Last week, the Ravens recovered from a tough loss by putting a 37-7 beating on the St. Louis Rams. The Ravens came out of the gates hot, as Joe Flacco connected with rookie Torrey Smith for a 74-yard touchdown, Smith first reception, and first touchdown of his young career. On the very next drive, Flacco found Smith again, this time from 41 yards. And then, on just Smith's third catch of the game, Flacco found Smith once more in the end zone, and the Ravens had a 21-0 at the end of the first quarter. In just 15 minutes' time, Torrey Smith established himself as a dangerous deep threat for the Ravens offense, and put himself in the NFL history books, as his first three career receptions all went for touchdowns. Billy Cundiff would add three field goals, and the Ravens held a comfortable 30-0 lead early in the third. The Rams finally got on the board when Brandon Gibson made a fantastic catch in the back of the end zone. Then, late in the fourth, a sack-fumble allowed Haloti Ngata to recover and then run for a touchdown to seal a Ravens win, the first touchdown of Ngata's career. The Ravens defense dominated in this game, sacking Sam Bradford 5 times, and forcing two turnovers. The Ravens offense also had a historic game, with a franchise high 553 total yards. In last week's report, I said the Ravens needed to come out strong, and establish an early lead that would last, virtually sucking the life out of the stadium, and that is exactly what they did. By scoring 21 quick points, the stadium was nearly empty in the second half, other than Ravens fans. Keeping this trend going is vital to a successful year.
Player of the Game: Ravens QB Joe Flacco- 27/48, 389 yards, 3 touchdowns
Last Week's Key to the Game: Last week, I said it would depend on which Ravens team took the field, and fortunately, the right one did.
Next Sunday night, the Ravens welcome many former coaches and players back to Baltimore for a prime-time matchup with the 2-1 New York Jets. Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan spent an entire decade coaching the Ravens defense, and will now have the chance to face his product. Other former Ravens players including Bart Scott and Derrick Mason make their return to the Charm City. The Jets offense is led by QB Mark Sanchez, who is just about as unpredictable as can be. Sanchez's main targets are Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress, who each have the talent to spread the field against an inconsistent Ravens secondary. But there is no doubt that for both of these teams, the defense is truly the backbone. The Jets secondary is among the best in the league, with Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, two of the league's top cornerbacks. It should be interesting to see how Joe Flacco responds to facing such an opponent. Since Flacco now has a new deep threat in Torrey Smith, this Jets secondary will have the tough task of defending against that deep game, and a short game that includes Ray Rice and Anquan Boldin. Also, the Jets run defense has not been as strong as expected, so Ray Rice could break out this week. Last week, the Jets lost a disappointing game to the Raiders, and with last year's Ravens win over the Jets, revenge should certainly be on their minds. With another close game between very similar teams, I have the Ravens pulling out a 17-13 win.
Key to the Game: For Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense, being able to have a balance in the pass game will be vital. Flacco needs to keep the Jets defense guessing by throwing short to targets such as Ray Rice and Ed Dickson, and long to targets such as Torrey Smith.
Key Matchups for Jets at Ravens
Ravens DE Haloti Ngata vs. Jets T D'Brickashaw Ferguson Edge: Ngata
Ravens CB Cary Williams vs. Jets WR Santonio Holmes Edge: Holmes
Ravens RB Ray Rice vs. Jets LB Bart Scott Edge: Rice
Ravens receiving corps vs. Jets secondary Edge: Jets secondary
WR Lee Evans-Ankle-OUT
S Haruki Nakamura-Knee-OUT
WR David Reed-Shoulder-OUT
CB Jimmy Smith-Ankle-OUT
LB Dannell Ellerbe-Thigh-DBT
CB Chris Carr-Thigh-QST
G Ben Grubbs-Toe-QST
WR Logan Payne-Wrist-OUT
OL Nick Mangold-Ankle-QST
That's it for this week's version of my Ravens Report, see you next week and Go Ravens!