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One Winning Drive: Giants Handle Ravens: Quick Thoughts

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Anyone that saw the game doesn’t need to be told that the Ravens got it handed to them today. The Giants won in convincing fashion, moving the ball often and with ease, and shutting down the Ravens offense for most of the day.

That said, here are my quick thoughts on the game… and this will be very quick. Like most of us, I need to go drown my sorrows a bit.

First, kudos to Joe Flacco. The line in this game is going to be that Flacco threw two interceptions, one returned for a crushing touchdown right as it appeared the Ravens were about to come to life. If Flacco doesn’t throw that pick, it’s hard to see the Ravens not scoring to make it 20-13, at the least. But Flacco was better than those two picks. His legs were clearly working, as he ran for 50 yards to lead the team. His brain was working too. Sacked just once, Flacco was masterful at avoiding the rush and moving from target to target. It was a shame, however, that his arm wasn’t as up to the task as the rest of him.

Building on the kudos for the Ravens, a few pats on the back for the Ravens OL. Allowing just one sack to one of the league’s fiercest pass rushing attack is no small feat. Their issues with in providing run-blocking were unwelcome, however.

Mini-note: I’m still not sure why the Ravens did not go for it on 4th and short in the 4th quarter of this game. That was a flat-out quitters punt by John Harbaugh.

It’s tough to talk about the Ravens defensive effort. We can really split the game into its two halves. In the first half, the Ravens were just plain beat. The Giants were well-prepared and appeared to know every play the Ravens had in Rex Ryan’s encyclopedia-sized playbook. Manning had time, the runners had holes, and the receivers had our defensive backs just plain fooled. But in the second half, similar to a few other games this year, the Ravens defense came to life. Pressure on Manning was better, though the Ravens managed just one sack. And the running lanes were shut down.

Despite a staggering 200-plus yard rushing total by the Giants as a team, the Ravens were able to hold on to their streak of games without allowing a 100-yard rusher. And if you remove Bradshaw’s 70+ yard carry and Jacobs 30+ yard carry, suddenly the Ravens rushing defense looked respectable. Unfortunately, we can’t remove those kinds of plays looking back.

All-in-all, the Ravens came out weak and it cost them. There’s nothing else to say. This wasn’t the most physical game we’ve ever seen; the physicality hardly lived up to expectations.  The Ravens just missed opportunity after opportunity and they paid for it. Teams like the Browns and Dolphins might let you get away with a few mistakes, but not a team like the Giants.

That said, however, it would be a waste to throw this game at the wayside as we continue. The Ravens should walk away with a number of valuable lessons. Despite the score, in the second half, the Ravens looked like a football team capable of playing with the big boys. They just need to start limiting mistakes and finding ways to win, not just be competitive.

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