By Samuel Njoku
After the Ravens’ impressive win over the Bengals, many wondered if the performance was simply an anomaly or a sign of things to come. Baltimore traveled to Philadelphia to battle the Eagles for a Week Two showdown. Many were expecting their questions about the team to be answered in this contest, but as the Eagles narrowly escaped Lincoln Financial Field with a 24-23 victory over Baltimore, pundits were left with more questions than answers.
The stat line may not show it, but Flacco played well given the circumstances. Flacco looked great in the first half, completing 14 of his 17 pass attempts. But he would falter in the second half, completing only eight of his 25 passes. The Eagles did a decent job of making second half adjustments, but they weren’t drastic enough to cause a dip in Joe’s production. Many things factored into the fifth year quarterback’s performance, but the bottom line is Joe didn’t get the job done.
The ugliest of plays occurred when Flacco threw a pass to tight end Dennis Pitta in triple coverage. The pass would be intercepted and would stall a drive that looked to be gaining steam. For the first time in a long time, Joe Flacco looked a tad bit rattled. And it showed.
The offense as a whole did not perform very well. And at least for the most part, the blame falls on Cam Cameron. The offensive coordinator followed up a brilliant first half with a horrendous second half. The “sugar huddle” that was so popular in Week One was almost non-existent in this ball game. But the glaring issue seemed to be Cam’s inability to grasp what was going on in the game. Everyone watching the game knew that the Eagles couldn’t stop Ray Rice except for Cam Cameron. Everyone knew the Ravens’ offensive line was struggling with the Eagles pass rush except for Cam Cameron. The Ravens were out coached in this game on both sides of the ball, but the offense had a great opportunity to take control of the game, and didn’t because of questionable play calling.
Play calling aside, the offensive line did not execute well in this game. The defensive front of the Eagles was simply too much for this makeshift unit. Too many times, Flacco would sit in the pocket only to have it collapsed seconds after the ball was snapped. It cost the Ravens on their first drive when Flacco would fumble the football in Eagles territory. The Ravens receivers were simply a no-show in this game. The receivers made one or two sightings throughout the game, but were shut down for the most part by the Eagles’ secondary. Dennis Pitta played so well, the Eagles were forced to triple cover him at times. Ray Rice played great, but was a no show in the second half until late in the fourth quarter due to poor play calling.
As mentioned earlier, the Ravens were out coached on both sides of the ball. That of course includes the defense. The Ravens were gashed by Vick and a corps of receivers that limped onto the field. Cary Williams was schooled all game by Desean Jackson. The Eagles did a good job of throwing away from Lardarius Webb and Ed Reed. The Ravens, however, were very opportunistic and made a slew of turnovers that kept this game close. Had the defense not been able to create turnovers, no one would be complaining about the refs in this game. That’s because the game would have been over long before the refs could screw it up.
The Ravens always seem to perform well after allowing a large sum of yards on the ground. This game was no different. LeSean McCoy was a non-factor in this one. Though he would run for 81 yards, 20 of those yards came on one play. The Ravens did a good job of containing him.
Baltimore was able to get after Vick for most of the game. There was a time where it seemed as if Vick wouldn’t make it through four quarters of football. Dean Pees did a great job of bringing pressure from all over the field. Pollard was extremely effective in bringing pressure, but was forced to leave the field after suffering a chest contusion. Suggs would have helped out a lot in this game, but the Ravens played well without him.
Justin Tucker looks like the real deal. He’s looking a lot like Matt Stover did when he played for Baltimore. He managed to stay very calm under pressure as he completed 3/3 field goal tries including a 56 yarder to give the Ravens a two-score lead heading into the half. Koch and the punting unit played well as Desean Jackson barely got anything going. Deonte Thompson should remain as the kick returner for the Ravens as he has big play potential. It appears as though Harbaugh finally has the special teams unit he’s been looking for after five years in Baltimore.
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Samuel Njoku was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Samuel has covered the Ravens for Examiner.com since 2010. Prior to 2010, Samuel was an avid blogger and radio personality in Salisbury, MD. He can be reached for comments at SamuelN870@gmail.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.