The Ravens started the season 1-0, beating the Cincinnati Bengals 20-0 in Cincinnati. RSR staff react to the win here:
— The Ravens finally committed to the running game and it paid obvious dividends. Terrance West had solid numbers (19 carries for 80 yards with a touchdown) and converted several key first downs. The Ravens ran the ball 42 times and attempted 17 passes — that usually a recipe for success.
— Joe Flacco played an efficient game, with the exception of the one interception. The Ravens cannot beat themselves this season and Flacco was on board with that game plan today. More importantly, he shook off a hard sack from Carlos Dunlap in the third quarter and finished the game. Flacco did have a pair of delay-of-game penalties, so that will need to be cleaned up.
— The Bengals better fix that offensive line quickly or they’re in for a long season.
2008. That’s the last time the Ravens beat Cincy by 2+ touchdowns in North Kentucky. It wasn’t 34-3 (like that time), but it was still pretty nice. How great was it to see a Ravens defense finally once again make Dalton look like the bum he is? Five sacks, four interceptions, one fumble. This D could be something special.
Terrell Suggs seems to have found the fountain of youth. Jeremy Maclin showed great breakaway speed on his long touchdown run, and the Ravens now have three guys at the WR position capable of such plays.
It wouldn’t be the Ravens without injuries though, right? Huge bummer watching Danny Woodhead, who looked like the kind of dynamic receiving back the Ravens haven’t had since Ray Rice, go down with an injury. His mates though, West & Allen, looked impressive helping kill the clock against a team that knew the run was coming.
You can’t read into Week 1 too much, but this Ravens defense looks downright dominant. They overwhelmed A.J. Green and Andy Dalton and this game was never really in question. This opener was reminiscent of 2011 when the Ravens smothered the Steelers.
The injuries to Za’Darius Smith and Woodhead hurt but it’s hard not to be excited otherwise.
For in-game purposes, it could not have gone any better. The offense moved the ball well, and they ran the ball, and ran the ball, and ran the ball. We haven’t seen that in years.
The Defense, with 5 INTs and 5 sacks, looked remarkable. I thought the D would be a Top 5 D this year, but not sure anyone saw this coming.
The only issue was, what it was all preseason, injuries. Woodhead and Smith were going to be impact players this season and now could be lost for a long time. I am afraid that Smith is gone for the year, and Woodhead for half the year. But thankfully, at least today, their losses didn’t cost the team anything on the field.
Great shutout win (first since 2006) to start the season for the Ravens.
Can’t complain about a 20-0 shutout, right?
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy seeing 4 Dalton picks & a strip/sack! But the penalties accrued an alarming rate, coupled with injuries to Woodhead & Smith, are seriously concerning, as was Flacco’s total disregard for the play clock & John Harbaugh’s inexcusable timeouts in the 3rd quarter.
Yanno what? Let’s blame it on rust, hope for improvement, and bask in the glory of this Ravens defense that has potential to be something special.
I’m trying to think when was the last change to expected wins that was as much as was due from this game. Put me down for either the 2006 opener versus Tampa or the 2008 opener vs. Cincy at home. Each of those was approximately a 2.5-game shift from the results of a single game. Look at the indicators:
— Flacco was healthy and threw the ball hard despite some poor decisions
— The running game was effective getting decent YPC when they announced each run play in advance over the public address system
— The offensive line didn’t look good, but some of those penalties are correctable.
— The defense was everything we could reasonably have hoped.
— The injury to Za’Darius is sad, but it’s at the Ravens’ position of greatest depth.
— The Woodhead injury is the major negative outcome from this game.
7 wins before seemed about right. Now my O/U is 9.5.
— Dime personnel, yay!
— Commitment to the run game and a sense of purpose on offense
— The infusion of athleticism on defense led to a more opportunistic group
— Would like to see the running backs finish runs better
— Hopefully Flacco knocks off the rust and starts to process things a bit quicker.
Not a bad start for the Ravens considering their past lackluster games in Cincy.
The defense played lights out and carried the team throughout the afternoon. Terrell Suggs played with a spark and the secondary was solid in containing A.J. Green. This defense could be scary good barring injuries.
Flacco and the offense suffered a set back with Woodhead being injured early. The offensive line was decent in pass pro but still struggled run blocking. All in all a decent display in the opener.
A complete and total shutdown of a divisional rival to open the season? I’ll take that every year. Yes, the offense looked fairly rusty. Flacco was off-the-mark most of the day. Check-downs made up the lion’s share of the productive passing game.
But, the running game was solid, with both West and Buck Allen making big contributions. It looks like the team has made a serious commitment to making the ground game work for them, even when the defense knows it’s coming.
And speaking of defense, not much needs to be said. They were dominant today. A shutout in today’s NFL is becoming increasingly rarer and rarer. They deserve most of the credit for this game.
This may not have been fun for a non-Ravens fan to watch, but I had a blast. Keep it goin’ next week against the Brownies.
We’ll have more knee-jerk reactions as they roll in!