RAVENS REPORT CARD: Broncos 49 Ravens 27

hedigbo

Well folks, if this were a report card being brought home to your parents, you’d probably be grounded for the rest of the school year.  I don’t really know what to say other than that was probably one of the more ugly performances I have personally witnessed in quite some time.  The worst part is now the rest of the AFC North can go into games against Baltimore knowing that they can be beat…and they can be beat badly.

NFL – F.

My first grade goes to the NFL because not only should the game have been in Baltimore to begin with, but also having a concert in the Inner Harbor just rubbed even more salt into the wound.  To make matters worse, lightning delays kept the game from starting for nearly another 40 minutes.

Hey NFL, guess where the skies were clear? BALTIMORE.

I’m not one to go off on conspiracies and make no mistake about it, the Ravens got whooped, but it really does seem like the NFL was going out of their way to stack the deck in the favor of their darling child Peyton Manning.

Coaching staff – F.

My second grade goes to the coaching staff of Baltimore.  As I understand it, John Harbaugh said they never got a chance to review the pivotal play where Wes Welker trapped a Manning pass on the turf.  The play came on a critical 3rd down and led to a Denver touchdown.

Talk about a momentum shifter!

I will give credit to Manning for having the wherewithal to get everyone back to the line of scrimmage where he could run another play before the incomplete pass was noticed by Harbaugh.  Touché Manning, touché.  If what Harbaugh says is true and they legitimately did not know that the pass was incomplete, then I can’t fault him too much.

However, I will completely lay this loss at the feet of Dean Pees, Jerry Rosburg and Jim Caldwell.

Hey Dean, 49 points? Seven passing touchdowns? REALLY?

I know Orlando Franklin and Ryan Clady are two of the better offensive linemen in the league, but where was the consistent pass rush?  The lack of a pass rush in the second half and the obvious miscommunication issues in the secondary allowed Peyton to just absolutely TORCH the defense.  It was evident to me that the defense gave up towards the end of the game.

Jerry, you need to teach Brynden Trawick to play with his head on a swivel.  Additionally, a blocked punt?  A blocked punt may be one of the more rare plays in the NFL.  Other than Justin Tucker, special teams was a hot mess.

Finally, Jim…Jim…Jim…what are you going to do man?  I can understand the fact that there were a dozen dropped passes out there on the field and you only had four receivers to work with (three after Jacoby Jones was a victim of friendly fire), but some of this is still on you.

The play that really grinds my gears the most though was on a crucial 3rd-and-short and you call a Ray Rice dive/ISO play right into the middle of their defense, which had been stuffing the run all day.  Furthermore, play action doesn’t work when the running game isn’t working!  Sit Joe Flacco in the gun and let him air it out when it gets to that point.

Offense: D+.

The offense, as bad as it was, wasn’t without hope because a lot of this stuff can be fixed.

Like I’ve been saying for weeks:  This offense will need time to gel.  27 points should be enough to win games if the defense is doing their jobs.  Unfortunately, the defense didn’t do their jobs.

It was nice to see Jacoby, Marlon Brown and Torrey Smith clicking with Flacco.  Other than Torrey and a few plays to Marlon during the pre-season, Flacco just never seemed to be on the same page as the rest of the receivers.  That was to be expected, but it was nice to see Marlon out there making plays against a pretty good Denver secondary.

That said, the running game needs to get better in a hurry because Flacco should not be throwing the ball 60 or more times in a game.  I think Michael Oher going down had a lot to do with that in the second half, but the holes weren’t there at all for Rice and Pierce even before he left.  After his departure, replacement rookie Ricky Wagner got beat like a drum by Shaun Phillips.

Dallas Clark and Ed Dickson accounted for something like eight or nine dropped passes by my count.  I’m willing to give Dickson a little bit of a break because this was his first game back in almost a month, but he had issues with dropping catchable passes last year and the year before.  That is part of the reason why Pitta supplanted him as the starting TE.  I know Dickson is athletic and he got hit a lot, but someone needs to remind him that he is 6’4” 255lbs and not 5’10” 185lbs.

