Week Two is in the books for the Baltimore Ravens following a 25-20 comeback win over the Cleveland Browns. Baltimore found itself in a three possession hole early in the game following Corey Coleman’s first two NFL touchdowns and an 85-yard touchdown on the ground by Isaiah Crowell. Joe Flacco and the Ravens woke up, sparked by a blocked field goal attempt returned for 2 points, and showed the NFL this Ravens squad will not give up. Justin Tucker showed up clutch with three long field goals, showing his worth after a new deal this offseason.
Just like in Week One, there was both good and bad from the Ravens, who fought to the wire to secure a win in Cleveland.
Along with last week, the Ravens spread the ball on offense (completions to 9 different receivers), Mike Wallace continued to show his worth as a WR1, the defense played stingy after the first quarter, and the Ravens won the game. I’ll try to keep my points fresh and not repeat myself throughout the season. Here are my main points.
What I Liked
- Ravens Kept Calm. After watching Corey Coleman score his second touchdown, I noticed that I didn’t see anyone on the team appear frustrated, nervous, or scared. They knew the game was not out of reach, it was still early, and that anything can happen in the NFL. Baltimore, ignited by Tavon Young’s 2-point conversion, started executing their game plan and churned out 25-unanswered points throughout the final three quarters of the game to be able to leave Cleveland with a win.
- Interceptions. Eric Weddle, the defense’s prized offseason acquisition and leader, gave Baltimore its first interception of the season with under a minute left in the first half. The pick swung momentum in Baltimore’s favor, as the offense was able to pull within one possession of the Browns going into halftime. C.J. Mosley sealed the victory with his third career pick, something the defense rarely did in 2015.
- Sacks From Young Players. All three players who recorded a sack yesterday are either 25 or younger. It was refreshing seeing the team able to rely on pressure from players other than Terrell Suggs or Elvis Dumervil, as has been the case in recent years. Matt Judon, Za’Darius Smith, and C.J. Mosley were all in the backfield throughout the game as well, which is an encouraging sign going forward.
- Dennis Pitta. The reemergence of Dennis Pitta has been great for Baltimore’s passing offense. Pitta recorded the second 100-yard game of his career, and what better place to do it than the field where he last injured his hip two years ago. Pitta consistently moved the chains and is carving a major role in Joe Flacco’s aerial attack. Look for Pitta to keep rolling throughout the year as Flacco’s safety blanket on third downs.
- Better Protection For Flacco. Flacco was not sacked and Cleveland’s defense only recorded five hits the entire game. The entire line pass protected well, which will be essential as the year goes on to keep Flacco upright. Although the line protected Flacco well, the running game was a different story.
What I Didn’t Like
- The Run Game. For the second week in a row, the run game disappointed, with another 80 yard showing. Although Cleveland built an 18-point lead in the first quarter, Baltimore stayed committed to running the ball throughout the game, so the excuse cannot be made that Baltimore abandoned the run because of the deficit. They simply could not get the ground game going against a weak Cleveland front seven.
- Giveaways. Flacco threw two picks to Joe Haden, both of which were questionable decisions as Haden had great position on both routes on both plays. The first pick happened early in the game and contributed to Cleveland building the early lead. These types of throws cannot happen against teams like the Steelers and Patriots later in the year, as the comeback chances will be slim to none against better quality teams.
- Yet Again, Another Slow Start. Just as the offense did against Buffalo, they started slow, and picked up as the game moved on. Like the turnovers, these starts will be more unforgivable against playoff contenders. Luckily it is only Week Two, and the offense seemed to gel much more than in Week One. There is still time to improve.
- Giving Up Plays To Josh McCown. Josh McCown picked up right where he left off last year against the Ravens, tearing up the secondary for two early touchdowns. McCown seems to know exactly where to throw against the Ravens. The secondary made mistakes that McCown took full advantage of. The defense tightened up after the first quarter, but better quarterbacks will be using this game to exploit the Ravens in upcoming weeks.
