Week Seven Observations
October 22, 2012 in Observations
The Baltimore Ravens suffered a crushing defeat to the Houston Texans yesterday, 43-13. This was the most lopsided loss under head coach John Harbaugh. They also gave up their most first half points in the Harbaugh era. Next week the Ravens have a bye week and will then play at Cleveland on November 4th.
Flacco had the lowest QBR ever recorded (it started in 2008) with a 0.3 yesterday. This is just pathetic. Flacco has said he is an elite QB, but elite QBs don't have the lowest QBR ever recorded. The next lowest on record are 0.7 and 0.8 from Mark Sanchez and 0.9 from Kyle Orton. Orton is currently a backup and Sanchez probably should be a backup, but that isn't the topic here. Flacco just didn't look comfortable at any point in the game. Part of the problem is the offensive line (see below) and part of it is Flacco. Every time there was pressure he would try and dump the ball off and was paying to much attention to the pass rush. When there was not pressure he had happy feet and was anxious and forced passes. Happy feet has seemed to be a big problem for Flacco this year. Statistically, Flacco went 21-of-43 with 147 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs and a passer rating of 45.4. He also had about 6 passes batted down at the line of scrimmage. This is absolutely unacceptable. Under no conditions should this be happening. One time in a game is understandable but 6 is unheard of. Two of these tipped passes ended up as INTs and 1 of them was returned for a TD by Jonathan Joseph. This pass was deflected by J.J. Watt who tipped two passes and I said Flacco need to look out for this. Over the bye week, Flacco just needs to clear his head and forget about what happened. If the Ravens want to win a Super Bowl, they need the elite Joe Flacco that throws for over 300 yards and at least 2 TDs.
How does your best offensive player get 14 touches? Rice had 5 catches for 12 yards and 9 rushes for 42 yards. If you are getting 4.7 yards per rush against one of the best defenses in the NFL, why are you passing? I know the Ravens were down early but they abandoned the run game before the deficit called for lots of passes. The blame goes strictly to offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. The passes to Rice weren't designed screens either, they were dump offs because Flacco was under pressure. You would think Cameron would figure out that the Ravens lose when Rice gets less than 20 touches. If the commentators show it as a stat, then Cameron has to know it.
I don't have enough to talk about each offensive lineman individually, so I am just putting them all together. A general observation about the line is on the Texans safety, there was a free blitzer. Everyone staying in to block had someone so I don't know if the blame goes to Flacco, LT Michael Oher, or someone else. Oher also completely whiffed on a cut block on J.J. Watt which led to a pass being batted down at the line. LG Bobbie Williams gave up back to back sacks when the ball was at the Texans 20 yard line. This led to an impossible 3rd down attempt and a long field goal. The drive could have end way different if Williams had blocked better. I don't have anything to say about C Matt Birk, so he did a good job this game. On the pick 6 that Flacco threw, I was very impressed by Marshal Yanda's hustle. He wasn't very close to the INT but gave chase all the way and got within a few yards of Joseph. Early in the game, it looked like RT Kelechi Osemele suffered a serious ankle/leg injury. However, he came back later in the game. He was visibly limping but he showed he his here to stay for the Ravens.
Doss only had 1 catch for 15 yards and a TD. However, this was his first career TD so I am just writing a little on it. The play was a quick screen and he had a few blocks and made it untouched to the end zone. I personally, think Doss has a bright future as Anquan Boldin's replacement and it is nice to see him out there making plays.
For the second week in a row, Jones was returning kickoffs, and for the second week in a row, he looked great while doing it. This week he averaged 32.7 yards per return on 6 returns and had a long of 47. The Texans also started kicking it away from him, by kicking high and into the corners. This is the ultimate sign of respect for a kick returner in the NFL. Jones also had 2 catches for 17 yards. One of these was a nice sideline catch.
One of the few bright spots for the Ravens was Tucker. He hit from 51 and 54 yards. By doing this, he set a Ravens record for most field goals from 50 plus yards in one season. Even more impressive was the fact that both of these kicks were right down the middle. Other than the game winner against the Patriots, all of his kicks have been like this. On 4 four kickoffs, Tucker had 3 touchbacks. The only negative was he hit the onside kick right at the Texans. This wasn't very important though as the game was already over.
Smith didn't play the way he needs to in order to replace Lardarius Webb. Smith only gave up 3 completions, but that isn't the only important stat for a CB. Early in the game, he was burned on a double move but Texans QB Matt Schaub overthrew the receiver. Later in the game, Smith was beaten on the same play by the same receiver and gave up a 34 yard gain. He definitely showed the that he is a physical CB, but still needs improvement. However, he did look to be hampered a little by his groin injury which made him questionable for te game.
Cary Williams gave up more completions, 6, and 1 TD, but he was also going against Texans star WR Andre Johnson for most of the game. On the TD he almost broke up the pass but he was late reacting to the route combination and allowed the receiver to get to open. Williams was also called for a holding penalty and had a sack. The Ravens didn't blitz CBs as much as they have done in other games. There are two reasons for this. One, they usually do it out of nickel formations, which they didn't run much of yesterday. Second, the CB that normally blitzes is Webb, and he is out for the year.
Ellerbe was very active in place of the injured Ray Lewis. He led the Ravens with 12 tackles and also had 1 pass deflection. On the first two drives of the game he had good coverage on Texans RB Arian Foster on 3rd and short to force 4th down. He also had good coverage on a 3rd and 7 where he gave up 6 yards. This forced a field goal when the ball was inside the 25. He also had good coverage on other plays but the Texans receivers made great catches. Throughout the game, the Texans were passing to their TEs and taking advantage of the Ravens LBs and safeties in coverage.
It didn't take long for the Texans to test Suggs as they ran at him on the first play of the game. It also didn't take long for him to make an impact as he had a sack on his 7th play on the field. On this play he faked out like he was dropping into coverage and then cut between the G and T. Suggs also batted down a swing pass inside the Ravens 25 yard line and was almost able to intercept the ball. Suggs even had good pass coverage when he dropped back as forced an incompletion with good coverage. The only bad thing he did was jump offsides, but it was declined as the Texans made a play down field. It was obvious that Suggs was a little overweight but that will come down with extra practices. Overall, it was an impressive return for Suggs as he played 44 snaps and had 1 sack, 4 tackles, 2 QB hits, and 1 batted ball.