It’s hard to imagine a more perfect outcome for the Baltimore Ravens in Tampa on Sunday as they leave the southwest Florida tropical conditions with a dominant 48-17 win.
At the midway point in the first quarter the outcome of this game was never in doubt. Lovie Smith and his highly dissectible Tampa 2 defense was no match for the razor sharp arm of Joe Flacco who sliced up the Bucs swiftly and often. Flacco was like the guy on Pier 60 in Clearwater carving up fresh grouper.
The Ravens defense was up to the task early before going into cruise control, probably to avoid injury and stave off the heat. Bucs’ QB Mike Glennon had nowhere to run to, nowhere to hide. If the front seven wasn’t immediately chasing and hitting Glennon up one side and down the other, the secondary covered well enough to buy the guys up front time to hunt down the lanky signal caller.
It was a convincing bounce back win for the Ravens as they now turn their collective attention towards another struggling NFC South team, the Atlanta Falcons.
From the outset of OTA’s Justin Forsett has been impressive and yesterday was no different. He had his first 100-yard game since his 2009 season in Seattle while churning up 111 yards on 14 carries. His average per carry on the season is now at a very impressive 6.4 yards per attempt. A little perspective? The Ravens averaged an NFL worst 3.1 ypc in 2013. Overall the balanced attack (35 rushes, 29 pass attempts) produced 169 yards by ground, averaging 4.8 yards per carry…Part of the credit has to go to the offensive line who played very well as a unit while staying true to their individual assignments. Props to rookies James Hurst and John Urschel who held down the left side in place of Eugene Monroe and Kelechi Osemele. As a unit they kept Flacco clean while allowing him plenty of time to set and deliver.
Torrey Smith woke up from a season long slumber with two touchdown catches while abusing the area around the right hash mark running slants and skinny posts…Steve Smith Sr.’s toughness can’t be understated as he contributed another 100+ yard effort while showing some veteran craftsmanship with his subtle push off during his 56-yard TD. Senior is now on pace for 93 catches, 1,528 yards and 11 TD’s…Kamar Aiken and Michael Campanaro joined in the fun each contributing a TD catch. Campanaro’s first ever official NFL grab went for a 19-yard score…The Ravens converted 7 of 13 third down attempts while limiting Tampa to 2 of 12 on third down.
CJ Mosley (8 tackles, 3 QB hits) and Daryl Smith (7 tackles, 1 sack) led the Ravens with tackles and both were effective on green dog blitzes…Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, Pernell McPhee, Haloti Ngata and Brandon Williams kept the heat on Glennon, all contributing to a season high 5 sacks and 15 QB hits. Sunday’s effort was arguably Williams best as a pro (5 tackles, ½ sack, 1 QB hit)…Nice job overall by the Ravens as a team to get off to an unbelievably fast start effectively negating the potential effects of the heat. Coordinators Gary Kubiak and Dean Pees both had attacking, well-conceived game plans that outclassed the unprepared Buccaneers. Kubiak’s design mitigated the potential of a breakdown on the Ravens offensive front-left and Pees unleashed is inner Chuck Pagano with a steady diet of green dog blitzes. Hopefully both will bring the same mindset to future game planning sessions.
Not much to complain about during Sunday’s performance but if we are going to be nit picky, let’s start with the season high 8 penalties for 70 yards, three of which handed Tampa a first down and one taking a first down off the board for the Ravens…The game was well in hand and it would have been nice to see more of the backups, particularly Tyrod Taylor. His exchange with Gino Gradkowski was sloppy and resulted in the Ravens only turnover.
The Tampa Buccaneers dreadful uniforms that were matched in ugliness only by the performance of the hometown team. Kudos to the real Tampa area fans who sat through the heat to watch that train wreck, although some should have been flagged for taunting when they mockingly cheered first downs when the Bucs fell behind 28-0.
THE MEGAN FOX
Is there any doubt? Joe Flacco was nearly flawless. Behind an offensive line that kept him clean and a game plan that was masterfully surgical, Flacco’s right arm was like the precise scalpel of a world-class doctor. He was accurate, decisive and on time while demonstrating slight of hand with his ball skills that might make illusionist Criss Angel envious. For the record Joe was 21 of 29 for 306 yards, 5 TD’s 0 INT’s and a career high passer rating of 146.0.
If the Ravens can maintain offensive balance, they will be a challenging opponent for anyone.
On to Matty Ice (up son!)…
Gifs courtesy of Gordon Dixon