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3rd & 10: Can We Talk About The Ravens?

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I was lucky enough to attend a Buffalo Bills game yesterday. In week 4 in the NFL you start to see a more concrete shape of how good or bad each team is. Buffalo was showing promise in their QB and run game but that they had a shit defense. The Ravens were obviously not the team that had won the Super bowl but they had just crushed in Week 3. An educated guess would put the Ravens in the win column- except the team that showed up in Orchard Park looked confused as to what game they were even playing.

What happened to the Ravens?

Joe Flacco, the highest paid QB in the league, is undoubtedly going to take some blame for this loss. He had a career high number of 5 interceptions. Yet, he still threw for 347 yards. That is what I want you to remember. He may have had better receivers in the boys in blue-but he can still put up big numbers. Speaking of receivers-this is partially why the Ravens lost. The Raven’s receiving core is dismal. Jacoby, Pitta and Stokley are hurt-Brown and Thompson also got hurt during the game. That left Flacco with Dickson, Doss and Clark. Dickson and Doss were outplayed by the Bills in terms of receiving (well done Alonso). Meanwhile, Clark struggled with coverage and rarely presented as an open target to Flacco.

Then there was the offensive line. Flacco was murdered by Bills D. I probably shouldn’t say murdered when speaking about football players. Sorry, let me rephrase that. Flacco was crushed by the Bills defense. He was sacked several times and hit the turf constantly. The offensive line was looking like the Giants O line. This caused Flacco to make many hurried decisions that became major mistakes. Not that he is completely absolved of these mistakes-but he clearly could not maintain composure while under pressure.

And then there was the run game. The Ravens were outpaced 203-24 on the ground. Wow. Buffalo has the second worst defense against the run. The Ravens only managed 24 yards. Of course the worst run block offense is the Ravens. This means that the opposing team’s defensive fronts can cover the ‘run’ (average of 2.6 yards) and the extra men can drop back and cover receivers. This means that the receivers are covered better and can’t present as open targets so NO ONE IS OPEN. Should I mention that the Bills were missing 3 of their defensive starters and the great Mario Williams (ha) left the game early? I pity the fool who started Ray Rice in Fantasy this week. Despite all of this the Ravens still threatened to win.

The Bills seemed surprised that they were winning and had begun circling the drain in the 4th the way that they sometimes do. If Flacco hadn’t been intercepted in his final pass they could have marched down for a FG attempt. Flacco will be taking one for the team for this loss. However, it must be remembered that the loss must be blamed on more than one player’s shoulders this week.