Week One Observations

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens started off the regular season with a 44-13 win over a divisional rival in the Cincinnati Bengals.

Joe Flacco
We may as well start off with the obvious which is Flacco.  You could argue this was Flacco’s best games ever in his career.  He looked very comfortable in the Ravens new hurry up offense.  Overall, Flacco went 21-29 with 299 yards and 2 TDs.  He wasn’t just throwing to one or two people either.  In total Flacco completed passes to 7 different players.  This season is critical for the Ravens and Flacco and so far he looks ready for the challenge.

Ray Rice
The first thing you notice when you look at the box score for Rice is he only had 13 touches.  However, he had 93 yards on these touches and 2 TDs.  The Ravens didn’t really need Rice for the game and he didn’t play much late in the game.  This may be a sign of a shift in the offense and the fact the Ravens didn’t need Rice at his best on Monday night.  If this amount of touches continue over the coming weeks it will mean Rice will be fresher for the playoffs were you need a solid run game to win.

Dennis Pitta
Originally it looked like Pitta wouldn’t play because he broke his hand in the first preseason game.  Pitta recovered fast though and played well showing he really is Flacco’s favorite target and security blanket.  He led the Ravens in catches with 5 and yards with 73.  He also had a touchdown where Flacco just lobbed it up and Pitta came down with it.  Flacco was under pressure so he threw it up to his favorite target trusting he would come down with it.  The Ravens depth chart doesn’t show the trust Flacco and Pitta have in each other, as Pitta puts up starting TE stats and Ed Dickson puts up backups stats usually (for a team that plays 2 TEs a lot that is).

Deonte Thompson
Thompson did return kickoffs which means he should be able to bring one back for a TD at some point this season.  More importantly when he came in at WR late in the game he looked impressive.  He had 1 catch for 25 yards and another catch that would have been very impressive had he stayed in bounds.  The throw from Tyrod Taylor was to far outside making Thompson go out-of-bounds but he still made a great play on it.

Ray Lewis
Lewis had lost about 10 lbs over the offseason in order to keep up with the modern-day NFL.  Overall he looked impressive, leading the Ravens with 14 tackles and also had 1 sack.  Lewis showed he still has it and should be fine in the middle again for the Ravens in their quest for a Super Bowl title.

Ed Reed
When I hear Ed Reed’s name the first thing that I think of is interception returns.  On Monday night Reed became the all-time leader in interception return yards with 1,497 passing Rod Woodson.  He had 1 INT which, naturally, he returned for a TD.  On this play Reed broke the record.  Along with the interception Reed had 2 tackles and 2 pass deflections.

Courtney Upshaw
The Ravens top draft pick this year had limited playing time but made the most of it.  On one play he completely blew up a screen by himself. The Bengals tried doing a TE screen but Upshaw pushed the TE back about 5 yards before he shook him off and went after the QB.  On another play Upshaw received half a sack with Phernell McPhee where about half the Ravens rushing the QB made it through the line.  In total he had 4 tackles and 0.5 sacks.

Ma’ake Kemoeatu
After a year out of football Kemoeatu started for one of the best defenses in the league and made a few plays.  In order to play again he lost 80 lbs.  He had 1 tackle during the game but for a NT that is good as their main job is to take up blockers.

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