Big Time Win, Babes

Featured, Sports and Bets — November 25, 2014 at 12:13 pm by

What a win, beating New Orleans in prime time on Monday Night, 34-27. Who cares the Saints kinda suck this year, it’s still Drew Brees and Sean Payton. It’s the first time the Saints have lost a prime-time night game in the last thirteen years. This was a win that shows that this Ravens team is primed for a playoff push.

The offense was on point and it started with the offensive line. The Ravens have the NFL’s best guard duo, period, in Marshal Yanda and Keleche Osemele. They were blowing holes wide open for Justin Forsett and company to blast through all night. Forsett’s line says it all:  22 carries for 182 yards and two touchdowns.  By the way, the Ravens are undefeated this year when they run the ball 30 times. Baltimore ran a total of 31 times Monday night for over 200 yards.  There’s a pattern here, babes.
I was screaming at my TV on the first play from scrimmage for the Ravens’ offense because Justin Forsett broke a run right up the middle. In that situation a back has to know to go hash-numbers-boundary. What that means is when you break a run, those become your landmarks, and that is how you are able to maximize your yardage on the run while, of course, always having the cutback in the back of your mind. Forsett seemed like he was out of gas after he broke the second level, and took a bad angle with only the safety to beat. Had he gone hash-numbers-boundary, he would have gained at least another five to ten yards. But that’s nit-picking and there’s no need to do so.

On the opening drive, the Ravens gave up a huge play on an end around, but Lardarius Webb made a great hustle play to track down the ball carrier and save a touchdown. I certainly didn’t like the way Will Hill seemed to quit on the play, but he would eventually make up for it. The Ravens defense went on to shut down four straight plays inside the five yard line and hold the Saints scoreless. Speaking of Will Hill and his up and down night, he most certainly had the middle third on that deep ball that Joe Morgan hauled in on the Saints first touchdown drive. The Ravens sent a backside cat blitz, or corner fire, which left the deep zones to be covered in thirds by the strong corner, the strong safety, and free safety. Will Hill had the deep middle, but he was lured underneath by an out route. He absolutely cannot bite on a route like that and vacate his deep responsibility. He then was late getting over on Graham on that wheel route that went for the Saints first score. But as mentioned before, he certainly made up for it the rest of the game. Will Hill did a great job defending Graham, many times singled up against him. He can be a special player if he can just keep his head on straight.
It was disheartening to see Kyle Juszczyk fumble on the goal line, but I can’t believe they called a clear recovery on that play. Owen Daniels appeared to have his arms wrapped around the ball and tear it out before the refs stopped the scrum, calling the play dead. That was one of a few questionable calls on the night, but that’s nothing new, and not worth bitching about.
I absolutely loved the third and one play call early in the game where Jacoby Jones took and end around for a short gain and a first down. It took advantage of the Saints being over aggressive and got Jones’ hands on the ball in space. All night I thought Gary Kubiak kept the Saints off balance with his mix of run and pass plays.rr

The receiver play was excellent all night with both Steve and Torrey Smith nearing 100 yards receiving. For the first time in awhile I was very impressed with Torrey’s run after the catch, as he turned a few intermediate gains into big chunk gains. It was great to see Steve Smith get back on track as well after about a month of pedestrian games.
On defense, the Ravens gave up yards but tightened up as they usually do in the red zone. The pressure on Drew Brees was constant. I loved the new wrinkle Dean Pees threw in there with Suggs blitzing from the inside linebacker spot on third downs. He was cross dogging the A gap on a stunt with Pernell McPhee and it was working. This is genius because it allows the Ravens to put more pure pass rushers on the field at once. I say it every week, but the guy who was huge last night was McPhee, who was getting a huge interior push on his pass rushes. That push up the middle is what prevented Brees from stepping up in the pocket to escape the outside pressure of Dumervil and Suggs.  Suggs had one sack on the night, which put him on an elite list of 31 other defensive players in NFL history with over 100 career sacks, Dumervil notched two, and CJ Mosley grabbed another on a great zone dog blitz.
Two plays at the end of the game really stick out to me as game breakers- and they won’t show up in the box score. First was KO’s block that sealed the lane for Justin Forsett’s 35 yard run on the Ravens last touchdown drive. A zone stretch right, KO came all the way across from the left side to pancake a linebacker to the sideline, and Forsett cut right off his block into open space. That immediately put the Ravens into Saints territory and essentially insured they would extend their lead to two scores on that last drive.
The last great play was Kamar Aiken leaping what seemed like five feet into the air to snag that onside kick to ice the game. I was sweating that kick, because if the Saints recovered that, the Ravens were in trouble. Forty seconds and sixty yards is nothing to Drew Brees, even without any timeouts.

The enormity of this win goes without saying. the Ravens are now 7-4 with three winnable home games left. That should allow for the Ravens to be able to split their last two road games and still secure at least a wild card. I can’t wait to see how it plays out, but the Ravens need to put themselves ahead of San Diego in the wild card race with a home win on Sunday. It’s time to take care of business.

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