For those who have been waiting all season for the Ravens to put together a complete victory against a good team, there you have it. With their 30-7 shellacking of the Kansas City Chiefs, this team didn’t shock anyone by winning. They shocked many, including myself, by not only succeeding (more or less) in every major part of their gameplan, but in getting stronger as the game went on. Though the offense seemed to sputter after their initial promising start (how often have we seen that one?), they got rolling later as the defense avoided another 4th quarter meltdown.
Joe Flacco’s critics, for one, will need to wait a week to light into him for his performance. Flacco wasn’t spectacular, but I wouldn’t call him a “game manager” either. He made precise throws to convert on third down, including a laser to Anquan Boldin that kept their opening drive alive. His check-downs to Ray Rice were on time and wise, and Rice did his part in eluding would-be tacklers. Ray Lewis has made numerous comparisons this week between this team and the Wild Card team that won the Super Bowl ten years ago, and I understand that as a motivational tool. But this team is very different than the one Trent Dilfer quarterbacked. This team has a playmaker at the position. No, Joe Flacco isn’t Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, or Tom Brady- but he is still one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL, and he showed it today.
The Kansas City Chiefs did win the AFC’s easiest division, and they feasted on poor competition- but they were a quality team with all the playmakers necessary to give the Ravens defense fits in the fourth quarter, as Baltimore fans have seen all season. Dexter McCluster, Dwayne Bowe, and most of all Jamaal Charles are all capable of breaking big plays, and Matt Cassel has been a magician at avoiding interceptions this season. I was convinced that this would be a very close Ravens victory along the same vein, with a moderate lead chipped away at until time expired.
But that’s not what happened this Sunday. Going on the road, Baltimore got stronger as the game went on, all the way to their bruising touchdown drive that saw Willis McGahee tear through the Kansas City line on 4th and 1 to put away the Chiefs for good. The defense left Cassel guessing all afternoon, unable to rely on a running game that wasn’t able to wear down the Ravens front seven. If the Chiefs were going to beat the Ravens, Cassel was going to have to make plays with his arm. With the Ravens controlling the football he had few opportunities to do so. Even when he did, his accuracy issues made it that much harder to get the ball to his receivers, who were physically outmatched by the Ravens secondary.
Baltimore was the more talented team, and that talent had helped pull this team through gaffes, opponent comebacks, and offensive sluggishness for stretches of this season. Today they played up to their talent and beyond, and showed the NFL why they were such a popular Super Bowl pick in the preseason. Ravens fans didn’t get a complete game out of their team all season, but seeing one in the postseason makes it well worth the wait.
Let's face it, even the most devote Kool Aid drinking fan was waiting for this team to live up to it's potential. You can say all you want that "you never doubted them", but deep down you know you were only fooling yourselves. Today was a nice first step in the playoffs. The team really did go into another gear in the second half, one that we only saw a few times this season. They'll need to play two halves like that second half going forward. Pittsburgh is battle tested, knows the Ravens, and will not be intimidated. The same goes for New England and New York. The AFC has shaped up the way most of us expected with the four strongest teams remaining. If the Ravens play the way they did in the second half of this game, we'll be buying our Super Bowl Champs hoods and tees.
It's going to be a battle, no doubt. But whoever wins, they'll have a hard time getting by New England (am I the only one who hates those 2 trolls, Wes Welker and Danny Woddhead?)…
I had Woodhead on my Fantasy team. Helped me make it to the championship. I can't stomach Belicheck and Pretty Boy Brady.
Oh Canada, I think you are starting to believe. The Ravens are going to rip Benny Boys head off, There is still room for one more band wagon Raven fan. On your other statement lets NOT sell sexy Rexy short. I think that the J-E-T-S can beat the Brady bunch. Can any body say Morrison the cat versus feet fetish Rexy in the AFC championship game. No excuses Ravens are the real deal and building Mo towards the Dance.
Do you speak English in Baltimore??? Not sure what all that was supposed to mean but unlike you, I do appreciate talent on other teams. That said, I do think it will be N.E. and Pittsburgh in the AFC final.
Sexy Rexy? You need glasses.
Talent notwithstanding, I have a difficult time setting aside my feelings for a serial rapist. Even though his stature as an athlete got him a free pass, we both know the guy is guilty as sin. I feel bad for the poor victims while this clown is being touted as a sports hero. I just hope the brotherhood in professional sports takes matters into their own hands and show him they don't like sex offenders. On the other statement I was teasing you, but come on, you don't think Rex is sexy. I am going Ravens and Jets in the Final.
I come on here expecting to hear why we should have beat them by more or crying about where it was all year. As I said all along, I wasn't worried, Ravens performed as expected – and win or lose next week, I expect the same (side note to MGW – I asked you if Hasselback would play this weekend and told you the Seahawks had a puncher's chance at Qwest Field if he played). Come on closet black 'n yellow fans, let's hear you now! I have a feeling that I have 6 double crabcake platters coming from 2488!
You seem to already be conceding defeat next week?!!?
RGB – I feel you have to give Lisa Lampanelli a fair chance at rolling phat with you at the Glen Burnie Moose Lodge Hoedown this Saturday night… Thats what you should be waiting for….
If your clueless ask MGW…
Willo:This serial rapist thing clouds the issue. The woman in Nevada is "off" (read the emails she sent to all her friends)…never had a one-night stand, Willo? On second thought, maybe not.
The case in Georgia? Read how the 3 "college girls" pursued Ben's party from bar to bar …should he have been there? No. Did he use poor judgement? Yes. Did he know she was 20? Up to the bar to ask for ID. It's a he said- she said scenario. Let it go.
Now, could we get back to football or would you rather discuss the merits of Ed Reed's criminal brother or Ray Lewis' checkered past?
Right on CSF! My fellow Raven fans sometimes lose their way and forget some of our own issues. Let me get down to brass tacks. Flacco is a solid QB but he needs to show he can beat Ben, Tom, or Peyton. He had a good start yesterday, this coming Saturday will show if he's ready to be the man or doesn't have what it takes yet. Game on!!
"To be the MAN, you gotta BEAT the MAN"
We do sometimes lose sight of the fact that it is a football game. That said, GO STEELERS GO!
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