Whew! Lo-T, Ravens Power Up and Survive On The Road In Cleveland

Featured, Sports and Bets — September 21, 2014 at 11:55 pm by

Power football.  In a topsy-turvy, back and forth, divisional game, it was the Ravens’ running game that won the day.  Led by rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro (Lo-T), who was getting playing time because of an injury to Bernard Pierce, the Ravens pounded out 160 yards on the ground to the tune of 4.8 yards per carry.  The big throw and catch to Steve Smith Sr. may be the offensive play that everyone will discuss around the water cooler on Monday, but the tough running game was the main reason that the Ravens won today.  The running game in 2014 is an obvious upgrade over the running game from 2013, and if the Ravens can sustain what they’ve done in the first three weeks of this season, they will be a playoff team.

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The Browns certainly didn’t make it easy on Baltimore on Sunday.  They pulled out all the stops.  Johnny Manziel  turned into a wide receiver for a play. (Manziel pretended to talk to a coach before sneaking down the sideline uncovered.  Hoyer threw him the rock for a big gain, but the play was called back because Terrance West wasn’t set in the backfild.  What a shame.)  They were running and passing the ball with authority and at times, moving the football with ease.  Hoyer would finish with 290 yards passing, 70 of which were gained on a bomb to rookie Taylor Gabriel.  Rookie Isaih Crowell popped a few big runs on the Black Birds as well, running hard and forming a nice 1-2 punch with fellow rookie and Towson product, Terrance West.   But the Browns couldn’t finished.  They really acted like the Browns and Browned it all up at crucial moments.  Billy Cundiff missed a 50-yard field goal and had 36-yarder blocked by Asa Jackson.  Their offense stalled and froze up late in the fourth quarter.  After the Ravens blocked the Cundiff 36-yarder, the Browns fell apart.  The Raven defense, maligned for much of the afternoon, dropped the hammer when it mattered most and forced two three-and-outs to end the game.  Coach Harbaugh punted with 2:35 left and trailing by one.  The defense responded to that faith by winning the line of scrimmage for three straight plays and getting the ball back to Joe Flacco for the game winning drive.  The Ravens won the gut check and mental toughness quarter.  That’s why they won Sunday and that’s why the Ravens have won a lot of games over the last seven seasons.

Justin Tucker is money.  After the Ravens got the ball back around mid field with 1:58 left, did you think they were going to lose?  No way.  As soon as Flacco hit Senior for five, I could feel the win.  Then after the 32 yarder to Senior, I knew it was ball game.  JT isn’t missing that close with the game on the line.  Period.  This was Tucker’s seventh game winning field goal.  Seven game winners in three years, that’s big money, babes.

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Other Thoughts

In my mind, Lo-T won the starting running back job on Sunday.  He runs with power, he breaks tackles and he can run away from people.  He can also pass protect, which is essential for a rookie.  He and Justin Forsett make a perfect 1-2 punch.  No offense to Bernard Pierce, of course, but Lo-T is my guy if I’m Harbaugh.

I feel sick for Dennis Pitta. I’ve personally torn my left ACL twice and I understand how tough it is to have surgery and how even tougher it is to get back to normal after months of therapy. (Much less getting back to pro-football normal-that I can’t imagine.) The fact that it’s his hip doing this again, especially after a non-contact move, is alarming and disturbing.  It’s probably going to be time for him to consider whether coming back and playing is going to be worth it long term.  I don’t think it is if the injury is the same one he had at the beginning of the 2013 season, and initial reports are that it is another dislocated and fractured hip.  While it would be a shame to lose a player of his talent and caliber, Pitta’s got to think of his health here.  He’s got a ring, he’s a multi-millionaire and he’s got plenty of time to figure out another career.  More football probably ain’t worth the risk.

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The Ravens secondary, particularly the safeties, had a rough go of it today.  But a lot of the big plays they gave up looked like communication errors and they can be fixed.

Flacco played well and got the job done again in crunch time.  During the game I got several Flacco bashing texts from friends and fellow Ravens’ fans.  I can’t figure out why people hate him, because all the guy does is win, babes.  19-31 for 217 with a TD and an INT.  I’ll take it all day long.  Especially after the fourth quarter, game winning drive.

As soon as Pitta went down, Kyle Juszczyk got involved in the game plan.  He caught 3 balls for 54 yards and a score, and he mocked Lebron James while doing it.  Love this guy already, and I expect big things moving forward.

Even though they didn’t make it, I love the fact that the Ravens went for it on fourth and inches.  That aggressive decision in that situation, is a no-brainer to me every time.  The execution needs to be better, but I love the aggression and the confidence.

Torrey Smith is my favorite Raven.  But he’s missing.  Time to print some milk cartons so we can find him and get his ass back in the offensive fold.

Now the Carolina Panthers come to town.  They are getting waxed by the Steelers at home as I write this.

cover pic: baltimorebeatdown

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