- No Kamalei Correa. It is concerning to see yet another second-round linebacker (Arthur Brown) not on the field for Baltimore. Correa buzzed in offseason practices early as a potential starter next to Mosley, but has since been very quiet. The hope is for the linebacker to find a role sooner rather than later on the defense. It isn’t quite as concerning because unlike Arthur Brown, Correa does see the field on special teams, which will go a long way to seeing defensive snaps, which is something Brown never did.
- It’s always exciting to see a large comeback victory in the NFL, and the Ravens showed heart en route to a 2-0 start. Cleveland played Baltimore close, as all teams in the AFC North do, and proved to be a good test for a Ravens team trying to prove it belongs in post season conversation. The second largest comeback victory in franchise history has the players buying into each other and feeling like they can win in the face of adversity.
Preview For Week Three
- The Jacksonville Jaguars are up next, as the Ravens travel to Florida for their second road game of the year. The Jaguars boast a high-flying offense and a revamped defense in 2016, though they are off to an 0-2 start. Records aside, this is not a team to overlook, especially on the road, and will be yet another tough test for this 2016 Ravens squad.
Ravens’ Alex Collins Arrested
Per the report: Officers responded to a report of a car that had crashed into a tree on the 10000 block of Dolfield Road at about 6:48 a.m. Friday morning, Baltimore County police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Peach said.
Collins, 24, was arrested, however charges were not made public at the time of this writing.
Ravens vice president of public relations Chad Steele told The Baltimore Sun that the team has spoken with law enforcement and is aware of the situation involving Collins.
Collins is coming off a down year with Baltimore after a breakout campaign in 2017. Collins managed only 411 yards rushing in 2018 and was placed on injured reserve back in December, ending his season early.
Ray Rice Says He Is Done With Football
Former NFL running back Ray Rice, who had been working to try and get a second chance in the NFL over the past couple of years, is no longer pursuing a comeback.
“The pressure I was under of being a star, that was the person I hated the most.”
Rice was suspended indefinitely back in 2014 when a video surfaces showing Rice punching his then-fiancee, now wife, Janay Rice while the two were alone in an elevator.
Rice was never picked up by another team following the conclusion of his suspension, and his release from the Baltimore Ravens.
Rice said that he sees “similarities” between his situation and the one of former Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt, who was recently cut loose by the team when a video surfaced showing him pushing and kicking a woman in a hallway.
“Somewhere down the line everybody who’s sayin’, ‘Does he deserve a second chance for football?’ And this that and the other— I actually got my second chance” Rice said of Hunt, who cleared waivers and is now a free agent.
“During my darkest moments, and I used to ask myself, ‘How could she even be—want to support me?’ … That’s understandable. But I think what’s misunderstood about us is that the friends we were before the incident. That’s why, like I said, when I look at Kareem Hunt, I wanna know what his life was like. I want to know what happened in life. I know Kareem has apologized, and has expressed remorse for survivors of domestic violence.”
Ravens Trying To Entice Fans With Lower Concession Prices
The Baltimore Ravens are attempting to win back fans and their latest plan is making a big step toward doing just that as the team announced on Tuesday that they will reduce concession prices at M&T Bank Stadium in 2018.
The Ravens have been on a mission to bring back fans who were angered by some players’ national anthem protests coupled with their 3-year playoff drought.
A series of moves have demonstrated their efforts. The team invited fans to ask questions at a media pre-draft news conference held a question-and-answer session with fans at the team facility with owner Steve Bisciotti, coach John Harbaugh and general manager Ozzie Newsome, and also have had team president Dick Cass meet and talk to fan clubs.
While the team has sold out every game during their 20-year history at M&T Bank Stadium, empty seats grew in numbers as the 2017 season wore on, and the no-shows are very obvious.
The organization is taking this initiative very seriously.
“It’s something I would really like to take a hard look at, and at least, come up with select items that we can do,” Bisciotti said back in February of this year.
“If it means us … I can’t make Aramark do that with me, but I can make them go along as long as it’s my share of the profits that I’m waiving. Yeah, I’d like to take a look at that. I think we could probably do that.”
There is an official news conference scheduled for Thursday where the Ravens will officially announce price reductions on concessions.
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