By Samuel Njoku
The Ravens were in desperate need of a win—talk of draft picks in late October is never a good sign. The good news for Baltimore is that they were able to pick up the win against a Chargers team with problems of their own.
Joe Flacco looked great on Sunday against San Diego, and with the way this team is set up, it looks to be the only way Baltimore will be able to pick up the win for the remainder of the season. Though his favorite target continues to be Steve Smith, Flacco was able to get multiple receivers involved in the offense. In fact, Flacco completed passes to nine different receivers. When your offense is able to get that type of production from your quarterback, it’s very difficult to lose football games.
The running game didn’t get the kind of traction you would expect when going against one of the worst run defenses in the NFL, but with 20 carries between Forsett and Allen, the Ravens offense was at least able to keep the Chargers’ defense honest. That, mixed in with Flacco’s excellent play-action ability, is a recipe for success.
The Ravens defense struggled to contain Philip Rivers. He was basically able to do whatever he wanted to a secondary that has struggled all season and finished 28 of 37 with 301 yards and three touchdowns. This type of production would usually spell doom for most teams, but Baltimore got the job done when it counted. Late in the fourth quarter, with the Chargers offense driving, the secondary held the unit to a field goal. That was the difference between winning and losing and should be something the Ravens build on moving forward.
Special Teams: A+
Whenever your kicker is 5-for-5 on field goals for the day, your special teams unit deserves a pat on the back. When one of those kicks just so happens to be a game-winner, you get to dance like Drake in the middle of M&T Bank Stadiums. Those are the rules, apparently. Kudos to kicker Justin Tucker and the rest of this unit for a job well done.
The game plan was solid. Dean Pees can only do so much with the defense, but questions continue to mount as to whether he’s the man for the job. Those concerns may not necessarily be fair, considering the talent he has to work with. The lack of emphasis on the run given the scouting report is a bit peculiar, but it’s hard to argue with results.
If you told anyone back in August that the Ravens would be 2-6 heading into the bye, many would laugh hysterically for several minutes. There’s no question that this team has under-performed. And with Steve Smith lost for the season, it’ll take everything Baltimore has to come back in a crowded AFC Conference. Expect the Ravens front office to have lengthy conversations this week about both the roster and the coaching staff moving forward.
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. Samuel Njoku is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.