Have you ever met one of those people who has an analogy for everything? Some people can come up with the Simpson’s reference for anything, and I can respect that. For me, it’s always been sports that built a framework for the passage of time.
This season I have been enjoying watching at least one classic Ravens contest each week with the focus being a previous game against the same opponent. The game I wanted to watch again before this one was the 10/10/04 game against the Redskins in Landover. That game, the Ravens trailed 10-0 at halftime due primarily to Kyle Boller’s 3 INTs in the 1st half.
At (Q3, 9:01), the Redskins lined up for a 3rd and 6 play. Ed Reed rushed up on the ORS as the left-handed Mark Brunell dropped back. Reed cruised by Betts (who was apparently protesting to regain his right not to be held in as a blocking back), jarred the ball loose from Brunell, pounced on it, and burst by Betts down the sideline for a TD. Just 3 defensive plays later, with the Redskins attempting to convert a 3rd and 1, Reed again burst around the ORS and took down Portis in the backfield for a 2-yard loss. The Redskins were forced to punt, Sams faked a reverse to Sanders and returned it 78 yards for a TD, and the Ravens shut the Skins down from there for a 17-10 win.
There were a lot of similarities between that game and Sunday’s, but most significantly, Reed again struck quickly and decisively with a pick to set up the Ravens first score and the FF/FR/TD combo on Portis. The game was decided after just 5:30.
On to the stats:
Overall: 60 plays, 254 yards, 4.2 YPPA
Best: Ngata 35/119, 3.4 YPPA
Worst: Douglas 23/126 5.5 YPPA
Vs. the Run: 21 carries, 62 yards, 3.0 YPC
Best: Douglas 12/24, 2.0 YPC
Worst: No one with 10+ runs against was over 3.0 YPC
Vs. the Pass: 39 pass plays, 192 net yards, 4.9 YPP
Best: Pryce 34/124, 3.6 YPP, Ivy 29/104, 3.6 YPP, Walker 9/25, 2.8 YPP
Worst: Douglas 5/68 13.6 YPP, Bannan 9/88, 9.8 YPP, Johnson 38/205, 5.4 YPP
By number of Pass Rushers:
3: 3/-1, -0.3 YPP, 1 Sack
4: 20/126, 6.3 YPP, 2 TO
5: 11/42, 3.8 YPP
6: 3/7, 2.3 YPP, 1 Sack
7: 2/18, 9.0 YPP
By number of Defensive Backs:
4: 24 plays, 126 yards, 5.3 YPPA, 1 TO
5: 26 plays, 85 yards, 3.3 YPPA, 2 TO
6: 7 plays, 31 yards, 4.4 YPPA, 1 Sack
7: 3 plays, 12 yards, 4.0, 1 Sack
· For the 13th time in 14 games, the Ravens held their opponent to 60 or fewer (real) offensive plays. Only versus the Eagles (64 plays) did the Ravens allow more. By comparison, the 2000 Ravens allowed more than 60 4 times, with a high of 91 in the season finale against the Jets. The defensive line is all very well rested, and the Ravens have young players at LB and in the secondary salivating for a chance to play just a few snaps. Ngata has played just 58 snaps the last 2 weeks, Pryce 74, Bannan 40, and Douglas 38 going into what should be a very physical struggle vs. the Steelers. Lewis sat out the last series of each game, and Rolle did not play the last quarter vs. Cincinnati.
· This was a game for the Ravens old guard on defense. Suggs’ pressure caused Reed’s first INT and was 1 of 2 PDs. He had 4 total tackles for gains of 0, 0, -5, and -13 yards. His 13-yard sack came on a 3-man pass rush. Lewis registered 13 tackles and hit Campbell 3 times, dropping him once for a 13-yard sack. On that play, Campbell fumbled, but was ruled down prematurely.
· Reed continues to amaze. I’m convinced that if he could still use his body as the weapon it was in 2004, he’d be the DPOY, and it still might happen despite his injury. You’ve read the superlatives and seen the highlights many times, so you don’t need me repeating them here. I would say this, along with the game 2 weeks ago were both among his 5 greatest career games. Other candidates include 9/14/03 (2 picks in support of Jamal’s 295-yard day), 9/26/04 (4 tackles, 3 PDs, 2 INTs for 90), 11/7/04 (5 tackles, 2 PD, 106-yard INT), and 11/14/04 (9 tackles plus the 78-yard “no, that’s Ed Reed” INT return spark a great comeback vs. the Jets).
· The Ravens 3 biggest defensive plays:
Reed’s FF/FR/TD—Reed overtly made no attempt to make the tackle despite being the first man to Portis. With Leonhard holding Portis’ shoulders, Reed worked on that ball for over 3 seconds before prying it loose.
Suggs’ hit causes Reed’s first Interception—Last week the Bengals were very fortunate to avoid an interception on the many deflected passes. This week, the first such tip was spectacularly gathered in by Reed.
6-way tie to the 5-yard penalties contributed by the very loud crowd.