The Baltimore Ravens have been looking for a full team effort and on Sunday they got just that against the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints. Here are my thoughts on the Ravens 30-24 win over New Orleans.
- Statement game – As the weeks have gone by, criticism of the Ravens has increased as they have failed to put together a full effort over four quarters. The Ravens did give up 24 points to Drew Brees, but when it mattered most they put pressure on the Super Bowl MVP and Cory Redding even came up with a pick to seal the deal on 4th down. This was the Ravens best game of the season.
- The Ray Rice show – Ray Rice not only reached his second straight 1000 yard season, but proved to fans every where that the Ravens are a run first offense. He put the team on his back and refused to lose. Rice averaged nearly 5 yards per carry and took the ball 31 times, he also caught five passes and showed that the screen pass is still Baltimore’s most dangerous offensive play.
- Dickson reaches the end zone – Rookie tight end Ed Dickson scored his first career touchdown in the first quarter. Joe Flacco connected with dickson for a 34 yard TD pass on the Ravens second drive of the game.
- Solid defensive effort – After struggling last week against Matt Schaub and the Texans, the Ravens faced another difficult quarterback in Drew Brees. While Brees was able to throw for 267 yards and 3 TDs, the Ravens got to him when it counted. Terrell Suggs continues to dominate, he forced a fumble and recorded a sack as did Jarrett Johnson. Danelle Ellerbe returned from the John Harbaugh dog house for five tackles and a sack on Brees.
- More love for Koch and Cundiff – What more can I say, the Ravens most two most consistent players got it done again in the cold and wind. Cundiff converted three field goals from 33, 32 and 27 yards respectively, while Koch averaged 36.8 yards per punt and pinned the Saints within the 20 twice.
At 10-4, the Ravens could use this momentum moving forward into the playoffs. It certainly comes at the right time. Next stop, Cleveland.