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Week 4 Recap: Ravens Smoke The Panthers To Move To 3-1

 

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Quarter of the season in the books and the Ravens are sitting firmly where I thought they would. Considering they’ve played at home 3 out of 4 weeks, they should be 3-1. Having said that, their play has exceeded my expectations. Since halftime of week 1, they’ve been nothing short of impressive, and they’re only getting better. When you fire on all cylinders like they did yesterday, you’re gonna come up with some lopsided wins. The Bengals were off this week and have done their part so far this year, but they’ll slip up sooner or later. And when they do, we’ll be there to pounce and take the division. It’s a near certainty. Here’s some more thoughts and analysis from yesterday’s game.

 

– The narrative of this game was always going to be about Steve Smith, and understandably so given the big game he talked after his release. And he backed up every word of it right from the first play. Caught a big first down to get the ball rolling and never looked back. The part I loved was that he played with a controlled intensity. You could tell this game meant so much to him, but he didn’t let it affect his focus. He didn’t spin the ball after catching first downs, he didn’t get too animated in jawing with the Panthers… he let his play do the talking. And play he did.

 

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– Bravo to the offense as a whole. No 3-and-outs, only 1 punt, and put together four 80 yard TD drives. Flacco played a nearly flawless game, kept the troops moving, and didn’t turn the ball over. He found Smith for the 2 touchdowns, but also got Torrey and Marlon and even Kamar Aiken involved a little bit. The guys are really hitting their stride as a unit, and it showed to the tune of 38 points on only 8 possessions yesterday.

 

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– The true heroes of the offense have been the guys up front. Tremendous play from the offensive line the past 3 weeks considering Flacco hasn’t even been sacked. Lots of credit due to rookie James Hurst in his first game, and even more credit to Rick Wagner. I had all the doubts in the world in his abilities and I was dead wrong. Plus they’ve got the run blocking down to science. Forsett, Taliaferro, Pierce, it don’t matter. Ravens are running the ball right down people’s throats and it’s because of the O-line. Couldn’t ask for more out of these guys.

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– Torrey Smith in the house! Wasn’t a big performance from him, but he made his presence felt. Finally got on the board with a TD and caught a couple more balls. He said in practice this week that him and Joe were real close to turning a corner in this new offense and it’s starting to show. We’re running the ball well enough for him to make some plays behind the defense, and he might’ve caught another TD if he didn’t get interfered with on his way past the corner. Great sign of things to come.

 

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– 10/13 on 3rd down conversions. That’s phenomenal. You can’t expect that to be a sustainable ratio, but it just goes to show how well we’re running on 1st and 2nd down. Life’s a lot easier when you’re close enough to the sticks to run play-action effectively on 3rd down. Kubiak did a great job playcalling yesterday.

 

– Jacoby Jones, catch the football.

 

– My only qualm on offense yesterday was that we weren’t able to score on the last drive of the first half. We wasted all 3 of our timeouts earlier, and it came back to bite us when we started on our own 37 with 57 seconds left. On top of that, we failed to get out of bounds and took too long to get set after converting a first down into Carolina territory. Tucker doesn’t miss many, but I’m confident we have 3 more points on the board going into the locker room if we show some hustle and shorten that kick.

 

– Defense obviously played a good game as well. Terrell Suggs set the tone and beat his man on the first play and put a hit on Newton. Didn’t register the sack, but it set the tone for the defense all day. He and Dumervil are starting to turn a corner, combining for 2 sacks. Keep it going fellas.

 

– Run defense was excellent again. Held Carolina to 67 yards on 26 carries. The boys are only allowing 3.3 yards per carry on the year. Gotta like what the big fellas are doing up front. Kudos to CJ Mosley again, leading the team in tackles with 34 so far this season.

 

– One hiccup in the secondary, and it cost them. Can’t let a guy like Kelvin Benjamin get that wide open. Other than that, not a lot to complain about. Take out a Derek Anderson drive during garbage time and they allowed less than 175 yards through the air. They’ll be tested next week against Andrew Luck, excited to see what they’re made of.

 

– Always great to hear no injuries. Suggs might’ve tweaked a pre-existing groin injury, but it doesn’t sound too serious. He sat out the 4th as a precaution because the game was in hand. Just hope Lardarius Webb is ready to go next week.

 

Great win, loved every second of it.

taliaferro