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ExtremeRavens: The Sanctuary

One Winning Drive: Chargers Attack Will Challenge Ravens


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There are only a handful of teams in the NFL who can create a little worry for the Ravens defense, and the San Diego Chargers should be one of them. Any other given week, the key to a Ravens victory will lie almost entirely on the offense, but not when an attack as well-rounded as the Chargers presents itself.

The Chargers present one of the most well-rounded, versatile offensive attacks in the league; they have for the past few seasons. Start with one of the league’s most dangerous running backs, LaDainian Tomlinson, add in a a speedy compliment, Darren Sproles, a rifle-armed quarterback, Philip Rivers, and the league’s best tight end, Antonio Gates; it all adds up to trouble.

In fact, the Chargers offense represents everything the Ravens want their offense to be. As Ravens fans have learned over the past 13 seasons, a one-dimensional attack is easy to handle. Even if your rushing game is outstanding, a team that can only run the ball faces serious limitations. But balance - the ability to run or throw with deadly execution on any play - presents a real problem for even the best defenses in the league.

Philip Rivers

It’s the ultimate catch-22, a paradox: if you blitz the pass, Darren Sproles will be in the secondary before you’re in the backfield; if you squeeze the run, Philip Rivers will pick you apart.

The Ravens defense is not out-matched, by any stretch of the imagination. We all know that the Ravens can handle just about anyone when they are on top of their game. But that’s the key, the Ravens will have to be far more perfect in San Diego than they were against the Chiefs. Missed assignments, missed tackles, lost footing - it will all spell disaster if it happens this Sunday because the Chargers won’t let an opponent get away with it.

On the ground, the Ravens biggest challenge will be containing the speedy Darren Sproles. LaDainian Tomlinson is recovering from a number of minor injuries, including a tweaked ankle, and will likely get limited touches on Sunday, if he plays at all. But Sproles is capable of handling the ground game all by his lonesome, even against a stout Ravens defense. If the Ravens overcommit, Sproles will burn them.

But here’s where the conundrum builds. While containing Sproles may require an element of patience, containing Philip Rivers and the Chargers’ pass attack is all about the blitz. If you saw any of the Raiders-Chargers game on Monday, you saw what Rivers can do with a little bit of time - even without a corps of big name receivers. To rattle Rivers, the Ravens have to hit him and hit him hard.

Luckily for the Ravens, their saving grace may come in the form of an injury report. The Chargers are banged-up, especially along the offensive line. At present, it is looking more and more likely that they will be without a pair of starters from Monday - when San Diego allowed three sacks. Add Tomlinson to the list of questionable starters, and things are looking up for the Ravens defense.

Regardless, the Ravens defense will have to be at its very best on Sunday to contain an explosive and balanced Chargers attack.

Oh, and a few signature turnovers wouldn’t hurt either…

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You nailed it dc.


The key to this game is to getting to Rivers....all day long.

The Chargers have to love the matchup of their big, tall receivers against the Ravens small corners. The long ball down the sidelines has to look good to Rivers. But that takes time and the Ravens front 7 face a Charger offensive line that will probably be missing their center and right guard.


So...can the Ravens D get to Rivers before he can toss the jump balls deep? If they can, then I love the Ravens chances of coming home with the win.


I don't think the Chargers will be able to run between the tackles with that patched up O line, but they have to like the speed of Sproles to the outside with those big receivers blocking down on the undersized Ravens CB's. That is a weak spot for the Ravens...Washington and Foxworth are not tackling machines.


Another concern...look out Special Teams! Here comes Sproles!0847.jpg


The Ravens O could be in for another good day. The Charger D was 31st against the pass last year, Merriman's an average Joe now that he can't take the juice.


If that were all there is to this game then I'd say the Ravens win...BUT...


Factor in that this is the first game the Ravens have played on the west coast in almost 2 years, that they are playing a playoff team and only went 2-5 against winning teams in the regular season last year... add the Chargers home field advantage (24-4)... AND I SEE THIS GAME AS A TOSS UP....a real nail biter.



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It seems like Hensley from the Sun is on the same page...


1. Dominate Chargers offensive line. This is where the Ravens need to cause problems because San Diego could be without center Nick Hardwick (ankle) and right guard Louis Vasquez (knee). The Ravens' Haloti Ngata and Kelly Gregg are licking their chops.


2. Secondary has to get in sync. If running back LaDainian Tomlinson is sidelined, quarterback Philip Rivers will be flinging the ball all over the field. That means the Ravens need to correct their lapses from the season opener.


3. Keep spreading the ball around. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco threw at least two passes to seven receivers in Week 1. The Ravens can exploit last year's No. 31 pass defense if they keep the defenders guessing.



"You gotta make them this week..."


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We are giving San Diego too much credit, they are down 2 O-Lineman, right there is the kiss of death..You dont think Mattison will exploit that. Now you throw in LT in a walking boot, even if he suits up what are talking 75% at full strength.


And if LT dosent play, Sproles will have to stay in and block, our D is not a bunch of slappies, they are hungry, they have something to prove..Everyone around the league thinks the Ravens D got owned last week by KC, all is they see is the scoreboard and assume because KC had a 24 spot that our D has lost a step.




I feel sorry for Rivers.

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It's not about the OL though, Crav... it's about how well we're going to execute on defense. Even against a battered OL, we need to get to Rivers FAST. We have seen Peyton, Brady and even Big Ben beat our rush ... even if we are busting through their line, will it be fast enough? A great QB can change everything.


And I worry about Sproles and LT only because they are your typical game-changers. Both can run outside with the best of them, so if we commit to attacking Rivers hard, it's going to leave some room outside for them to run.


It's not cut and dry.

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Our chances of being successful are dependant on three keys:


1. Defensively, our pass rush has to be relentless and suffocate Rivers all day long. No letup !


2. Offensively, our OL has to dominate LOS and spring the 3 headed monster free.


3. ST's- Control Sproles, control Sproles and control Sproles. Oh, and Hauscha needs to be on.


If we are spot on on all three, we will be successful Sunday. Anything less, not successful.

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More confident than you were against the Chiefs?


And you were so confident against the Chiefs ... I remember... that post-game, you even said "Was never in doubt," despite the fact that we were LOSING in the 3rd quarter (or was it even the 4th?)


You're ridiculous.

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Oh, I was certainly in doubt. Because the Ravens have made their living allowing teams to march up and down the field, while we win by being the team that bends without breaking and scores off a turnover or a big play.


So while I was happy to see us moving up and down and up and down on them... we weren't doing much with it after 3 quarters... and I was thinking, well, the Chiefs are about use or own freaking gameplan against us!

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Rivers who threw 34 TDs to 11 picks last year, with a QB rating over 105, and who has only lost 5 times in San Diego in his pro career is goign to just crumble under our pressure? Just like he did in 07 when he threw 3 TDs and 0 picks against us with a QB rating of 119?

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So Raven.. we are talking about what Rivers can do to us, and not what Flacco can do against the NFLs 31th passing D.. And the Raiders game would have been over before the 4th Q if only Raiders had a decent QB.


Ravens OL vs Bolts DL.. Ravens.


Ravens DL vs Bolts OL.. Ravens.


Ravens win.

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