WIth dozens of the Ravens 2000 Super Bowl team in attendance today, the Ravens narrowly defeated the Buffalo Bills 37-34 in overtime. I wonder if the 2000 D were to suit up today if they could hold Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bills to less than 34 points, I like to think so. Regardless of your thoughts on the game, Baltimore enters the Bye week at 5-2 with a slew of home games to come. Here are my Quick Hits on this week’s win.
- Secondary: Exposed – Despite facing the Jets, Bengals and Steelers, the first team to expose the Ravens secondary for a full four quarters was the Buffalo Bills. Ryan Fitzpatrick led the Bills downfield for four touchdowns and was 29 for 43 with 373 yards passing. Ed Reed was able to scoop up two interceptions, but did he cost Baltimore’s secondary a couple TDs along the way? The Bills were able to maintain a balanced rushing attack that kept Baltimore’s defensive line on their toes while spreading the ball around the field in the air. Buffalo rushed for 106 yards, but the passing attack is what gave them a 24-10 lead late in the first half.
- Flashy offense, bad game plan – Though I don’t think we’ll be hearing as much complaining this week about Cam Cameron’s play calling, mostly because this overtime game resulted in a win, I was not a fan of the Ravens approach on offense against the Bills. Buffalo entered M&T Bank Stadium, on a day in which the Ravens commemorated the 10 year anniversary of their Super Bowl championship, with the worst run defense in the league. But Baltimore started the game with three straight passes resulted in a three and out. Though Willis McGahee averaged 5.8 yards per carry, he was handed the ball just 11 times and Ray Rice (4.5 yard per carry) was given 16 attempts. It’s not that Joe Flacco and the receiving corps had a bad game, balls were under thrown and I still think the Ravens rely on pass interference calls for balls thrown downfield more than an actual catch, but the Ravens could have smacked the Bills in the mouth by running the ball down their throats and they chose not to. Sure, flea-flicker TDs are cool, but I’m fine with the 2000 style offense if it gets the job done. The Ravens did the same thing in overtime when they won the coin toss. Rather than using as much time as they needed and running the ball, they elected to pass and had to rely on their defense to stop Buffalo after failing to score.
- Forward progress? – Credit Ray Lewis for forcing a fumble on the Buffalo 29 yard line on Shawn Nelson, but in my mind Ray popped the ball out after two or three seconds of forward progress. You play until the whistle blows, but without a doubt, that non-call helped secure the Ravens victory.
- Cundiff continues to boot – The progress of Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff continues to go unnoticed, but I’d love to give number seven a little love in this week’s Quick Hits. Of his seven kick offs, all of them reached the end zone and four were kept for touchbacks. Billy also stuck 41 and 48 yard field goals and the game winner in overtime. Well done sir.
So perhaps the Ravens underestimated the Bills. Ryan Fitzpatrick had 7 touchdowns and just two interceptions going into this game. We all saw the tight game against the Patriots the Bills had in week 3. But Buffalo did an outstanding job exposing Baltimore’s biggest weakness, hopefully they’ll be able to patch it as it lays a perfect blueprint for the rest of the Ravens opponents this season.