The Ravens dominated the 1st and 4th Quarters, but laid an egg in between. If their redzone defense wasn’t as good as it was, Cleveland likely wins this game. They couldn’t reach the endzone, settling for 5 Dawson Field Goals. The longest of which came from 41 yards, and the other 4 were within 33. It was reminiscent of their bend but don’t break defense of the past. The offense looked like vintage Ravens of the past. They finally came out using Ray Rice as the feature back that he truly is. He came out of the gate running well, which opened up the whole offense. Joe Flacco didn’t miss a pass in the first quarter and the Ravens looked in line for a rout. The problem was they only got one first down after their first two drives all the way until the 4th quarter.
What is it about the Ravens that they will look completely unstoppable for one second then stagnant the very next drive? It is awfully frustrating. I haven’t seen the Ravens play well for 4 straight quarters in a very long time. They did enough to win this one though, and improve to 6-2. Cleveland is a better team than their record indicates. They always play the AFC North hard, and a division win is always a very good thing. They still had problems, but you cannot be upset about this game too much.
I’ll focus on the good in this post. Ray Rice played a pretty good game. He came just short of 100 yards on 25 carries. Not a great YPC, but he got the job done. Both he and Bernard Pierce scored a TD. Pierce had 7 carries, which reminded me a bit of McGahee and Williams in the last two years. Flacco had a game very similar of what he used to do. Nothing flashy, but effective. He didn’t do more than asked and he got the win. It won’t do every game, but it was good to see the offense get back to basics.
I’m actually pretty happy with the defense. They didn’t allow Weeden to beat them. I know that doesn’t sound all that impressive, but he has improved a lot in recent weeks. In this game he barely completed half of his passes and managed just 176 yards on 40 passes. He also threw two interceptions, with Cary Williams and Ed Reed picking off the rookie QB. Trent Richardson had his way inside the 20’s, with 105 yards on the ground. It seems as though 100 yard rushers are becoming a weekly occurrence. Not a good sign.
Baltimore has another winnable game coming up against the 3-5 Raiders. They could put themselves in a great chance to make the playoffs with a rough stretch to end the season. They will need to work on some thing still, but I still like this team a lot.