What a sloppy, terrible game in Cincinnati. I can’t think of any other way to put it. The Ravens fall to 1-1 after a 15-10 loss to the Bengals. The Bengals swept Baltimore last season and have taken the last three from the Ravens. Here are my thoughts on the game.
- Not Wacco – You know I’ve got to begin by criticizing Baltimore’s QB Joe Flacco. Last week I said that I thought he looked rough despite putting up 248 yards against the Jets defense, this week I can let the stats do the talking. 17 for 39, 154 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions. That’s seven turnovers in the first two weeks. Flacco under threw his receivers, again, failed to read Cincinnati’s defensive schemes, forced throws to guys with multiple defenders and asked for the fans outcry for Marc Bulger. He appeared to only be looking for one receiver on several occasions, despite only being sacked one time. If the Ravens are going to contend Flacco has to step up his game. The first two weeks he’s shown that he’s got a lot of growing to do.
- Terrible game plan – The Ravens went into Cincinnati expecting to do the same thing Tom Brady did to them last week, except they don’t have Tom Brady. The media has been talking about Baltimore’s powerful new offense since adding T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Anquan Boldin and the Ravens planned on unveiling it against their division foe. They never established the run despite constant bursts from Ray Rice, their play calls were predictable and they continued to rely on a quarterback who clearly was failing to read his opponent’s defense all day.
- A couple bad calls – I am of the mind set that if you let the referees beat you it’s your own fault. I wouldn’t even go as far as saying that these two calls allowed Cinci to win, Ray did but I won’t, but nonetheless, they were two garbage calls. Ray Lewis’ tripping call in which Carson Palmer ran into Lewis’ leg after he was cut to the ground by a running back and Terrell Suggs roughing the passer in which the referee would have preferred Suggs to stop his tackle in mid-air and politely walk away from the Bengals QB are among some of the worst calls I’ve seen in the No Fun League this season. It’s clear the NFL wants to protect quarterbacks, but let’s use some common sense before pulling out that yellow handkerchief. The penalties resulted in six points for the Bengals.
- Hats off to the defense – Once again Baltimore found a way to mask their weakness in the secondary. It was good to see Lardarius Webb out there in the secondary, he broke up a couple passes to Chad Ochocinco. Overall I was impressed that the Ravens were able to keep Cinci out of the end zone and limit Palmer to just 167 yards passing. Benson failed to break 100 yards and Batman and Robin were limited to just seven receptions for slightly over 100 yards.
Next week should be a different story. The Browns are terrible and the Ravens always play them well. I wouldn’t expect to get a real read on how good the Ravens will be this season based on that game, but they’ve got their work cut out for them on offense for the rest of season… I feel like I’ve said that before.