Regarding Clark…where do I start?  He dropped passes that hit him IN THE HANDS, one that would have gone for a touchdown to put the Ravens up 21-14 at the half.  I’m really hoping that Clark can figure this out because he has never been known as a pass-dropper. At this rate, he’s quickly getting there.  From my understanding, he dropped something like a dozen passes last year with Tampa Bay.  This could be an issue.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Ozzie were looking at other TE options moving forward because not having one is going to absolutely kill the Ravens this year.

At least Torrey, Stokley and Marlon Brown were getting open though.  One thing that puzzled me was this: if the rotation of receivers was down to three and both Dickson and Clark were having issues with dropping passes, why wasn’t Kyle Juszczyk ever given a chance to go out there?  I mean, one of his biggest assets as a player is having good hands and decent speed for his size.

Defense: F- – -.

Defensively, I just can’t wrap my head around what happened out there.  They traded Anquan Boldin and then talked about how Boldin’s salary savings helped them land Marcus Spears, Chris Canty, Michael Huff and Elvis Dumervil.  Well, where the heck were those guys last night?

Huff got benched for Matt Elam midway through the game because he doesn’t understand how to cover a tight end on a seam pattern, and other than a few pressures, Dumervil was relatively silent.

Ngata and Canty both played well, Suggs had a good game, and all things considered I thought Josh Bynes and Daryl Smith played decently.  Daryl Smith did bite on a double-move by Julius Thomas for one of his TD receptions though.

Pernell McPhee and Courtney Upshaw also had decent moments.  All told, the Broncos weren’t really successful running the ball consistently the entire game. Montee Ball had the Broncos’ largest gain on the ground with a nine-yard scamper, but other than that the Ravens did a decent job holding Ronnie Hillman and Knowshon Moreno in check (both had long runs of seven yards).

The secondary, though, is where I’m just baffled.  Lardarius Webb played well and it was great to see him out there again.  James Ihedigbo was “so-so”.  Like Bernard Pollard before him, Ihedigbo was looking for the big hit. Sometimes it worked – like on Denver’s first play where he separated Thomas from the ball – and sometimes it didn’t, and resulted in missed tackles.

Elam got his first experience, but was overshadowed by how poorly Huff and Corey Graham played.

Speaking of which, what in the world happened to Graham?!  He was a playoff hero last year, but man he was just absolutely throttled by Peyton and his receivers.  They went after Graham hard with Welker, Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas.  Graham must have been having an off night because I was reminded of Frank Walker or Fabian Washington out there.  Sheesh!

I know most will disagree, but considering the criticism Jimmy Smith took during the preseason, I thought he held his own against Thomas and Decker.  Other than the bone-headed personal foul penalty and getting beat by Andre Caldwell (I’m still not sure if there was supposed to be safety help there), I thought Jimmy did decently.

The silver lining in last night’s putrid outing is that they were playing arguably the best team in the NFL in their stadium.  The NFL season is a marathon, not a sprint.  As fans, it is important that we all keep that in mind.  There are a lot of new faces and young players on this team trying to figure it all out.  I completely anticipate this team using this as a learning experience from which to grow and get better.

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About Paul Lukoskie

Paul Lukoskie
Paul (aka WickedSolo) has been an avid football fan since he was a little kid. As former player himself (through college only...turning pro and having million dollar contracts and fame just sounded too overwhelming...or he's just a 5'11" 200lb guy who was only good enough to play D-3 ball...but who's...more

19 Raves on “RAVENS REPORT CARD: Broncos 49 Ravens 27

  1. Ron in Owings Mills on said:

    John Harbaugh’s contract got extended before this game…he is now making elite head coaching money with bill belichik and sean payton…that means we can judge him to the highest standards possible…he had 2 years left on his previous deal… First of all I wanted his extension to happen after this season…Wanted to see how he coach for a season w/ all of da changeover… Needs to get better with clock management and challenges…needs to fire people not 3 years late…needs to not have a mutiny…needs to play his best players…needs to not let his ego get in the way…7 million is too much for me personally

    Yes, things were stacked against them…But having said that, that was an absolutely disgusting performance tonight!

