Sunday’s preseason-esque game proved to be the sleeper we all expected. Starters sat (well, not all…) and in the end, both teams left the field satisfied. Cincinnati went home as the 6th seed, and the Ravens solidified the 4th seed, looking ahead to face the Colts.
We did learn some things, however – some good, some bad. Let’s take a look at the “Top 5 Things We Learned from Sunday’s Game”:
5: Bernard Pierce is a crucial asset to the team: Pierce proved on Sunday that Ozzie struck gold in the draft, yet again. With his 89 yards on 22 carries, Pierce looked both explosive and powerful. His biggest highlight in the past two weeks however, was his enormous 78-yard near-TD scamper. While you never want to bench Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce is a mighty fine alternative.
4: Jimmy Smith was a B-U-S-T: Sunday proved that Jimmy Smith is absolutely miserable. Not only has he been jumped by both Chykie Brown and Corey Graham on the depth chart, but when he DOES get the chance to play, he gets beat, beat, beat. And when he doesn’t, you can always count on a PI call. The list of #1 draft picks has been impressive since 1996, but you can put down Jimmy Smith as one of the worst.
3: Talent waiting in the wings: Skeptics like Trey Wingo and Skip Bayless can say whatever they want, (skeptic is a kind word…) this Raven defense is anything but old. Young talent is coming out of the wazoo on D. Omar Brown is a ball-hawk and doesn’t know how NOT to make a big play. Josh Bynes is an undrafted baller; he could be a better alternative to Jameel McClain. Don’t forget about the lineman, either! Young bucks like DeAngelo Tyson, Bryan Hall, and Art Jones have showed flashes of excellence throughout the year.
2: John Harbaugh’s decision making is very sub-par: I really like John and I wouldn’t want anyone else, but let’s be honest—what does he think sometimes? Throughout the year, we have seen poor clock management, bad timeout calls, and of course, the prolonged firing of Cam Cameron. This week displayed how puzzling Harbaugh can be. Everyone and their brother knows how much Vonta Leach means to this team. In my opinion, he means just as much as Ray Lewis means to the defense. Why in the world was Leach inserted in the lineup? He ended up getting hurt, and now his Wild-Card status is in serious jeopardy. If Leach is unavailable against Indy, a key aspect of the game plan will be thrown away. (Ed note: John Harbaugh stated after the game that Leach should be fine for next week.)
1: Tyrod Taylor is NOT the answer: This one is obvious. I mean, come on. Do people actually think that Tyrod can lead a team? No. Taylor is quite the athlete but he is the worst fit for the Ravens offense. He can’t throw a football to save his life and he will never be able to duplicate a Joe Flacco-style offense. This offseason, we need to see a backup who won’t make us feel miserable.