush, lead by DE Jared Allen, leads the NFL with 18 sacks. That means that the Ravens offensive line will have to step it up. That will be tough, because they will probably be without Jared Gaither.
Unfortunately, I have the Ravens falling to 3-3, with a 28-20 loss.
Suggestion: The Ravens secondary has been absolutely horrible this year. CBs Fabian Washington and Dominique Foxworth have been unable to cover WRs. If they keep this up, the Ravens will not be able to beat tough opponents.
Key Matchups for Ravens at Vikings
Ravens C Matt Birk vs. Vikings NT Pat Williams Edge: Birk
Ravens RT Michael Oher vs. Vikings RE Jared Allen Edge: Allen
Ravens WR Derrick Mason vs. Vikings CB Antoine Winfield Edge: Mason
Ravens LB Ray Lewis vs. Vikings QB Brett Favre Edge: Lewis
Ravens LB Terrell Suggs vs. Vikings RB Adrian Peterson Edge: Peterson
Ravens CB Dominique Foxworth vs. Vikings WR Bernard Berrian Edge: Berrian
T Jared Gaither-Neck-DBT
LB Jarret Johnson-Shoulder-PRB
TE Edgar Jones-Hamstring-PRB
DT Haloti Ngata-Back-PRB
WR David Tyree-Hamstring-PRB
WR Mark Clayton-Shoulder-PRB
WR Darius Reynald-Hamstring-DBT
WR Percy Harvin-Shoulder-QST
T Phil Loadholt-Ankle-QST
DE Rey Edwards-Hamstring-PRB
CB Cedric Griffin-Hand-PRB
G Steve Hutchinson-Back-PRB
FB Naufahu Tahi-Ankle-PRB
Ravens Info: This week, the Ravens signed WR David Tyree to a 2-year deal. Tyree is best known for an amazing catch in Super Bowl XLII that lead to a Giants win.
That's it for this week's version of my Ravens Report, see you next week.