Ravens Post Game Ponderings

Lardarius Webb with his first career NFL interception

This was a game that felt similar in many ways to the Denver game almost a month earlier. After halftime I felt that the Ravens had things under control and it was only a matter of time before Baltimore’s superior talent would take over.

I’ll admit I had my doubts after the Dolphins responded to the Ravens opening drive touchdown with one of their own. It featured Ronnie Brown running a lot and rarely getting touched through gaping holes in the line. The comedy of errors that was Baltimore’s possesion that started at the Miami Four Yard Line didn’t instill confidence but Baltimore had absolutely no trouble moving the ball all day today. In fact they didn’t Punt – not once. Not even when they lined up for it. Instead Sam Koch uncorked a fine spiral to a wide open Chad Williams for a 13 yard gain and a First Down.

That’s where we continue to see the progression of this team to an offensive club. I wasn’t worried because I knew we would be able to score. However let’s not forget that the Raven defense did adjust and pitched a shutout in the Second Half as well.

Who is the better Quarterback – Flacco or Henne?

Since both men were in the same draft class the comparisons are inevitable. It’s easy to see why the Delaware grad gets the nod in this first head to head matchup.

At this point Flacco has more starts under his belt and more weapons at his disposal. I thought Henne made some fine throws, one which was just over the head of Ray Lewis to an outstretched Brandon Marshall was very impressive. But he was forced into several mistakes and three interceptions. The Miami offense doesn’t need the gimmickry of the “Wildcat” anymore but they still have a way to go before they can term their offense as explosive.

Joe Flacco was very efficient today and it seemed as if the Dolphins worked to try and take the deep ball way from him. It’s hard to see on the television but the few deep throws he attempted  the Safety appeared to be in position to help. This left Ray Rice a willing target to make short tosses into long gains. It’s probably the first time this season where Rice looked like the 2009 version because the other team simply didn’t prepare to stop him. The next tackler always seemed five yards behind him and if you give him that kind of room he can make you miss.

Looking at Flacco’s stat line it’s hard to find many flaws at least in this game. He completed 74% of his passes, threw two touchdowns and notched his highest Quarterback Rating ever with 129.6. So score this round to Flacco but it will be interesting to see how Henne progress as well.

The next man up in the 2008 Draft class challenge is staring the Ravens and Flacco dead in the face in just four days. It will be interesting to see who wins that encounter.

Why did the Ravens have difficulty at times in the Red Zone?

The Ravens could have broken the game open early off of Lardarius Webb’s interception. Instead they scored six points on three drives that were marred with penalties, sacks, poor communications and even worse execution. I won’t even get into the play selection here. Cameron gets roasted enough and at times deserves it because I feel he simply outhinks himself but there were plenty of other factors at play.

I wasn’t worried much today but perhaps against a better team they would have paid for such mistakes.

Where are the reasons surrounding the Ravens inability to stop the run?

I’m really interested in getting to the bottom of this. The Ravens seem to get hurt in the same gaps on a consistent basis. Ronnie Brown’s runs on Miami’s first drive immediately flashed me back to Peyton Hills steamrolling his way into the hearts of Fantasy owners everywhere back in Week Three.

In fact if I’m a Dolphin fan I pretty upset with the play calling. Why did they go away from run when the game is 13-10 at Halftime? Ronnie Brown only got 9 carries?

But back to our issues. I think that it’s a combination of age and of the young players that were drafted to be a part of this defense being unable to contribute, which I guess is the same thing.

Terrence Cody has only played sparingly. Dannell Ellerbee was inactive, which has got to be a disciplinary measure. He’s the best inside linebacker of the trio that they’ve used yet his spot was taken by a returning Tavares Gooden. Sergio Kindle may never play a down.

The days of turning opposing offenses one dimensional is over for now until some issues on the roster with player personnel can be fixed which means expect Baltimore to be a middle of the road defense stopping the run.

Who was the Offensive Player of the Game?

Flacco was brilliant but Ray Rice looked like his old self, at least as old as a third year player can be. How Miami thought it was a good idea to let Rice in space I’ll never know. The Offensive line struggled at times in pass protection but I do think a few of the four sacks let up were coverage sacks. Flacco used six different receivers to lead the charge. As long as he continues to spread the wealth this will be a dangerous team for anyone to stop.

Who was the Defensive player of the game?

The secondary played much better with Webb grabbing an INT and Josh Wilson making the most of his chances. Fabian Washington did get beat long, he just couldn’t tackle but then again that has never been his strong suit. Ray Lewis led the way with 7 tackles but it seemed like less. I do think it was impressive to watch Haloti Ngata bull rush past the Guard and slam Henne to the ground though the penalty he received late in the game on another play was awful. It’s going to get to the point where you can even touch the Quarterback anymore.

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