Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ravens Report-Week 12 2010

Last week, the Ravens defeated the Panthers on the road, 37-13. This game was closer than the score shows, because of two late Ravens touchdowns. The game did get too close, but the Ravens eventually came away with the W. The Ravens scored just 30 seconds into the first quarter, when Flacco launched a 56-yarder to T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Billy Cundiff hit his first field goal of the game next, from 22 yards. The Panthers made it a one possession game soon after, when John Kasay hit a 45-yard field goal. But the Ravens closed out the half with 17-3 lead after a Ray Rice rushing touchdown. The teams exchanged field goals in the third quarter, Cundiff hitting from 33 yards and Kasay from 40. Then the Panthers tried to make this a ball game. Brian St. Pierre threw to David Gettis for an 88-yard touchdown to make the score 20-13. The Ravens responded though, when Billy Cundiff hit yet another field goal, a season-long 49-yarder. This is when the fun began for the Ravens defense. First, Ed Reed picked off St. Pierre and pitched to Dawan Landry who ran it in for a touchdown. On the very next play for Carolina, Ray Lewis stepped in front of the pass and ran it back for a TD to seal the win. The last two touchdowns were scored in just 11 seconds.
Player of the Game: Ravens QB Joe Flacco-24-33, 301 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown
Congratulations to these Ravens who reached career milestones last week in Carolina:
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh-600th career catch
WR Derrick Mason-900th career catch
S Ed Reed-50th career interception
QB Joe Flacco-Tied Vinny Testaverde for most touchdown passes in Ravens history (51)
LB Ray Lewis-30th career interception

This week's game will showcase two 7-3 teams looking to achieve elite status in the NFL, when the Ravens host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers have the youngest team in the NFL, and being 7-3 surprised everyone after a horrendous 3-13 finish last season. While their turnaround is commendable, they have yet to beat a team with a winning record, and all three of their losses have been to teams who have winning records. Rookie RB LeGarrette Blount has become the starter and has since rushed for 4 touchdowns and over 400 yards, so watch out for the matchup between Blount and Ray Lewis. Another Bucs rookie, WR Mike Williams, leads NFL rookies with 681 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns. But as explosive as their offense can be, their defense has been lacking, giving up close to 350 yards per game on average. Flacco will have to look out for the Tampa's corners though, as Ronde Barber and Aqib Talib lead a talented secondary. Ray Rice will look to have a field day, as he will be running against the 29th ranked Buccaneers rush defense. I think that the Ravens experience on both sides of the ball will trump the Buccaneers youth, and the Ravens will go to 8-3 with a 24-13 win.
Key Matchups for Buccaneers at Ravens
Ravens LB Ray Lewis vs. Buccaneers RB LeGarrette Blount Edge: Lewis
Ravens S Ed Reed vs. Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman Edge: Reed
Ravens LT Marshal Yanda vs. Buccaneers DT Gerald McCoy Edge: McCoy
Ravens WR Anquan Boldin vs. Buccaneers CB Aqib Talib Edge: Boldin

Injury Report
G Chris Chester-Illness-QST
TE Ed Dickson-Thigh-QST
DE Cory Redding-Arm-QST
S Tom Zbikowski-Foot-QST
S Ed Reed-Illness-PRB
DE Kyle Moore-Shoulder-OUT

AFC North Standings
Team W L GB
Ravens 7 3 --
Steelers 7 3 --
Browns 3 7 4
Bengals 2 9 5.5

That's it for this week's version of my Ravens Report, see ya next week and Go Ravens!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ravens Report-Week 11 2010

