Week Ten Observations
The Baltimore Ravens beat the Oakland Raiders 55-20 to improve to 7-2 on the season. They set a franchise record for most points scored in a game, the previous best was 48, and scored the most points by a team this season.
Flacco was on point all game long. He barely had any bad throws and went 21-of-33 for 341 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, 1 rush TD, 115.8 passer rating, and had a 91.6 QBR. Usually, Flacco is inconsistent with his deep throws, but yesterday he was on the money and I can only remember 1 deep pass that he overthrew. In all he had 5 passes over 20 yards. All of this happened in the first 3 quarters as backup Tyrod Taylor came in to replace Flacco. The Ravens will need Flacco to play like this again next week against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
While he only had 2 catches, Torrey Smith made a big impact on the game as both went for touchdowns. The first was for 47 yards and the second was 20 yards. This means Smith finished with 2 catches for 67 yards, and 2 TDs, on 6 targets. Both the touchdowns were great plays. On the first, Smith just ran right past the Raiders secondary and was wide open for the TD. The second was a little tougher as it was a jump ball in the endzone.
Yet again, Boldin was a first down machine getting 3 this game. Overall, Boldin had 4 catches for 38 yards on 7 targets. All throughout the season, when the Ravens are doing good, Boldin gets catches on 3rd down. This is one, easy way to tell whether the offense is playing well or not. The one play that impressed me the most this game was when Boldin took a screen 9 yards for a first down. While this doesn’t seem very impressive on the surface, it is when you look deeper. As soon as Boldin caught the pass, the CB was on him. Boldin was able to hold him off for 9 yards to be able to get the first. Boldin also had the funniest moment of the game. Raiders CB Joselio Hanson decided to talk smack to Boldin after he broke up a pass on 3rd down in the endzone which was intended for Boldin. Boldin then walked over to Hanson and pointed at the scoreboard.
This was another great game from Jones, who has emerged as a very good 3rd WR and kick returner. As a receiver, Jones had 2 catches for 54 yards on 3 targets. One of these catches was deep pass for 47 yards. On the following play, he ran an end-around for 6 yards. Even more impressive was his play on special teams. For the second time this season, Jones returned a kickoff for a TD, this time for 105 yards. On the return, he was untouched. The lead blocker, RB Anthony Allen, didn’t even have to block anyone! With this return, Jones became the first player in NFL history with 2 kickoff return TDs of 105 yards or more. What is even more impressive, is Jones did this in a span of 4 games.
Both of the Ravens TEs, Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson, played good games. Starting with Pitta, he led the Ravens with 5 catches for 67 yards. He also had 1 TD and caught every ball that was thrown his way. Three of his catches for for first downs and his touchdown was a nice grab. Dickson also caught every ball that was thrown his way. He had 2 catches for 59 yards including one for 40 yards. Both of these catches were for first downs and the 40 yard catch was on a 3rd and 11. The Ravens TEs played a great game combining for 7 catches, 126 yards, 1 TD, and 5 first downs.
All throughout the game, the offensive line allowed little pressure giving up 0 sacks. They weren’t able to make big holes for RB Ray Rice most of the time but they did on his touchdown where LT Michael Oher, LG Jah Reid, C Matt Birk, and RG Marshal Yanda all had good blocks letting Rice go untouched into the endzone. Oher also was able to draw an offsides call when he moved after a Raider jumped. Jah Reid came in for Bobbie Williams early in the game, but Williams said he could have stayed in. Reid was called for illegal use of hands to the the face but overall he did a good job. Right tackle Kelechi Osemele had a hold that took away a nice 12 yard run by Bernard Pierce.
Due to the Raiders not having an effective ground game, Pollard was tested in pass coverage and he played great. He did give up many catches but that was because they were short passes that he couldn’t get to in time from his safety spot. I am not sure if Pollard missed a tackle at all yesterday. As soon as he got to the ball carrier, the ball carrier wasn’t going anywhere. He led the Ravens with 11 tackles and also had 1 sack. Lastly, he showed great closing speed on a few plays, stopping the receiver just short of the first down.
I just wanted to put a quick note in about this. Starting CB Jimmy Smith didn’t play at all yesterday because he couldn’t get loose before the game or after halftime. This pushed Graham into the starting spot. He would then move into the slot and Chykie Brown would go to the outside in nickel packages. Both did decent, having some good moments, and also showing why they were 4th and 5th on the depth chart when the season started.
Just like Smith, starting DE Haloti Ngata didn’t play this week. However, Ngata said he could have played but has happy to rest his injuries. Rookie, 7th round pick, DeAngelo Tyson, out of Georgia, played in his spot and did a great job. While Tyson didn’t record any tackles, he still made an impact on the game. He batted down 2 passes at the line which is something the Ravens haven’t done much this year but had 6 against the Raiders. Lastly, late in the game, the Ravens sent two people to rush the passer and Tyson was able to knock down QB Carson Palmer just after he threw the ball.
All of the Ravens top 4 outside linebackers were impressive in the win against the Raiders. Star OLB Terrell Suggs, wasn’t able to get pressure on Palmer this week but he was still very disruptive in the pass game. He batted down 2 passes and almost had another 2. On the stat sheet he had 3 tackles. Another impressive play he made was when he singlehandedly stopped a play action pass with his pressure forcing Palmer to throw the ball away. Rookie, 2nd round pick, Courtney Upshaw had great contain as usual on the outside. He stopped an end-around to his side of the field for a loss of 4 yards. He also had 4 tackles and knocked down a pass at the line-of-scrimmage. Albert McClellan, who hasn’t played very much with the return of Suggs, made three good plays. Early in the game, he was a few inches away from blocking a punt. At the end of the first half, he blew up a draw that the Raiders ran to try and end the half. Lastly, he recovered a fumbled snap on a 4th and 3 at the end of the game and totaled 4 tackles. The most impressive performance was saved for last. Paul Kruger played the best game of his career. He had 6 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT, and 1 pass deflection. The first of his sacks came when Palmer fell down right after the snap so it doesn’t really count. The other sack does though. Kruger probably had the play of the game when he tipped a pass straight into the air and was able to catch it himself for the INT. These OLBs were a big reason why the Ravens were able to beat the Raiders yesterday.