By Samuel Njoku
The Baltimore Ravens grabbed a much needed victory against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday 16-13. There wasn’t much reason to celebrate as both Joe Flacco and Justin Forsett are out for the season with injuries. The Ravens will need to build off this victory as well as lean on a few reserves if they want to continue to register wins the rest of the way.
Even before the injury, Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense struggled to muster anything. Flacco finished with 27 of 44 for 299 yards and a touchdown, but it was his two interceptions that crippled them during promising drives. Usually, Flacco throws poor passes when the coaching staff fails to establish the run game, but that wasn’t the case in this contest. Forsett ran for 26 yards on 4 carries before breaking his arm while Buck Allen carried the rest of the load with 67 yards on 22 rushing attempts. The rushing attack was a big reason why Baltimore was able to have some control over the game. With Flacco out, the Ravens will rely heavily on it the rest of the way.
When the opposing quarterback only throws for 136 yards the entire game, it’s a good day for the unit. Of course, their opponent was Case Keenum, but you take what you can get when you’re in the bottom of your conference. The more impressive feat was containing rookie sensation Todd Gurley to merely 66 yards and a touchdown. St. Louis did their best to get Gurley involved in the offense, but the Ravens defense did their best to take him out of the equation and the Rams were unable to respond.
Special Teams: D+
Justin Tucker has struggled kicking field goals over 50+ yards this season. Considering how close all of the Ravens games have been this season, the misses have been crucial. Sam Koch has been consistent this season and has remained one of the few bright spots on the roster. Lardarius Webb was used as a punt returner but having a player of his caliber in a risky position like that is an unwise move.
The gameplan was solid by Baltimore in this one, they relied on the running game to set up the pass. Though the passing game was ineffective, keeping the Rams defense honest kept them in this game long enough for Justin Tucker to kick the game winning field goal. John Harbaugh needs to make sure this team is more disciplined moving forward because the penalties against them have been quite costly.
Next up are the Cleveland Browns who host the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football. The Browns are (2-8) and are battling the Ravens (3-7) for worst record in the AFC North. Baltimore is still mathematically in this thing and can continue to string wins to make it interesting in the end of December; but a second straight loss against the Browns will effectively end their season. With Flacco out and Matt Schaub in, the odds don’t appear to be in their favor.
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.