Last Thursday night, the Ravens lost a heart-breaker to the Atlanta Falcons, 26-21. The Ravens defense really showed its age this week, they just flat out looked tired, and the Ravens suffered a loss because of it. Their first half defense was especially poor. The Falcons opened the game up with a 28-yard pass from Matt Ryan to RB Jason Snelling. Matt Bryant then hit a 28-yard field goal to put the Falcons up by ten at the half. Down 10-0 at the half was lucky for the Ravens with the way they played, but they still needed to make an improvement to get back in it. Matt Bryant hit another field goal, this time from 51, to open up the second half. Then Flacco got the Ravens on the board, anchoring a nice drive and finishing it on a 5-yard touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin. The Falcons looked to try and seal the deal with a touchdown pass from Matt Ryan to Roddy White, but the Ravens weren't done yet. The comeback started with a touchdown pass from Flacco to Mason, making the score 20-14. After a defensive stop, the Ravens got the ball back, and Flacco found the end zone again, a 9-yard pass to Todd Heap with just a minute left on the clock to give the Ravens the lead. This put the Ravens destiny in its defense's hands, something that us as Ravens fans are often pretty comfortable about. The Falcons started their drive deep in their own territory. On third down, Ryan went long for Michael Jenkins, who tiptoed at the sideline for a first down catch. The play was challenged, but was ruled complete even though he only had fingertip control, something I don't think actually exists in the NFL. This was just the first controversial play on the drive. Just a few plays later, Ryan went deep again, a 33-yard touchdown to Roddy White. It wasn't called, but White had pushed down Ravens CB Josh Wilson, allowing White to score and win the game for the Falcons.
Player of the Game: Falcons QB Matt Ryan-32/50 316 passing yards, 3 passing touchdowns
Next week, the 6-3 Ravens travel to Carolina to face the 1-8 Carolina Panthers. The Panthers have had a disastrous year, losing two starting quarterbacks. This week, the Panthers will start Brian St. Pierre at quarterback, who just last week was a stay-at-home dad caring for his 18-month old child. St. Pierre's problems have quickly changed from calling his parents for help with the baby to calling audibles at the line for help against the Ravens defense. And being on one of the worst teams in the NFL against this defense won't help St. Pierre. As another sign of this horrible year, the Panthers running back Sunday will be Mike Goodson, who began the year as the third-string RB, but will start due to injuries to DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. LB Jon Beason leads the Panthers defense, who give up an average of 326.8 yards per game. Overall, this could be a tough day for the Panthers. I have the Ravens winning a not so close game, 31-13.

Key Matchups for Ravens at Panthers
Ravens CB Josh Wilson vs. Panthers WR Steve Smith Edge: Smith
Ravens LB Terrell Suggs vs. Panthers QB Brian St. Pierre Edge: Suggs
Ravens RB Ray Rice vs. Panthers LB Jon Beason Edge: Rice
Ravens WR Anquan Boldin vs. Panthers CB Chris Gamble Edge: Boldin

Injury Report
S Tom Zbikowski-Foot-OUT
G Chris Chester-Illness-QST
QB Jimmy Clausen-Concussion-OUT
S Marcus Hudson-Ankle-OUT
WR Brandon LaFell-Concussion-OUT
RB Jonathan Stewart-Concussion-OUT
RB Tyrell Sutton-Ankle-OUT
T Travelle Wharton-Toe-OUT
AFC North Standings
Team W L GB
Ravens 6 3 --
Steelers 6 3 --
Browns 3 6 3
Bengals 2 7 4

Well, that's it for this week's version of my Ravens Report, see you next week and go Ravens!!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ravens Report-Week 10 2010

Last week the Ravens defeated the Miami Dolphins 26-10. The Ravens scored on their first drive of the game, when Flacco completed a screen to Willis McGahee, who weaved his way through the Miami defense for a touchdown. The Dolphins responded though, when Ronnie Brown ran through the Ravens defense for a 12-yard touchdown. The score was 13-10 Ravens at the half after two Billy Cundiff field goals, and then a Dan Carpenter field goal to send it to the half. In the third quarter, Flacco threw his second touchdown of the game, finding Mason in the back of the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown. The Ravens capped the win off with two fourth quarter field goals from Cundiff. This was really a great team win, and it wasn't as close as the score shows.
Player of the Game: Ravens QB Joe Flacco-20/27 266 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns

The Ravens travel to Georgia this week for Thursday Night Football against the 6-2 Atlanta Falcons. This should be a tough game solely because of the short week. The Ravens held a practice the day after their win over the Dolphins. The lack of preparation will be present for both teams, so I don't think one necessarily has much of an advantage over the other. This game also showcases the two highest drafted QBs of the 2008 NFL Draft, #3 overall pick Matt Ryan and #18 overall pick Joe Flacco. This is the first matchup between the two quarterbacks whose history will have them compared for the rest of both their careers. Ryan has not had quite as successful a career as Flacco, Ryan has only been to the playoffs once, losing in his only game. But he has proven himself to be one of the best QBs at home. He has only lost once at home, including a thirteen consecutive home win streak he is currently on. Ryan has plenty of options on offense, including RB Michael Turner and WR Roddy White, who are both having great years. This is bound to be a terrific game between two teams who are near the top of their conferences. It would be a big win for both teams, and some people have called this a Super Bowl preview. I have the Ravens pulling it out on defense, 24-16.