    THANX HARBAUGH FOR NOT CHALLENGING A WES WELKER DROP THAT CLEARLY
    HIT DA GROUND…HARBS COST US THAT TOUCHDOWN (NBC DID SHOW THE REPLAY AND THE ARROGANCE TO NOT SAY HE MESSED UP AND BLAME IT ON NBC)…BUT THE FACT THAT HARBAUGH AND HIS GUYS UPSTAIRS WERE UNAWARE AND DIDNT CHALLENGE THAT PLAY UNTIL HIS PR GUY KEVIN BYRNE HAD TO TELL HIM AFTER THE GAME THAT MAKES IT EVEN WORSE (I DON’T CARE IF IT WASN’T SHOWN IN THE PRESS BOX TRUST YOUR PLAYER COREY GRAHAM)…JOHN DIDN’T HAVE THEM READY TO PLAY AND HE ALSO SHOULD NOT HAVE LADARIUS WEBB RETURN PUNTS EVEN IF HE’S TO JUST GONNA HAVE HIM CALL FAIR CATCH. THERE WAS 1 TIME WEBB TRIED TO BRING THE BALL OUT. WHY RISK IT JOHN???????????????

    TIGHT ENDS: CHARTED 8-10 DROPS: ED DICKSON STILL CAN’T CATCH AND DALLAS CLARK CAN’T RUN OR CATCH…DROPPED A POTENTIAL TD AT DA END OF DA 1ST HALF…DALLAS CLARK LOOKED LIKE HE WAS 75
    YEARS OLD!

    THE SECONDARY SHOULD BE EMBARRASSED BY WHAT THEY PUT ON FILM…JULIUS THOMAS ABUSED MICHAEL HUFF ….COREY GRAHAM AND JIMMY SMITH ALSO GOT ABUSED…MATT ELAM HAS TO START FROM HERE ON OUT MOVING FORWARD

    DUMB PERSONAL FOUL PENALTIES

    AS FAR AS THE 2 FLACCO PICKS, THE 1ST ONE WAS AN INCREDIBLE PLAY BY HARRIS AND THE SECOND ONE IS ON HIM

    COULDN’T RUN THE BALL AT ALL

    ALSO, JOE FLACCO AND RAY RICE SHOULD NOT BE IN THE GAME DOWN 22 POINTS WITH 2:47 LEFT.

  2. Jimmy Dundalk on said:

    I can understand the loss but I’m upset over four things that really bother me 1) this team quit in the 4th qtr ,, ,,2) Harbaugh can’t coach without his ‘on field’ coaches Boldin , Lewis and Reed,,,,, 3) the trade off of Boldin for a few defensive slugs was not worth it,,,,, 4) Ozzie way over valued the corners and his receiving corp , why is he keeping receivers who can’t catch , it’s their job damn it…………………….

  3. Chad Spiegel on said:

    it’s only week 1, and yes we did play one of the toughest teams in the NFL. The only issue I have is the fact that the NFL put the Ravens in this situation in the first place, most likely to stack the odds in Manning’s favor.

  4. John on said:

    @Paul – there is no silver lining. As soon as Harbs missed the challenge (which is RIDICULOUS – might I add), the team quit. They quit. Period. End of story. It makes me sick to admit it, but the facts are what they are.

    Count me among those who thinks that Ed Reed has already proven his value. They should have kept him in Purple & Black. The communication issues that plagued us go away, there’s a leader on defense, and at the very least, we aren’t blown out.

