After last weekend’s 22-17 loss to the
did a pretty good job of summing up the 2011
: "There's the hard way and there is the easy way and there is the way we do it.”
The Ravens did it their way on Sunday, taking a 17-point lead early in the fourth quarter then holding off a late
rally for a 31-24 victory. A win’s a win, though, and the Ravens really needed this one.
Here are my quick-hit thoughts after the Ravens improved to 7-3 with Thursday’s Harbaugh Bowl looming:
. It’s very difficult for players to get behind the other team’s secondary, but the rookie is doing it with such regularity, it has become pretty much ho-hum at this point. The second-round draft pick has established himself as one of the
’s most dangerous deep threats, and he’s rounding out his overall game. He almost scored a long touchdown on a slant play before he was yanked down by his dreads.
He had 255 in exactly twice as many passes in the loss to the Seahawks. See what a little balance does for the passing game? The Ravens ran the ball early in the game, and even though they didn’t bust a big run until the second half, it opened things up for Flacco and his wide receivers. By the time the game was over,
had 104 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. And both of Flacco’s touchdown throws came on play-action passes. Balance is the biggest key for this offense.
(Blogger's note: I previously published the third quarter stats here instead of the final numbers. I've since updated the numbers. My apologies.)
He had great poise in the pocket. He made plays with his feet. And he has enough smarts and anticipation to make up for unspectacular arm strength. This kid is going to give the Ravens trouble for the next several years.
4. Of course, it helped that the Ravens' pass rush couldn't get to Dalton until the final two plays of the game (when it mattered most).
The Ravens had just two sacks on Sunday and have tallied four the past three games. What happened to that pass rush that was wreaking havoc in the first month and a half of the season?
5. The Ravens did force three turnovers, though, and the offense cashed two of them in for touchdowns.
got his first interception since the season opener, but it’s not his fault quarterbacks have avoided him.
6. The special teams unit didn't turn the ball over, which is progress.
The next step: making positive plays.
7. One more special teams note:
This was the annual
appreciation game. He booted the laces off the ball against the Bengals, averaging 48.9 yards on eight punts. He is bound to make a
He got his first interception, which the rookie quickly followed up with his first career fumble. And he got burnt for a touchdown for the first time when
blew by Smith, who was left on an island, for a 49-yard score in the final quarter. Smith will benefit from those growing pains.
. They were stout against the run, but Dalton passed for 373 yards as the Bengals tried to play catch up. After the game, Ed Reed admitted there were communication issues without Lewis on the field calling the plays. With a short week, it’s hard to envision Lewis being healthy enough to play Thanksgiving night against the 9-1