Hey Ravens Fans, Come Down From the Ledge!

Joe Flacco

The opening game of an NFL season holds hope and promise. As each team takes the field across the board every one without exception has Super Bowl aspirations.

Some are legit, others are mere fantasies.

When opening day arrives, all of the expectations crystalize on the field. To many that first game sets the stage for what the rest of the season will be like.

This morning, how many of you said, “It’s going to be a long season?”

Relax! It’s one game. The teams that performed well in week 1 aren’t as good as they appear and those who didn’t probably aren’t as bad as you think.

And then there’s the defending Super Bowl Champions, the Baltimore Ravens.

In hindsight, with the turnover in the roster and the injuries, it’s unrealistic to expect the Ravens to be firing on all or even most cylinders to start the new campaign. There’s no rhythm offensively and the defense had not yet had an opportunity to play together for a full four quarters.

Enter Peyton Manning.

That loss in the Divisional Playoff Game burned in Manning’s soul. After a devastating defeat players can’t wait to take the field again, to mend their ways and exorcise the demons.

Manning had to wait 214 days.

Here’s a man who prepares like no other. Here’s a man who in the twilight of his career is stronger in September than he is in December. His release is quicker; his passes a bit more accurate. The pitch count in that 37-year-old arm is not yet an issue.

Mix it all together and a defense worn down by the Broncos rapid-fire offense and the thin air was shredded.

Manning left no stone unturned. He wanted nothing to do with sitting on a lead. After all he was throwing the rock for a first down up by 22 points with less than 70 seconds to play.

It’s just one game. Perhaps Terrell Suggs said it best when he quipped, “All this game tells us is that we won’t go 16-0.”

Naturally there’s going to be a meltdown in Baltimore today, the home of the World Champions. Last night was the equivalent of having someone run into the side of your brand new car. But like that new car, the Ravens are fixable.

But you won’t hear much of that on sports talk radio today or on our message board.

“They should never have let Anquan Boldin go.”

“We are really going to miss Ray Lewis’ leadership.”

C’mon man!

Can either of them cover Wes Welker? Can either get a push up front to help the running game? Play safety?

“This one is on the NFL and the Orioles. The Ravens should have played at home.”

There’s a measure of truth to that but would the outcome have been that different? Almost certainly the game would have been closer but are you sure the Ravens would have emerged victoriously? Is a close loss at home better than a blowout on the road?

Probably not…

“We could have used Ed Reed last night.”

Now there’s some credence to that! The Ravens safeties had no clue. Maybe that’s why they are carrying an unprecedented five of them. And not that Ed Reed is the answer – he’s not. But after first blush the pairing of Michael Huff and James Ihedigbo couldn’t have had a worse debut.

The offensive line is a concern. There’s little depth and if Michael Oher misses any time, it could get worse before it gets better. They generate little to no push in the running game and that puts more pressure on the passing game, one that isn’t in synch because there’s not enough familiarity between the pitch and catch combos.

There’s not much trust.

But there’s plenty of time to get it right and the Ravens will. They are too talented. Last season they were annihilated in Houston during Week 7. Isn’t it better to take the woodshed beating in Week 1?

Week 2 serves up the Cleveland Browns and the early line lists the Ravens as 6 ½ point favorites. Week 3 the Texans visit, followed by road trips to Buffalo and Miami. When the Ravens return home on October 13 to host Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers sporting a 4-1 record, last night’s pasting will be a distant memory.

If and when the Ravens face the Broncos in the playoffs, this game will have little to no bearing on the outcome of the postseason contest. It certainly didn’t last year.

Come down from the ledge and keep in mind that the race to the finish is a long one. Horse races aren’t over at the 1/16th pole.

And neither are NFL seasons.

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About Tony Lombardi

Tony Lombardi
Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin...more

26 Raves on “Hey Ravens Fans, Come Down From the Ledge!

  1. Jonny B on said:

    I don’t think anyone realized that we were going to play the Bronco’s on the road regardless. It didn’t matter if it was week 1, 5, or 12. If we would have played at home we would have faced a a team from one of our home games and would have still had to fly to Denver at some point and face the music.

