This is a joint effort of Boydy2669, BShrout, Broncofan91, and myself. We will be running this Scouting Report on a weekly basis based on what we have seen while watching game tape. We have yet to decide what to call ourselves, so for now, just bear with us as we try to bring you up to date with what the Broncos upcoming opponents have done in their past games.
The Baltimore Ravens have striven to create an offense capable of matching the swagger of their defense, annually among the best in the NFL. They finally have that kind of attack. In their 2nd season with Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron, QB Joe Flacco and RB Ray Rice have carried a unit that ranks 7th in total yardage and is averaging a robust 28.2 points per game.
The Ravens have a three-headed running game. Willis McGahee is the speedster, Ray Rice is the receiver and they utilize him similar to the Patriots Kevin Faulk. Le'Ron McClain is the power back. QB Joe Flacco commands the huddle, makes the 3rd down passes when needed, and in his 2nd year is starting to get comfortable in John Harbaugh's offense. TE Todd Heap (24 Rec, 262 Yds, 2 TD's) and WR Derrick Mason (26 Rec,381 Yds, 3 TD's) are having good years catching passes from Flacco. They have some talent on the O-Line with C Matt Birk and OT's Jered Gaither and rookie Michael Oher. Birk is the elder statesman in his 12th year while the rest of the line averages 3 years experience. This is where the strength of the Ravens lies, moving over from their once feared defense.
Baltimore's defense, which ranked in the top six the past six seasons, has fallen to 17th in the league and has seemingly fallen apart. They have been giving up an average of 21.6 points a game and are not so fearsome after losing LB Bart Scott, SS Jim Leonhard, and DB Corey Ivy to Free Agency. The problem with the Ravens defense is they have been giving up too much yardage. Without Scott, who ranked second on the team in tackles last year, Baltimore is yielding 332.7 yards per game - an increase of 60 yards from 2008. The Ravens have allowed 24 plays of 20 yards or more (21 passes and three runs). ILB Brendon Ayanbadejo was Placed on IR (torn left quadriceps) on 10/5. Also, it looks like CB Samari Rolle is out for the season with a neck injury. Rolle could have reinvigorated a pass defense that ranks 22nd in the NFL in average yards allowed (241.5) and is tied for 22nd in passing touchdowns surrendered (nine). Cornerback Fabian Washington was pulled against the Vikings after being repeatedly beaten, and his replacement, Frank Walker, fared no better.
The run defense is struggling, the secondary is making receivers look good, and the pass rush isn't getting penalized for roughing the passer anymore. It's not making QB's feel uncomfortable in the pocket either. The Ravens (3-3) entered their bye week with a three-game losing streak after giving up a combined 77 points to New England, Cincinnati and Minnesota. The Baltimore Defense has struggled after finishing second last season under the guidance of Rex Ryan, who left to become the Head Coach for the New York Jets.
The Ravens went 39 straight games without allowing a 100-yard rusher before Cedric Benson and Adrian Peterson each surpassed the century mark in successive weeks before the bye. The backfield has been victimized by long pass plays, including a 58-yarder last Sunday in Minnesota that set up the winning field goal in a 33-31 defeat.
Ray Lewis has maintained his effectiveness even though he is being stalked by Father Time. He is still the Emotional hub of this team, much like Brian Dawkins is to the Broncos.
Baltimore Head Coach John Harbaugh says he won't shake up the lineup in the bye week, but still, Baltimore's No. 1 concern is finding a player to stop the other team's top receiver.
It's a glaring weakness, and the Ravens have few options. They've already benched starting CB Fabian Washington and nickel back Chris Carr, and that didn't work. They can't get solid enough play out of safeties Ed Reed and Dawan Landry to hide mistakes on the back end, so it now comes down to pressuring the QB.
The secondary is a mess. At times, the Ravens need a GPS to know where they're going. None of their cornerbacks has a physical presence, and the best of the bunch is Lardarius Webb, whom the Ravens are slow to play because he is a rookie. Dawan Landry is slow and hesitant, which is not unusual for a player returning from a serious neck injury this past season. With Reed, it's hit or miss with his gambling. The CB's, Domonique Foxworth, who was signed for $16.5 million guaranteed, and Fabian Washington, are small at 5 feet 11 inches. Foxworth, in particular, is struggling with a lack of physical play in coverage.