Key Matchups for Ravens at Falcons
Ravens CB Fabian Washington vs. Falcons WR Roddy White Edge: White
Ravens DE Haloti Ngata vs. Falcons LT Sam Baker Edge: Ngata
Ravens WR Anquan Boldin vs. Falcons CB Dunta Robinson Edge: Boldin
Ravens RT Marshal Yanda vs. Falcons DE John Abraham Edge: Abraham

Injury Report
S Tom Zbikowski-Foot-OUT
TE Justin Peelle-Groin-OUT
LB Sean Weatherspoon-Knee-OUT

AFC North Standings
Team W L GB
Ravens 6 2 --
Steelers 6 2 --
Browns 3 5 3
Bengals 2 6 4

That's it for this week's version of my Ravens Report, see ya next week and go Ravens!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Ravens Report-Week 9 2010

In their last game, the Ravens barely defeated the Bills in overtime, 37-34. This game got way too close, as the win-less Bills really gave the Ravens a run for their money. The Ravens scored first when Billy Cundiff hit a 41-yard field goal. The Bills took got on the board next, when Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a 33-yard pass to veteran Lee Evans, and the score went to 10-3 after a Rian Lindell field goal. Fitzpatrick went long again, this time 33 yards to Steve Johnson to make it a two possession game. The Ravens responded though, when Flacco threw a 26-yarder to Todd Heap. But the lead didn't last very long, as Fitzpatrick found Evans again for a 20-yard touchdown. The Ravens made it 24-20 at the half after a 48-yard Cundiff field goal, and another Flacco-Heap hookup. The Ravens finally decided to show up in the third quarter, opening up with a flea flicker in which Flacco threw a 34-yard touchdown to Anquan Boldin. Willis McGahee made it a 10 point lead with a 2-yard run to finish up the third quarter. But the Bills were not done yet, as Evans caught his third touchdown of the game, this time a 17-yarder. Later in the fourth, Rian Lindell tied the game up with a 50-yard field goal, later sending the game into overtime. In overtime, the Bills forced a three and out and the Ravens punted away. The Bills were ready to drive down the field and complete the upset. But Ray Lewis had a different idea, after Fitzpatrick completed to Shawn Nelson, Lewis lifted Nelson into the air, then striped and recovered the ball, giving the Ravens possession. After a Bills penalty set the Ravens up for a field goal, Cundiff hit a 38-yarder to give the Ravens the win. As scary and sad this close win was, we have to give some credit to the Bills. They are now the only win-less team in the NFL, but they play their asses off. At this point, most win-less teams will just give up and die, but the Bills won't give up. They won't make the playoffs, but they are a great example of never give up.
Co-Players of the Game: K Billy Cundiff-3/3 on field goal attempts, game-winning field goal LB Ray Lewis-14 tackles, forced fumble and fumble recovery to set up game-winning field goal.
Next Sunday, the Ravens will host the 4-3 Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins are an undefeated 4-0 on the road this season. The Fins could be in trouble this week though, because the Ravens are one of the best home teams in the league. They are also coming off a well-rested bye week, and would like to prove a point following a way too close home win over the win-less Bills. After missing the first half of the season, new Ravens WR Donte Stallworth is expected to play Sunday. If the Ravens win this game, they will be 3-1 against the AFC East, providing some key tie-breakers if needed come the playoff stretch in just a few weeks. The Dolphins have some play-makers on offense, and may use the wildcat with RBs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. QB Chad Henne loves new WR Brandon Marshall, who the Ravens were close to acquiring this off-season. Marshall leads the team in receptions and receiving yards, but has only caught one touchdown. The Fins defense is shaky and has been off and on all year. If the Ravens can figure out and exploit the holes in that defense, Flacco and the Ravens offense has a chance of scoring a lot of points. In another close game, I have the Ravens winning, 24-19.

Key Matchups for Dolphins at Ravens
Ravens LB Terrell Suggs vs. Dolphins LT Jake Long Edge: Suggs
Ravens CB Fabian Washington vs. Dolphins WR Brandon Marshall Edge: Marshall
Ravens T Marshal Yanda vs. Dolphins LB Karlos Dansby Edge: Dansby
Ravens WR Anquan Boldin vs. Dolphins CB Jason Allen Edge: Boldin

Injury Report
S Tom Zbikowski-Foot-OUT
WR Donte Stallworth-Foot-PRB
TE Dennis Pitta-Head-PRB
S Yeremiah Bell-Toe-QST
RB Patrick Cobbs-Hamstring-QST
LB Channing Crowder-Thumb-PRB

AFC North Standings
Team W L GB
Ravens 5 2 --
Steelers 5 2 --
Browns 2 5 3
Bengals 2 5 3
Well, that's it for this week's version of my Ravens Report, see ya next week and Go Ravens!