The Baltimore Ravens completely dominated the Oakland Raiders, setting their franchise record for most points scored in a game with 55. However, much like their record, the numbers don’t tell the whole story.
Most importantly, the Ravens came out of Sunday with a win, improving to 7-2 on the season. While the game was by all means a blowout, there were still some glaring issues that didn’t sit well with me, especially with a trip to Heinz field next on the schedule.
Despite playing in front of their home crowd, the defense still struggled, surrendering 422 yards of total offense, with 350 of them coming through the air. The lack of a pass rush is still the biggest cause of this, although the Ravens did come up with three sacks on the day.
The defense had trouble covering short passes, allowing a lot of yards after the catch and giving Carson Palmer easy conversions on third and short.
It may seem positive that the Ravens, who’ve had problems stopping the run all season, allowed only 72 yards on the ground. However, it’s actually a bit underwhelming as the Raiders, who already rank second to last in run offense, were without their top two running backs in Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson and still managed to keep up with their season average of 77 yards per game, while behind the entire game.
While on the topic of running, the Ravens offense was unable to get anything going on the ground. The Ravens did gain 78 yards on the ground, but it took them 28 attempts to get there, giving them a horrid average of 2.8 yards per carry. The offensive line wasn’t getting to the second level at times, and Ray Rice was not on the same page with FB Vonta Leach.
Ignoring these few negatives, the Ravens did play very well overall, but the inflated score and stats look to be more the products of poor play by a subpar Raiders team.
Carson Palmer tripping on a 4th and 1, a muffed punt, and a fumbled snap on fourth down are a couple things that won’t show up on the stat sheet, but they all were self-inflicting wounds that weren’t directly caused by the Ravens. Those three plays took away scoring opportunities for the Raiders, and gave them to the Ravens. The first two led to 10 points for the Ravens while the fumbled snap was the final nail in the coffin for the Raiders, causing head coach Dennis Allen to pull the starters.
Additionally, Oakland committed 10 penalties that totaled 105 yards, giving the Ravens excellent field position all game. One penalty, which ended up being declined, was incorrectly called offensive pass interference on Oakland tight end Brandon Myers, who ended up dropping an easy red zone touchdown on the play. It led to a field goal, but was just another mistake that ended up costing the Raiders in the end.
Unfortunately, those kinds of mistakes will not be made by a playoff-caliber team. The win is by all means a great one, but it really isn’t something to be extremely proud of.
While it may seem I’m being a Negative Nancy, I believe it’s more important to focus on a team’s negatives rather than positives as you usually learn more from them. After all, a team is only as strong as their weakest link.