The defensive front is still superb in the red zone. The Ravens stopped three Vikings drives inside the 20-yard line (a fourth was stopped just outside the 20) to force field goals. But the secondary has been shredded. The Chargers passed for 436 yards. The Chiefs scored 24 points. Favre’s completion rate was 72 percent, a window into the bigger problem. The team that once was able to win without the benefit of a reliable offense now has no reliable defense.
The good news is that the rookie CB Lardarius Webb looks promising and may already be the second-best corner on the roster, behind Washington. In the bye week, when Coach John Harbaugh will have time to make changes, Webb could become more prominent.
Week 1 -- BALTIMORE 38 KANSAS CITY 24 --Bshrout
The Ravens offense came out throwing. They tended to keep six in tight to block, most often a RB helping out. Heap and Mason were favorite targets. Heap was often able to find open spots in the KC zone. Mason demonstrated crisp route running, in one instance he sold the idea that he was going deep, and when the DB bit, he pivoted his route into the center of the field. Kelley Washington demonstrated a tremendous leaping ability on one catch. The few running plays were mostly draw plays initiated from a shotgun formation. Flacco was mostly on target. When he did happen to miss, the pass was generally thrown too close to the sideline or too high. The one weakness Baltimore seemed to display was that their run blocking out of a two-point stance was not particularly good.
Flacco demonstrated a good awareness of the field, always keeping his shoulders squared up for a throw downfield, his eyes constantly facing his receivers. He was not afraid to take off running when his receivers failed to gain separation from the defenders. He showed that he has the ability to evade a strong rush, keeping his eyes focused on his receivers, even as he's sliding away from the pressure. His receivers showed the awareness to adjust their routes when their quarterback was flushed out of the pocket.
Baltimore ran an incredible 85 plays, amassing 501 yards (41 rushes for 198 yards and 26 of 43 passing for 303 yards). Flacco was sacked one time. They scored touchdowns twice via rush and three times by passes. They went 4 for 4 in the Red Zone and 3 for 3 when faced with Goal to Go. They had 11 drives during the game:
2 that went 3 and out 3 that went 9 yards or less 1 that was in the 40-50 yard range 1 that was in the 50-60 yard range 1 that was in the 60-70 yard range 3 that went for more than 70 yards.
They missed one field goal, had a punt blocked and Flacco threw 1 interception. They showed a definite preference when rushing to run to the right. 19 of their 41 (110 yards) went to the right. The majority of their passes were thrown short, and to either side (short right 8 completions for 83 yards, short left 7 completions for 40 yards).
The Ravens defense appeared to be every bit as dominant as the offense. Their base formation was a 3-4 with the LBs about 6 yards off the line of scrimmage, and the DBs 8-10 off. As the offense prepared to snap the ball, the defense often shifted two of the LBs into down linemen forming, in essence, a 5-2. The defensive line repeatedly won the battle of the trenches, pushing the Chiefs' offensive line off the line of scrimmage. Lewis and Suggs were forces of nature, repeatedly penetrating the line and blowing up plays in the backfield. The defense so confused that KC's Croyle, that at one point he was forced to call a time out. When he approached the sideline, one of the coaches (I'm not sure exactly who it was) repeatedly yelled "Snap the f---ing ball" at the QB. The Raven often rushed only 4, but were still able to penetrate and force hurried throws and put hits on Croyle. The KC receivers did not appear to be able to make crisp terms up field after catches as the DBs closed quickly on anyone who caught a ball.
The Baltimore defense allowed only 44 plays for 188 yards. They crushed the KC rushing attack, allowing only 29 rushing yards. The Ravens stifled the Chiefs passing attack, giving up only 159 yards on 16 of 24 passing. Croyle was sacked 3 times. The defense was on the field for 11 drives with the following results:
5 went for 3 and out.
7 were 9 yards or less.
1 was in the 10-20 yard range.
1 was in the 40-50 yard range.
1 was in the 50-60 yard range.
1 was in the 80+ yard range.
They forced 5 punts, gave up 2 touchdowns and 1 field goal.
The defense did a great job of stuffing runs to the left -- giving up on 1 yard on 3 runs. They were most vulnerable on runs up the middle, but still only gave up 16 yards. KC got most of their passing yards on short passes to either side. The Ravens only gave up 1 deep pass that went for 50 yards.
