This one wasn’t pretty at all. Baltimore rarely is blown out, this one was never close. They took an early 3-0 lead, but it was all down hill from there. Flacco took a safety on back to back sacks and Houston scored two quick TDs after that. Basically nobody played well in this one, so analyzing each players performance would prove pretty worthless. The only guy to play at a high level seemed to be Terrell Suggs who was in for only a handful of sacks. Just 6 months removed from major surgery on his Achilles, he notched his first sack and seemed to make plays every time he was on the field. Too bad his presence didn’t give the rest of the defense a boost we were all hoping for.
What this really comes down to is whether or not this was a fluke or a sign of things to come. Honestly, I am split on which one it truly was. On the one hand, Baltimore is a battered team with a ton of injuries that were piled on in yesterdays loss. The bye week truly could not come at a better time. Baltimore will go into the week off with a great 5-2 record, and a long laundry list of players ailing. The time off for Suggs, Ngata, Reed, Jimmy Smith, should be huge for their recovery. They need it badly because the defense has been miserable lately. Houston shredded them, Dallas did much of the same, and if the Chiefs had any passing game it would have been a familiar story. Even with Webb and Lewis in the lineup the defense was struggling.
So will a well rested defense come back strong against Cleveland, or are the problems deeper than the injuries? I do believe Baltimore has enough talent on the defense to be successful. Maybe not elite, but at least good enough to keep them in almost every game. The pass rush needs to get jump started, and obviously Suggs should help that. When he can play a full slate of snaps, we should see more of an impact. The bigger concern to me is at the cornerback position. Cary Williams was picked on again. Jimmy Smith should play better when fully healthy. They may need to go outside the organization to improve that, but I don’t know if that will be easy. CB is a valuable position with a lack of options available. Don’t look for a easy fix.
I’ll have more on the state of the Ravens future as the week goes on.