The Ravens took it to a team that was slightly more miserable than the weather. That said, you can only play the team that lines up on the other side of the ball and on one opening day in Baltimore, John Harbaugh’s squad stampeded the Bills from Buffalo, 47-3.
The game was so one-sided that a Bills’ fan said to me while exiting the stadium, “Our team should be forced to walk home in the rain. And I deserve a refund.” It was so bad that the Bills posted a halftime highlight Tweet containing exactly zero highlights.
— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) September 9, 2018
For the home town team, it was the perfect start to a season during a day that was anything but. All three receivers acquired during the offseason found their way into the end zone courtesy of Joe Flacco who spun the ball magnificently throughout his two plus quarters of work. The elements had virtually no effect on the Ravens signal caller who registered a passer rating of 121.7 on the day despite a handful of drops by his pass catchers, most notably Michael Crabtree. It was Flacco’s most productive outing since October 12, 2014 when he throttled Tampa’s secondary for 5 first-half TD passes.
On the other side of the ball defensive coordinator Wink Martindale’s unit stifled an inept Bills offense, particularly in the first half when the Bills could muster only 33 yards of offense on 23 plays. The Bills next first-half first down will be their first in 2018. Starting QB Nathan Peterman registered a passer rating of ZERO during the afternoon.
The dominant team effort allowed Harbaugh to rest many of his starters after intermission, a welcomed luxury given that their next game is a divisional battle in Cincinnati on Thursday night. And for that, the team can thank the star of the day, Joe Flacco.
We’ve talked for weeks about how comfortable Flacco looked in practice and during his limited number of snaps in preseason. Now he’s taken that level of comfort to the field when it counts. Outside of a pass to Willie Snead that sailed on him in the first quarter, Flacco delivered the ball accurately and with authority. He was fundamentally sound throughout the contest and he’s shown marked improvement with cadence, moving up in the pocket, stepping into his throws and with his ball handling skills which were on full display during the run-pass-option, quick slant to Snead for a 13-yard scoring strike.
Other than the weather, opening day couldn’t have gone any better for the Ravens. Now it’s time for a relatively rested football team to get a win in Cincinnati on Thursday to take the early lead in the AFC North. Surprisingly the Ravens open as 1 ½ point road favorites.
The weather promises to be much better with clear skies and temps of 76 degrees at kickoff.
But even it’s not, a rainy day at the office doesn’t faze Joe Flacco.