Special teams did not really seem to stand out. The Ravens punted twice with a 43.5 average. They had 9 yards on 3 punt returns and 79 yards on 4 kick returns. Kansas City punted 5 times with a 49.2 average. The Chiefs had 1 punt return for 0 yards and 6 kick returns netting 118 yards.
When lebowskibronco's - "4 Stats That Don't Lie" are applied to this game, we find:
Turnovers 0 1
Ave. Starting Position 30 30
Ave. T.O.P. 20:11 39:49
3rd Down Efficiency 20% 59%
Penalties (my addition) 3-15 8-65
In looking at this, especially in the light of Baltimore's last three games, it could be argued that this first game is more of a reflection of Kansas City being impacted by first game jitters that were exacerbated by the turmoil created by Cassel's injury and the reassignment of their Offensive Coordinator a week prior to the start of the regular season.
That said, on offense, Flacco is a force to be reckoned with. His ability to evade pressure while remaining focused on his receivers will create problems for Denver's defense. The Broncos will need to find a way to take away Flacco's favorite game 1 target -- TE Heap. On defense, Ray Lewis is still a dominating force, if he's given an opening. And when Lewis is doubled up, Suggs is able to take up the slack.
The Ravens present themselves as being eerily reminiscent of the 2008 Broncos. A strong-armed quarterback driving a high-octane offense that starts out strong for the first three games, then begins to lose speed as the season progresses.--BShrout
Week 2 -- BALTIMORE 31 SAN DIEGO 26 --KaptainKirk
In week 2, the San Diego Chargers played host to the Ravens. Baltimore was an ungracious guest, beating the Chargers to go to 2-0 on the season.
BAL Offense vs SD Defense
The Ravens ran where they wanted on the Chargers defense. San Diego was without NT Jamal Williams and it showed, as Baltimore exploited the center of the line repeatedly. In fact, the Chargers Defensive Line was trying to shore itself up with two new players, Ogemdi Nwagbuo, and Vaughn Martin. Nwagbuo got pushed downfield repeatedly by Center Matt Birk. Willis McGahee had 3 carries for 5+ yards and 3 for at least 10 yards and Ray Rice had 3 carries of 5+ yards. Flacco can run the QB sneak, but the short yardage carries belong to LaRon McClain. Baltimore's passing game consisted of screens and swing passes to Rice, McGahee, and McClain, with a few medium range passes to his receivers. At times, Joe Flacco stood in the pocket long enough to grow a neckbeard, as his O-Line only gave up 1 sack. For the game, Flacco was 17 - 26 for 190 yards, 2 TD's and 1 INT and a 96.6 Rating.
BAL Defense vs SD Offense
For the game, San Diego QB Philip Rivers threw for 436 yards, 2 TD's and 2 INT's.DT Haloti Ngata started this game establishing himself as the Alpha, throwing his weight around during the first few plays. SS Ed Reed came on a blitz with 3rd and long and the Raven defense was able to hold on the opening possession. On San Diego's 2nd possession, after the Special Teams downed a punt at the 1, the Ravens let the Chargers convert the 3rd and long. The Defense was in a 4-3 alignment with one safety deep and the other at the line showing blitz. At the snap, the Safety at the line and the LB's dropped into zone coverage and the CB's in Man coverage. The pass rush was ineffective on the play and allowed San Diego a 1st down completion. The next play was a Darren Sproles 7 yard run, and LB Tavares Gooden employed a "Ted Block," to free Ray Lewis. It was just as hoosierteacher explained it here, and slowwhiteguy here.
However Lewis was the victim of an uncalled block in the back by Chargers RT Louis Vasquez. After blowing up a screen attempt on 3rd and 2, Rivers hooked up with Sproles in the flat, who promptly raced 81 yards untouched for a TD. On San Diego's 3rd possession, the Baltimore defense allowed a pair of 17 yards on 3 runs by Michael Bennett. Then former Bronco CB Domonique Foxworth got beat by Malcolm Floyd on a Deep Post pattern down to the 10 yard line. The play was good for 45 yards. On 2nd and goal at the 5, Ngata collapsed the pocket and collected Rivers for his 1st sack of the year, a 10 yard loss. Consequently, the Chargers were forced to settle for a Field Goal.
