When it came to predicting the outcome of this past Sunday’s game against the Browns, Mike Greenberg of the Mike and Mike Show on ESPN Radio hit the nail right on the head. He said if there was any way the Browns could score negative points against the Ravens, they would. Even though the Browns managed to put three points on the board, their offensive performance was about as inept as it gets. The Ravens dominated the game from start to finish and there was never a point in the game where the Browns had even a glimmer of hope. But it was business as usual for the Ravens as they trounced yet another league bottom-feeder.
I’m going to split this week’s award between two offensive players that thrashed the Browns through the air, Joe Flacco and Derrick Mason. Once again, Flacco proved he is no longer a game manager but a game breaker, finishing with 342 yards and a touchdown while completing 71.4 percent of his passes. The other half of the award goes to Flacco’s favorite target, Mason, who caught five passes for 118 yards and a score. His 72-yard touchdown grab in the 4th quarter put the Browns away for good, as if the previous three quarters hadn’t done that already. The Flacco-to-Mason connection has been lethal to defenses up to this point and will be tough for teams to stop in the future. Thank you for coming back, Derrick Mason.
The “Oh, S***” Moment
Hmmm, this is a head-scratcher. We’ll continue this one next week.
The “Man, I’m Glad That Happened” Moment
The only logical winner for this one was the moment when the Browns stepped on the field. It’s sad to say, but did anyone really think the Browns had a chance this week? These two teams were on opposite ends of the spectrum coming into this week’s matchup, and there was no reason not to believe that the game would be over as soon as it started. The Ravens were on a high after thumping the Chiefs and then traveling to San Diego and beating them at their own game. Not to mention, they were No. 1 in the power rankings for the first time in a long time, which had to give Ravens fans a little more ammo to throw at their Redskins and Steelers counterparts. The Browns, however, were reeling coming into Baltimore after an 0-2 start that featured Adrian Peterson running wild on them in Week 1 and then getting trumped by Denver in Week 2. This was a recipe for disaster from the very beginning and the 34-3 result was living proof.
“Let’s Work on That For Next Week…”
I’m not going to use this section to target an area the Ravens need to improve upon for next week based on last week’s performance because it’s hard to judge from the opponent they faced. Instead, I’m going to talk about what they need to do in order to beat Tom Brady and the Patriots in Foxborough this Sunday. It sounds much simpler than it actually is but the key to beating the Patriots is pressure, pressure and more pressure. If the Ravens follow the blueprint they used a couple years ago when the undefeated Patriots came into town, they should be just fine. There are a couple differences in both teams from the last time they met, however. The advantage the Ravens will have this time around is that they have a quarterback in Flacco that is playing with a boatload of confidence and a defense that is still one of the best at getting pressure on the quarterback. The Patriots still have Brady, but he is clearly struggling to find his rhythm after undergoing major knee surgery last year. They lost a lot of veterans on their defense as well, which is crucial considering the success they had while players like Richard Seymour, Tedy Bruschi and Rodney Harrison were there.
But, you are not going to beat Brady unless you pressure him, just ask Rex Ryan. He didn’t let up on Brady the entire game and the result was a frustrated and beaten team that didn’t know what hit them. The Ravens need to take a page out of their former defensive coordinator’s book and knock Brady around a little. And please don’t give him the ball with two minutes left because we all know how that story ends.