September 28, 2012 in Uncategorized
The Ravens won 23-16 last night avoiding a loss to a scrappy Browns team who fought until the end. The Ravens will next play October 7th in Kansas City.
If the Ravens want to contend for a Super Bowl they will need to fix their special teams. They botched a snap on an extra point, missed a 47 yard field goal, and gave up a 40 yard punt return. This was a big problem for the Ravens last year and it still needs to be fixed. The snap on the extra point was a little off but holder Sam Koch should have caught it. This mess up could have had a big impact on the game if the Browns were able to score a touchdown at the end of the game. The Browns would have had to go for a two point conversion to tie it instead of an extra point. Rookie kicker Justin Tucker missed his first career field goal. This had to happen eventually and it is good to get it out-of-the-way. Thankfully it didn't impact the game too much. Lastly, on the punt return the coverage got out ran. Backup returner Travis Benjamin ran all the way across the field and picked up 40 yards. In an important game you can't have 3 big mistakes on special teams. Simply put, John Harbaugh was a special teams coach so he needs to fix this.
One stat that really stands out for Boldin this game was 8 of his 9 catches were in the 2nd half. The catches weren't easy either, Boldin made a few great catches on passes from Flacco. To go along with his 9 catches he had 131 yards on 12 targets. This was a clutch performance by Boldin. On the Ravens opening drive of the 2nd half he had 3 catches for 60 yards. This paved the way for a 1 yard touchdown run by Joe Flacco. Boldin won't be putting up great numbers this year, but he is still a key component for this offense.
Most of the time it isn't a good thing for an offensive lineman to make it into this list. Well, that trend continues as Oher had 1 false start, two holds, and missed a key block on a 3rd and 2 run. At one point FB Vonta Leach had to hold Oher back from the referees after he got upset over one of the holding calls. Coming into the game Oher had played good so hopefully this was just an off game.
While he had some good blocks, he looked really confused on a stunt in the 1st half. On this play he gave up a sack. Later in the game he was able to draw an offsides call as a defensive lineman jumped and Harewood moved to get the call. Since this was only his 4th NFL game Harewood looks good and has a lot of potential.
Another great performance by Smith on national television. Before we get into how Smith did last night, I would like to say I correctly predicted the Ravens first offensive play, a deep pass to Smith. Now we have that out of the way, Smith had 6 catches for 97 yards and 1 TD on 10 targets. In this game Smith showed how much he improved in the offseason. Last year he was strictly a deep threat and now he looks like a much more complete receiver. Deep routes are still his strength but he can now run outs, slants, curls, and crossing routes effectively.
Like the others Osemele gave up a sack. Also, I am pretty sure he had a false start. In the first 3 games of the season the offensive line gave up 5 sacks. Last night they gave up 4 to the Browns. This needs to improve if the Ravens want to win a Super Bowl.
Kruger played a great game except for one play which I will talk about in a minute. When he dropped in coverage he played well and made 2 great plays on passes resulting pass deflections. He also acquired his first sack of the season. The rest of his stat line reads 2 tackles. On the last play of the game he got pressure on the passer and forced a bad throw. The one play that I was talking about was a personal foul. There was an incompletion on 4th down with 2 seconds left in the game. It looked like the Ravens had won but after the play Kruger pushed Browns OT Joe Thomas and was called for a personal foul giving the Browns one last chance to win the game.
As usual, Ngata is having an excellent year. He had many great plays last night and his stat line doesn't give him enough credit. He was credited with 4 tackles with 1 of them for a loss. However, he was consistently getting pressure on the QB. On the play where Paul Kruger got his sack, Ngata pushed his blocker into QB Brandon Weeden before Kruger got there. On his tackle for a loss he put a great swim move on Pro-Bowl C Alex Mack and stopped the runner in the backfield right away for a loss. Most importantly, on the last play of the game he got pressure on Weeden along with Kruger. This forced a bad throw from Weeden allowing the Ravens to win.
This makes back to back good games for him. During the week it came out that Ellerbe is playing more because he is better in pass coverage than Jameel McClain. Ellerbe showed this last night by having at least 2 plays were he had flawless coverage. One special teams he had the hit that knocked out Browns returner Josh Cribbs. On the play he also forced a fumble.
Surprise! Williams is in here for a good reason this week. Based on my count he only gave up a few receptions. More importantly he had a 63 yard interception for a TD at the end of the 3rd quarter. This play turned the momentum of the game back to the Ravens and gave them a two possession lead in a close game with one quarter left.