The Ravens started out the 2016 season with a 13-7 win over the Buffalo Bills, and they did it through defensive domination and a balanced offense. They displayed a very different team than the squad last year that lost nine games by only one possession. This year’s team is ready to roll and prove it belongs in the post season yet again.
Baltimore showed both good and bad yesterday. Here are my main points.
What I Liked:
- The Defense. What wasn’t there to like about the Ravens’ new-look defense? Going into the season, Buffalo was counting on the offense to be electrifying and win them games while majority of their defense is either suspended or injured. It was the opposite at M&T Bank Stadium. Baltimore’s defense swarmed Tyrod Taylor and LeSean McCoy all afternoon and held Buffalo’s offense to only 160 yards total.
- Mike Wallace. Joe Flacco connected deep with Mike Wallace for a 66-yard touchdown, who burned Buffalo Safety Aaron Williams on the play. Wallace ended with three catches for 91 yards. This pair is excited to show off their chemistry after only one offseason together.
- Return Of Injured Players. Seeing Flacco connect with tight end Dennis Pitta for the first time in two years was a great sight to see. Pitta caught three passes for 39 yards, and his 27-yard play down the middle of the field was a thing of beauty. Steve Smith Sr. played more snaps than any other Ravens receiver, and Breshad Perriman’s first NFL catch was one of Baltimore’s best moments on Sunday. Terrell Suggs sacked Tyrod Taylor and played the entire game, something he was robbed of last season. Most importantly, the Ravens made it out of the game with no injuries.
- Flacco Spread The Ball. Flacco completed passes to 10 different targets yesterday, getting everyone involved and throwing the ball anywhere on the field. The Ravens have a plethora of receivers, and Flacco used them all against the Bills, a recipe for success in my mind.
- Winning The Game. Last year, the Ravens probably would have lost this game. They couldn’t hold a fourth quarter lead to save their lives. The defense forced a key three-and-out late that allowed the offense to run down the clock and win the game. It was a pretty sight to see after watching them lose 11 games last year.
What I Didn’t Like
- The Offensive Line. Baltimore received a gift in Week One as the Bills’ front seven was completely depleted due to injuries and suspensions, yet they still couldn’t establish anything on the ground. With two rookies starting on the left of the line, this was supposed to be an easy debut to the NFL, but Rex Ryan applied pressure steadily throughout the game. The line has to build better chemistry and get better each week if they want more success on offense.
- Slow Start On Offense. Most of what I didn’t like by the Ravens yesterday had to do with the offense, although they did make enough plays to win the game, which is never something to complain about. The defense smothered the Bill’s offense early during the game and the offense wasn’t able to capitalize. Baltimore could have put the game away early, but lacked scoring plays to go with how steady the offense was moving.
- No Turnovers. Although they held Buffalo to a measly 160 yards, a turnover would have been nice to see considering they had a franchise low six interceptions last year. The secondary blanketed receivers all game and never gave up the big play, but were never able to pick off the ball.
- Only Two Sacks. While the Ravens pressured Taylor all game, they only sacked him twice. The elusive quarterback consistently broke away from sacks throughout the game, something the defense hopes they can fix sooner rather than later.
- Predictable Offense. It seemed that every time Flacco would hand the ball off to a running back, the entire Bills defense had already known it was going to be a run. If Offensive Coordinator Marc Trestman can better disguise his offense and catch defenses off guard, it will lead to more points on the board.
- The Ravens won, and they played traditional, smash-mouth football that fans are used to seeing in Baltimore. If the defense can keep up the pressure all year it will lead to a successful season. The offense made plays that proved it can be explosive, but needs to be more consistent to fully take over games. The Bills were a good first test for this Ravens team, and they gave Baltimore something to be proud of.
Preview For Week Two
- Baltimore goes on the road next week to battle rival Cleveland, a stadium that Flacco has only lost in one time. The Ravens will look to prove their defensive performance in Week One was not an aberration, score more points on a weak Cleveland defense, and improve to 2-0 for the first time since 2009.
Ravens’ Alex Collins Arrested
Baltimore Ravens running back Alex Collins was arrested early on Friday morning following a car crash about a mile from the Ravens’ team facility, according to a report from the Baltimore Sun.
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.
“I’ll be the first one to say it; I don’t have to retire to tell you I’m done with football” Rice said, during an interview on CBS This Morning.
“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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