In the 2nd Quarter, the Chargers were able to get two sustained drives on the Ravens, but Baltimore's defense held them to Field Goals. On the Chargers first drive, they tried a WR reverse, and it was sniffed out by LB Jarrett Johnson. When the Ravens blitzed, Philip Rivers was able to connect with WR Vincent Jackson for 18 yards. Ray Lewis again disrupts the San Diego pass blocking on 3rd down, and Terrell Suggs and Johnson finish off the sack. The 2nd drive started with a screen to Sproles to the right side opposing a Blitz. and he picked up 22 yards on the play. Then Rivers hit TE Antonio Gates on a post all the way to the 2 where he fumbled. Vincent Jackson was able to recover for the Bolts. Antonio turned CB Fabian Washington completely around and then made Ed Reed miss before Ray Lewis caused the fumble. The Ravens successfully Blitzed Philip Rivers three consecutive plays to force the third FG of the half.
The 3rd Quarter saw San Diego score their 2nd TD. Down by 12, Rivers went for it all on 1st down from the 42, throwing incomplete to Malcolm Floyd. Fabian Washington had him well covered on the play. Rivers then made a pass to Vincent Jackson to the left for a 35 yard TD.
In the 4th quarter, The Chargers closed the Ravens lead to 2 points with a FG. On their next possession, Rivers had San Diego driving down the field, when on a 3rd and 6, he threw a pick to SS Dawan Landry on a blitz by Ray Lewis. Baltimore then responded with a FG of their own with 2:54 left in the game. The last drive Rivers completes a deep Post to Vincent Jackson for 38 yards down to the 35. Domonique Foxworth had him covered well. An incomplete pass to WR Chris Chambers took the game to the 2 minute warning. A couple of 7 yard passes and 3 in-completes later, it was 4th and 2 with 37 seconds in the game. Rivers hands the ball off to Darren Sproles and Ray Lewis hammers him in the backfield to ice the game.
On Special Teams, the Ravens punted 4 times, two resulted in no returns and the other two were downed at the 2 and 1 yard line respectively. Returner Chris Carr had two Punt return opportunities. The first he let go out of bounds at the 14, and the second went into the end zone. He had 5 Kick Returns for 137 yards, with a long of 41, but unwisely brought a Kickoff out of the End zone only to fumble it at the 15 yard line. The Kick coverage was just so-so, allowing Darren Sproles returns of 20, 35, 27, and a long of 53 yards in the game. They shot themselves in the foot with a "piling on" personal foul penalty to start the game. Steven Haushka converted all 4 extra points and made a 33 yard FG.--KaptainKirk
Week 3 -- BALTIMORE 34 CLEVELAND 3 --KaptainKirk
We really didn't get a chance to analyze this game, but it was an onslaught. not a whole lot to figure out in a beating like this. However, for continuity, here are the highlights.
The Ravens really took it to the helpless Browns, handing them a 34-3 smack-down. Willis McGahee ran the ball just seven times, but two of those carries resulted in TD's in the first half. McGahee finished with 67 yards and led a rushing attack that picked up 142 yards on the ground.
Baltimore ended Cleveland's first drive with an INT, then converted the turnover into a TD with less than 5 minutes elapsed. It turned out to be all the points Baltimore needed to beat the punchless Browns. And when Ravens QB Joe Flacco threw a 72-yard touchdown down the left sideline to Derrick Mason it was time to turn out the lights. That TD gave Baltimore a 34-3 lead with 8:05 left, and came only one play after Baltimore had forced its 4th turnover of the game.
The Browns stunk it up so bad, that starting QB Brady Quinn was taken out at halftime and replaced by Derek Anderson. Quinn went 6 for 8 for 34 yards and an INT. Anderson, who lost his starting job to Quinn last year, was 11 for 19 for 92 yards and 3 INT's.
The two teams had close to the same time of possession, but Baltimore made better use of the clock. The Ravens had 28 1st downs to Cleveland's 11, and finished with 479 total yards to Cleveland's 186, turning the ball over just once, while the Browns had 4 turnovers. To this point, the Browns have scored one offensive TD their last 9 games dating back to last year.
Joe Flacco went 25 for 35 with a TD, and McGahee's two TDs gave him 6 in 3 games. Baltimore is 3-0 for only the 2nd time in franchise history, thanks heavily to an offense that is averaging 34.3 points per game.