    • Paul Lukoskie on said:

      Of course there is a silver lining. From your perspective the Ravens might as well pack it in for the year and call it a wrap!

      The issues we all saw last night are things that can be fixed.

      • John on said:

        I never suggested they pack it in and call it a wrap. I just accused THEM of doing it.

        “The issues we all saw last night are things that can be fixed”.

        To a point, I completely agree. The secondary will learn to communicate better. We’ll find a pass rush. The offense did put up 27 – enough to win most games.

        But you can’t fix heart. And to succeed in the NFL, you need heart. We’ve always said Ray Lewis was the heart and sole of our team. I never truly believed it until last night.

        This team need to PROVE they have heart on their own. I hope John Harbaugh drills it into them. Heart folks – this is all about heart.

  5. Scot K. on said:

    As much as it’s taboo to ever question Ozzie Newsome, I will.
    I don’t care how they spin the Boldin trade it was a mistake and it was evident in game 1 that he was missed. Asking a guy who was a major reason you won a Super Bowl to take a pay cut is totally absurd….WR or not. And especially when Ray Lewis and Matt Burk were both retiring. I’m no capologist, but it sure seems like with some patience and better planning/communication the Bolding trade could have been avoided. I’m saying it now: letting Bolding go will go down as one of the worst moves in Ravens history.

    • Jimmy Dundalk on said:

      Agree…..you know it’s all about the defense with Ozzie , so much so it hurt the offense this year,,,,,,time for Ozzie to go…..

  6. Evan Garnes on said:

    As rare as blocked punts are, we would have had two in the same game if Ihedigbo hadn’t held one of the other players on one punt.

  7. Janeiro Shird on said:

    How can you blame the D? This makes NO SENSE! they payed GREAT the first half. Imagine playing in a hurry up in that altitude! They didnt get much of a break due to the Ravens offense going 3 and out!

    • Rumor Ray on said:

      Janeiro !!! You are 100% correct !!! Our D held up when they were able to catch a breath as our O was moving the chains. Once we lost Oher the O could not keep the ball and our D suffered from the late game and the altitude.

    • Paul Lukoskie on said:

      You’re certainly right that the constant offensive 3-and-outs really impacted the defense. However guys like Huff and Graham were getting lit up well before the 2nd half.

  8. bruce_almty on said:

    If Joe doesn’t “have chemistry” or “isn’t on the same page” with his receivers, it’s his responsibility to fix it in practice and work on it until they get it right—just like Manning & Welker did.

    • Paul Lukoskie on said:

      Manning has been in the league for 15 years or so. Welker has been in the league since 2004. Welker also had a very similar role as a slot receiver with the Patriots. I agree that Joe has to be the leader and fix it in practice, but you’re also talking about adjusting and gaining chemistry with a 7th rounder (Mellette) and two UDFAs (Marlon Brown and Deonte Thompson). I actually think that Joe has developed a nice rapport with Marlon Brown considering how they’ve only been playing together for a few months. That’s not easy to do at all. Prior to Jacoby getting hurt, it looked like he and Joe were clicking as well.

      I don’t think the issues with Dickson and Clark are related to chemistry. I just don’t think they’re very good. Clark can still get open, which is nice, but he needs to concentrate on catching the ball before making a big play.

      • Scot K. on said:

        I realize the cap hit for Boldin this year would have been close to $5 million…and I get that is a large number. But since their draft history w/ WR is horrible and Boldin had a great playoff run under the playcalling of Caldwell, and clearly had good chemistry w/ Flacco, it’s really hard to believe they couldn’t find a way to keep him over some of the other def. veterans they brought in. After his stunning performance against the Packers yesterday it’s clear Boldin still has what it takes.

  9. 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.

    • Paul Lukoskie on said:

      You’re right. Harbs’ decision to have Sam Koch hold the ball in the end zone and then run out the back in the Super Bowl was a really dumb decision. Clearly, he’s not too bright.

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