    I would much rather get this loss out of the way now; retool, refocus, and take it to the Browns next Sunday.

  2. Rob Fuse on said:

    Mellette and Juice need to be involved in the passing game. I’m really not sure about Dickson, Clark and Stokley right now. I am disgusted at their play. And to be honest, I think Stokley was used wrong. He should be used sparingly and kept fresh. At his age, he shouldn’t be trying toi outrun people for deep balls. I am not impressed with Michael Huff at all, I’d rather have Elam playing and I’d rather have Arthur Brown getting reps. If and when Arthur Jones and Brandon Williams come back, the defense should instantly get better. I hope changes are made because this team is much better than it looked last night and oh yeah Marlon Brown is a beast.

    • RestonRaven on said:

      Ravens only dressed four WRs. Once Jones went down they had no option but to play Smith, Brown & Stokely – especially when they fell behind big and had no choice but to throw on almost every play.

      • Rob Fuse on said:

        I know. I mean next time, they need to utilize all the weapons. And also, they should put Rice in the slot and have Pierce in the backfield at times. There ARE still guys on this team that can catch lol.

  3. RestonRaven on said:

    Agree. I thought this was one of the toughest games on the schedule. We were
    obligated to play Denver in Denver, and was glad Baltimore got it out of the way
    first game after the Orioles schedule snafu. It was the longest travel game of the
    season. I was actually not anticipating a win, but certainly not the butt-whipping.
    Nothing went right. The second half was probably one of the sloppiest I had seen
    over the last few years. I am also rethinking my opinion on Ed Dickson. I
    thought he had a great playoff last year and thought he turned a corner- but he
    looked very bad last night (Clark was not much better).

    Every team has a game like this. I remember when the Ravens blew out the
    Steelers opening day of the 2011 season. The next week they went out and laid an
    egg versus the Titans. Last year they routed the Bengals opening game and then looked bad at
    Philly. We have not lost an opening game in six years. It was bound to happen at some point.

    You are never as good or as bad as the first game of the season. We have seen
    that time and again in the NFL. I always think the 4th game quarter pole is the
    best first benchmark for understanding what kind of team you have. If the Ravens are 3-1 or even 2-2 I would be happy. In some respects, I think this punch
    in the mouth by the Broncos has wiped any of that lingering Super Bowl taste out
    of the Ravens mouths. Perhaps it sobers them up and lets everyone know the reality that all aspects of the game coaching, offense, special teams and defense have major room for improvement. All 4 of those had major mistakes that were exploited.
    This game will definitely take some of the luster off of the
    banner raising ceremony at M&T Stadium next week. However, I do anticipate
    that the Ravens will bounce back angry and strong at home against the Browns (at least I
    hope so) after getting embarrassed on national TV to open the NFL season.

  4. won hunglow on said:

    That was the most pathetic performance of an NFL team I have ever seen,
    and I say this as a Ravens fan. Look boys and girls, the Ravens won the
    super bowl and now its wind
    down time for a year or two. The
    players we have now are not going anyplace , and Harbs really isn’t that
    bright of a coach. He just benefited from having Ray Lewis and Ed Reed
    there to get
    players up for games. The Ravens will get somewhat
    better but they will still be kind of bad. Its like they will go from
    pathetic to mildly bad. They will be lucky to get eight wins this year,
    and you can take that to the bank!

    • RJ on said:

      Eight games….that sounds about right! Worst performance by a defending SB champion that I can ever remember!! But, hey, we got the seven million dollar head coach in charge, who does not even know when to throw the challenge flag!

