Reality: Ravens are now 46-10 when scoring first, since John Harbaugh become Head Coach.
Perception: The Ravens came out very flat in Week 1 against the Bengals, but came out quickly against Pittsburgh in Week 2. The coaching staff obviously wanted to get off to another quick start against the Browns… so much so that they did something that I cannot recall them ever doing. The Ravens won the coin toss and decided to take the ball. I honestly cannot remember the last time that happened. They always defer to the second half. But it paid off, as the Ravens went down the field to score. That has been a recipe for a win for the Ravens… scoring first.
Reality: Joe Flacco is the quarterback of a 2-1 team, even as he is not playing his best football.
Perception: Flacco was 19-31 for 217 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. Stat wise it’s not awful, but it’s also not great. When you watch the game, you notice that the stats don’t tell the whole story. There have been far too many under-thrown and over-thrown passes in the first three weeks, and his receivers aren’t helping with a bad amount of dropped passes.
On the season, Flacco is only completing 61.5% of his passes for 728 yards with 4 TDs and 2 INTs. But he has made key plays when needed… like yesterday late in the 4th quarter to Steve Smith Sr.
Reality: Steve Smith Sr. leads the Ravens in receiving.
Perception: With 18 receptions for 290 yards, Smith has been everything Ravens fans wanted. He has taken over the important role that was missing when Anquan Boldin was traded away two seasons ago.
Smith is averaging 16.1 yards per catch… that’s 1.5 yards more than he averaged while with the Carolina Panthers. He also has at least 71 yards receiving in each game with the Ravens, something he didn’t do once with the Panthers last year.
He is bringing energy and fire to this offense, and is doing whatever he needs to to make plays. He is the reason the Ravens are 2-1 right now. Well, that, and an unexpectedly great running game.
Reality: The Ravens have used three running backs and have had each game at least 70 yards in a game this season.
Perception: All three running backs (Bernard Piece, Justin Forsett, and Lorenzo Taliaferro) are averaging more than 4 yards per carry… which is more than any Ravens running back last season.
I’m not sure anyone could have expected this with no Ray Rice, and an injury prone Pierce. But Forsett has 30 attempts for 189 yards (6.3 yards per carry), and Taliaferro has 18 attempts for 91 yards (5.1 yards per carry).
It doesn’t matter who carries the load, as long as the offensive line keeps opening the holes and the back keep running through them. Pierce will get his job back, if healthy, as he is bigger than Forsett and has more experience than Taliaferro, but there is no need to only use one of them. A 3-headed back system can work quite well.