It’s official. After two weeks of the NFL season, we don’t know anything about the Baltimore Ravens. Coming off an emotional win against their rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers, in week one, the Ravens laid an egg and got smoked by a young team with an average veteran quarterback and rookie head coach. The final score, 26-13, doesn’t quite do the Titans embarrassment of the Ravens justice. If Tennessee’s kicker makes a 30-something yard field goal and the Ravens actually go for it on 4th and goal down 13 points with under five minutes in the fourth quarter, the score could swing another six points.
It’s tough to stomach, even this earlier. Here are my quick thoughts on the game.
- Hasselbeck>CJ2k – If you told me that the Titans beat the Ravens without me watching a second of the game I would have to assume that Chris Johnson put up record numbers against Baltimore’s defense. That wasn’t the case. Baltimore wasn’t ready for what Matt Hasselbeck and the Titans receivers had to offer to them and were trying to stop the pass all day long. The veteran threw for 358 yards and spread the ball to nine different receivers.
- Failure to adjust – Tip your cap to the Titans, who exploited the Ravens secondary and shut down Ray Rice and the Baltimore running game. Tennessee knew that Baltimore would stop Chris Johnson (he was held to 57 yards on the ground) and instead went to a quick passing offense led by veteran Matt Hasselbeck. It didn’t matter which of the Ravens bad cornerbacks were covering the Titans receivers, they all got torched. Take your pick Domonique Foxworth on Jared Cook, Cary Williams on Kenny Britt or Lardarius Webb on Nate Washington, they all were outmatched. Tennessee’s game plan was clear, but Baltimore never adjusted to it and they let a subpar team beat them handily.
- O-Line Woes – That awesome offensive line from week one didn’t show up to the Music City. Suddenly an the “in shape” Bryant McKinnie looked slow and fat, Michael Oher couldn’t remember any snap count and the healthy Matt Birk couldn’t stop the pass rush. I know Ben Grubbs was out, but after week one we were led to believe that these guys could stop anyone. Not the case today. I think Joe Flacco’s poor performance had more to do with the beating that his offensive line let him take than bad play. But who knows.
- Ray Lewis and the aging Ravens defense – Remember how after Baltimore wooped Pittsburgh we all questioned whether time had passed by the Steelers defense? Now after a veteran Matt Hasselbeck exposed the Ravens, you’ve got to analyze the Ravens in the same way. The team leader in tackles was Lardarius Webb, I guess he made his nine tackles after allowing Kenny Britt to make a long catch down the sideline. Ray Lewis was credited with six, but he failed to keep up with the quick patterns by the Titans receivers. I’m not sure why, but Brendon Ayanbadejo played a lot on defense. That’s never good.