    • Rob Fuse on said:

      Ugh, your logic is a bit skewed. The first half showed that they could match up against the Broncos. A lot of the fault lies on players not catching the ball. Clark and Dickson were letting down Joe all night and Stokley is 37 and forced to play like a young buck. This team has the players to get it done. Torrey, Marlon and Juice can catch the ball just fine. Bynes and Huff need to be replaced with A.Brown and Elam. Harbs isn’t that bright? First of all we just won a Super Bowl and second of all BRONCOS STADIUM DIDN’T SHOW A REPLAY. How can John challenge a play that he didn’t see? The Ravens are the most consistent team of the last decade. Stop whining and enjoy the fact that we have a real team.

    • Rob Fuse on said:

      Ugh, your logic is a bit skewed. The first half showed that they could match up against the Broncos. A lot of the fault lies on players not catching the ball. Clark and Dickson were letting down Joe all night and Stokley is 37 and forced to play like a young buck. This team has the players to get it done. Torrey, Marlon and Juice can catch the ball just fine. Bynes and Huff need to be replaced with A.Brown and Elam. Harbs isn’t that bright? First of all we just won a Super Bowl and second of all BRONCOS STADIUM DIDN’T SHOW A REPLAY. How can John challenge a play that he didn’t see? The Ravens are the most consistent team of the last decade. Stop whining and enjoy the fact that we have a real team.

    • Jimmy Dundalk on said:

      I agree , Harbaugh is way over-rated,,,,,it shows already he is not very good without his ‘on field’ coaches of Boldin , Lewis and Reed,,,,,,,this game showed how weak the coaching staff really is , it’s a good thing Harbs got his seven million up front because Biscuitti is known to have ‘gut feelings’……….

    • Mac in Va on said:

      lol…hang in there ravcolt. Hope you’re back at ground level now and realize the AFCN just went 0-4 and we’ve got the Brownies next week.

  5. Les Crue on said:

    Gotta pin some of that loss on the coaches last night. There were no second half adjustments, there was the challenge that Harbaugh never threw, the Ravens didn’t run the ball enough. Wanna keep Manning and co. off the field? Have an effective running game. That makes Flacco better. He’s not Peyton Manning. And what was Dean Pees thinking? Why did the defense react to every play action that Manning made? I’d rather have Knowshon Moreno beat me than Manning. Make them run the ball.

    • Sean Crump on said:

      Agreed! Our defensive line could handle their run game easily, idk why we committed so much protection against the run. No creative blitz schemes were used despite knowing that the key on defense is to rattle Peyton, not try and shut down his receivers.

  6. Hut Guy on said:

    Well, said, once again Tony. Last night was kind of what I expected and now it is history. The Ravens will get it right and the pasting by the Broncos will be forgotten just as last year’s pasting at M&T.

    • RJ on said:

      I am still burning at the fact that the fans of Bmore let the NFL use the city in its pregame kickoff – all fans should’ve boycotted that event, in effect, telling the NFL to F-off!! But, no, they played into the NFL’s hands, just like Bisciotti did by rolling over and saying ‘awww’ as the NFL stuck it to Bmore.

  7. Sean Crump on said:

    A butt whoopin in week1 by the top team in the AFC isn’t as bad as it seems, I guarantee it woke all of our players and coaches up, especially our bright eyed rookies. Better to get humbled in week 1 than in November when every win counts. We have the talent on our team, it’s just a matter of finding the best guys. I honestly feel our best players didn’t get to start.

  8. JerryB on said:

    One game doesn’t make a season, but it sure made a statement that this team was not ready for Prime Time! This could be a “wake up call”, but it will take some adjustments to personnel and strategy on both sides of the ball. Inconceivable that they intend to play a full season with this complement of TE’s, which may be the worst in the league! Furstenburg and the Harvard fullback both have good hands and could fill that void. Marlon Brown gets to start opposite Smith at wide receiver and, if need be, Osemele moves to RT and Jah Reid to LG, which worked reasonably well last year. And, before everybody trashes our secondary, they got NO HELP from a four man pass rush that gave Manning all the time he needed to find and hit open receivers! That’s a recipe for failure in the NFL, where rushing the passer has become more critical than ever! The good news is there are 10 days to prepare for Cleveland, but much has to change if they are going to get this train back on track……

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