Philadelphia turned the ball over four more times in this one, but it was two turnovers by Baltimore that the Eagles converted into 14 crucial points.
For the third straight season, the Ravens fall to 1-1 after attempting to follow up a strong team effort in their opener. After a good first half of football, the Ravens turned in a lackluster effort filled with questionable play-calling and lack of execution in a 24-23 loss to the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.
Joe Flacco played like an elite quarterback in the first quarter of this game but from the 2nd quarter on he was inconsistent and cold. The play-calling didn’t help as the receivers were being hawked for most of the 2nd half, Ray Rice went missing from the play-calling to help out. Above all, Flacco himself did not help the cause after his performance against the Bengals. Joe completed 22-of-42 for 232 yards, but most of those yards came in the 1st half.
The 21-yard touchdown throw to Jacoby Jones in the 2nd quarter was a thing of beauty, a high-lofting throw that Jones caught in stride. But then “Bad Joe” came out to play when he threw into triple coverage and was picked off by linebacker DeMeco Ryans, a throw he had no business making.
Some folks out there will say, “Hey Coach Harbaugh, not so fast with telling the front office to pay the man.” Whether it was Flacco’s lack of execution or baffling play-calls, neither helped the cause today.
Running Backs: C+
Ray Rice ran for 99 yards, including a 43-yard run, his longest run of the day. Rice also had a 37-yard catch-and-run that set-up a 48-yard field goal by Justin Tucker in the 3rd quarter.
As Joe Flacco struggled in the 2nd half, where was the usage of Rice? The play-calling reverted to some of the same things we saw in head scratching losses last season. You cannot solely rely on Flacco’s arm. Rice is too good of a talent to be a non-factor. Back to the drawing board.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: D
Credit the secondary of the Philadelphia Eagles in this one. They completely took the receivers out of the equation by simply being physical with them. Every chance at the line, the secondary jammed the receivers. Anquan Boldin had two catches for seven yards.
Dennis Pitta helped Flacco out at times as the safety valve and he really was the only option for Flacco throughout the game. Pitta finished with eight catches and 65 yards.
Jacoby Jones nearly had his 2nd touchdown of the game late in the 4th quarter, but an offensive pass interference call wiped that away. Not blaming the refs for the Ravens losing the game, but this was a bad call. Refs have to realize there will be contact like that and not everything should be called.
Offensive Line: D
This group was not very good. Had a lot of problems dealing with the speed and strength of the interior of the Eagles defense. Ramon Harewood struggled on the interior for the Ravens. Will Bryant McKinnie ever see the field again? Michael Oher struggled with guys like Trent Cole and Mychal Hendricks.
Defense Line: C-
They did a nice job of containing LeSean McCoy. He wants to run inside and bounce outside with his excellent cutting ability but the Ravens weren’t having it. I don’t know if there’s enough you can do to fully contain Michael Vick, but when you only rushing three guys and one of those guys isn’t Terrell Suggs, you better be able to get to the quarterback. Given the time, Vick was able to make plays downfield. That led to breakdowns in other areas in the game.
Courtney Upshaw got the start over the injured Paul Kruger and turned in a solid effort with six total tackles. Upshaw delivered a few blows to Vick as he was flushed out and helped to contain the edge. Nice job from the rookie.
Jameel McClain and Ray Lewis both had five tackles, they were solid for the most part in the interior. Albert McClellan also had a nice day recovering a fumble in the 2nd quarter.
Lardarius Webb had an outstanding game with six tackles, while also forcing LeSean McCoy to fumble. Good coverage on the receivers and helped out big time in run support. Cary Williams jawed a lot with receiver DeSean Jackson and was burned on a few occasions.
Hopefully the injury to Bernard Pollard isn’t serious. The secondary will be in trouble without him. He had another fantastic game, picking off Vick in the end zone and recording a sack in which he got hurt on that play. Without Pollard, that opened things up in the middle of the field for Eagle tight end Brent Celek who had a huge game.
Special Teams: A
The bright spot of the game. How many times can we actually say that and mean it? Justin Tucker proved his mettle and maybe a little testicular fortitude by nailing three field goals, two of which were from 50 yards plus, and one (his 56-yarder) that tied a Ravens franchise record set by Wade Richey in 2003.
Punter Sam Koch was his usual solid self. Deonte Thompson averaged nearly 34 yards on his kickoff returns, including a 49-yard scamper in the 1st quarter.
The 1st half game plan differed from the 2nd half game plan. Two totally different halves. Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron again got away from Ray Rice while Joe Flacco floundered. Confusing game-calling that should have everyone worried heading into next Sunday night’s matchup with New England.
Defensively, the Ravens played hard and they were physical with Mike Vick, just not enough to keep the Eagles out of it. The Ravens just didn’t have an answer for a lot of the things Philadelphia did. A pass rush without Terrell Suggs will continue to hurt this team.
This one was downright ugly and deflating. Joe Flacco did not look elite in that last drive to try to put the Ravens in a position to win. He lacked creativity and so did the play-calling. They’ll look to bounce back in front of a national audience next Sunday night.
Because the offense struggled mightily, the defense allowed a whopping 486 yards of total offense to the Eagles. Its never a good thing to have a defense that was on the field for nearly 35 minutes of this game. They come back to Baltimore 0-and-2 in their trips to the city of Brotherly Love.
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