FRAN THE FAN: See Ray Run!

Street Talk FRAN THE FAN: See Ray Run!

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See Ray Run

It’s now obvious to everyone that the Ravens absolutely own the Denver Broncos.  They owned them back when Brian Billick was out-coaching Mike Shanahan, and they continue to own them today with John Harbaugh’s Ravens taking Josh McDaniels’ Broncos to the woodshed for the second year in a row. 

I was worried that Kyle Orton would burn the Ravens’ defensive backfield but, except for the poor play of the safeties, they did just fine.  It wasn’t exactly a laugher, but it was a breather the fans certainly needed after 5 very tough games.  Denver never got closer than 10 points and at no point was the Ravens stranglehold on the game in serious danger.  The Ravens are in the collective heads of the Broncos – deep.  Can we play them every year?  

Let’s do some Studs and Duds.

STUDS

Ray Rice:  See Ray run.  See Ray eat up the clock.  See Ray score some long overdue TDs.  See fantasy football team owners around the country smiling.  I know we have some new toys on offense, but this is still our identity.  This is what we do best. 

Offensive Line:  This line is really starting to gel and, as long as they stay healthy, makes the return of Jared Gaither less of an imperative.  They protected Joe Flacco well and opened some great holes for Ray and Willis.

Cornerbacks:  Fabian Washington had his best game ever as a Raven.  Lardarius Webb is getting better and better and will soon challenge for a starting position.

Special Teams:  I think this is the best unit on the team.  Sam Koch is super solid on punts and Billy Cundiff is one of the unsung Raven heroes – but not for long.  I love watching him kick off to see how far he pounds the ball into the end zone.  Now if he could only be a little more consistent on his field goals….

DUDS

Safeties:  Watching Tom Zbikowski and Dawan Landry getting torched by Kyle Orton shows more than ever how much we need Ed Reed.  Come on, Sunday November 7.

Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron had another brain fart with that stupid fourth-down play call at the goal line.  Instead of a worst case scenario of turning the ball over to the Broncos on their 1 yard line, Joe Flacco was sacked for a 15 yard loss and Haloti Ngata limped off the field after his tight end impression was immediately smelled out and snuffed out.  If Ngata was seriously hurt, I guarantee you that John Harbaugh would not be explaining that play away so easily.

Best Hit:  Linebackers Edgar Jones and Jason Phillips delivered the hit of the game when they went high/low on Denver kick returner Demaryius Thomas, sent him into a cartwheel, and forced the rookie to fumble in the second quarter. 

Block of the Game:  Le’Ron McClain’s absolutely text book, kick-out block on Bronco’s linebacker D. J. Williams that sprung Willis McGahee for a 30 yard touchdown scamper.

Best Headline:  From Mark Kisla’s column in the Denver Post: “Broncos Pounded into Fetal Position.”  Yeah, that’s about right.

Around the Ravens and Around the League – a Fan’s Football Tweets

The Ravens Defense is ranked # 3 overall, # 2 against the pass (156 ypg, up from 119 ypg before the Broncos game) and # 10 against the run.

WBAL 1090 needs to review the content of their on-air ads.  On their pregame show Sunday I heard “This is Mark Clayton of the Baltimore Ravens and you’re listening to….” Speaking of the former Raven and all-around good guy, Clayton suffered a torn patella tendon in Sunday’s loss to the Lions and is out for the season.

How does a team gain 511 offensive yards, 406 in the air, have a 100 yard rusher, score 27 points, hold a 13 minute time-of-possession advantage, all in one game, and then lose?  Easy if you’re the Dallas Cowboys and you’re playing Wade-ball.  There will be all kinds of drama, from drama kings to drama queens, when the Cowboys travel to Minnesota this Sunday.  BTW – Wade Phillips is back heading up my endangered coaches list.

Even with NFL defending champion and division rival New Orleans Saints coming to town on Sunday, Pro Football Talk.com reports that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game has already been blacked out.  In fact, all the Bucs games are expected to be blackouts.  Incredible.  Given that 12,000 is a good crowd for the MLB and AL East champion Rays, it doesn’t say much for the fan support these teams get from the locals. 

Different City, Same Story:  Terrell Owens, otherwise known as “TO”, says that his $2 million dollar salary is like “playing for free” and that the Bengals coaching staff is not acting on his suggestions for improving the offense.  The “TO” blame game begins anew in the Queen City, which is nothing but good news for the Ravens.  Watching Cincinnati lose to Tampa Bay at home makes you wonder how the Ravens ever lost to the Bengals. 

This Sunday

We might have had a breather last Sunday, but there will be no kicking back in Foxborough this weekend, where the Ravens have never won in the regular season.  Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and the rest of the Patriots are still smarting from that smack down the Ravens put on them in last year’s playoffs.  I’m sure they’re pouring over film of our secondary play, particularly that of the safeties, and – they’ve had two weeks to prepare.  There’s a reason the Patriots are -3 picks.  But honestly, since Spygate and their near-perfect season, the Pats have been nothing more than an above average team.  Belicheat has mortgaged his defense for draft picks, so I expect the Ravens will have no problems moving the ball on Sunday.  We get a break since Randy Moss was moved to Minnesota, but with Brady holding an incredible QB rating of 129 on third down, will we be able to stop Wes Welker and the reacquired Deion Branch?   Ay, there’s the rub……

Here’s the plan: Watch Ray and Willis run.  Watch Le’Ron block.  Watch Ray and Willis eat up the clock.  Watch the three-headed monster keep the ball out of Brady’s hands. 

Ravens 23, Patriots 20.

 

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Fran "The Fan" Vojik

About Fran "The Fan" Vojik

Fran Vojik has been a contributor to the Ravens24X7 site since 2005, first as a regular on the “Letters to T.L.” page, then as the author of the Fran the Fan column. A huge Orioles and Ravens fan, he defines the term “homer.” A former season ticket holder of the Baltimore Colts, he now roots on the Ravens from his corner end zone seat in M&T Bank Stadium. His work makes him a regular traveler to various MLB and NFL cities and he’s watched both the Birds and Purple and Black in a variety of away stadiums. He brings a passionate and humorous perspective to the world of professional sports. Born in Highlandtown, and a graduate of Calvert Hall College and the University of Maryland, he lives on Furnace Creek in northern Anne Arundel County. He and his girlfriend, Sandy, have recently renovated his Man Cave, known as the “The Sports Palace,” which contains many mementos from the Colts, Ravens, and Orioles. On days the Ravens play at home, Fran can usually be found tailgating at the Baltimore Fire Fighters Union Hall Local 734 , supporting the organization’s Widow’s and Orphan’s fund.

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