Derrick Mason caught 5 passes for 118 yards, including the 72-yard TD. His 3rd reception made him the 23rd player in NFL history with 800 career catches.
Cleveland played without running back Jamal Lewis (hamstring) and kicker Phil Dawson (leg). The Browns' lone score was a 29-yard field goal by Billy Cundiff with 14:55 left. --KaptainKirk
Week 4 -- BALTIMORE 21 NEW ENGLAND 27 --BOYDY.
- Ravens use a mix of 4-3 and 3-4 depending on down and distance. For example, early in the game they used the 4-3 look defending the pass and some 3 man fronts to defend the run. They do a good job of disguising their looks, to bring pressure in the form of rushes and blitzes from different areas. Some blitzes brought from Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs.
- Patriots attacked Ravens in the pass game straight at the corner backs, using hitches and comebacks to good effect.
- Weakness in secondary is straight up the seem where a couple of great gains were made by Benjamin Watson.
- Evidence of initial bump by corners on line of scrimmage that did seem to put Randy Moss off early in the game.
- With the aggressiveness of the Ravens D, some good gains were made on the screen game by Sammy Morris.
- In the run game, the Ravens were very stout up the middle. With Ngata and Gregg, very hard going.
- Patriots made some yardage on draws from shot gun, as well as some decent yardage with toss and wide of off tackle. It made the Ravens front 3 or 4 have to slide laterally which allowed some running lanes on the cutback and wider.
- Short yardage (4th and 1) Sammy Morris came in as FB and picked up the yardage on quick snap.
2/ WHAT THIS MEANS FOR OUR BRONCOS?
- We have some great match ups in the secondary with Brandon Marshall and Jabbar Gaffney. Brandon Marshall is a more physical WR than Moss, so bumping him at LOS will probably not work.
- There will be some opportunities for some vertical plays I think. We may air it out against these short corner backs.
- Underneath slot game with Royal and Stokley could be key, so look for Denver to have both on field together.
- A massive mismatch is with Sheffler and Graham at Tight End. You saw what happened in the chargers game, and Watson has some big games. Look for Sheffler in the seem, and for Daniel Graham to pick up some cheap yardage over the middle. Look for plenty of 2 and 3 TE sets from Denver. This could be exploited.
- Look for some variety in the running game. Our pass game can be set up by our run game. Plenty of off tackle and toss plays to keep the Ravens front 7 on there heels. This will also set up some cheap plays on the screen game.
- I want to see Peyton Hillis in as FB on running game, particularly short yardage. Look for some quick snaps and hand offs to Hillis as well as some more involvement in screen game. The aggressiveness of the Ravens sets up for this.
- The Ravens will use McGahee to set up play action pass. He is used almost as much as a decoy to keep opposition defenses on the back foot.
- Ravens use a lot of screen plays from shot gun with Ray Rice and McClain. This seems to be their MO to set up the vertical pass. Run to set up play action, short pass and screen game. Short pass game and screen game to set up vertical pass. We have seen this from Cam Cameron in his years with San Diego, and nothing has changed in Baltimore.
- Mason is the predominant target for Joe Flacco. Of 17 passes in first half, 9 went to Mason. They come out early and get the ball to Mason to get the team on the roll, and then Flacco spreads it around. Look for Flacco to go early and often to his security blanket.
- Starting to line Ray Rice up wide, and getting him more involved. He is taking on a LT/Sproles type role a la Cam Cameron at San Diego.
- Flacco has great mobility for a big fella and a great arm.
- He struggled with pressure and it greatly effected his accuracy as game went on.
- Todd Heap had some good plays across the middle.
4/ WHAT THIS MEANS FOR OUR BRONCOS?
- Our D could bring some very different looks, and will/should pressure Flacco consistently.
- WE have a secondary that will be able to control and shutdown Derek Mason. With safety help over the top that should be easy to achieve.
- We need to be able to cover the screen and dump off play which will work against our aggressiveness bringing pressure.
- Look for us to bring in Barrett to limit the effectiveness of Heap.
- Denver has the ability to take away the run, Mason and Heap where Flacco will have to dink and dunk. The screen with Rice could be a major play for the Ravens.
- I like the ability of our secondary to shut the WR’s for the Ravens down, including Derek Mason.
5/ SPECIAL TEAMS:
- The Ravens have only average special teams. The Pats were able to limit their starting position for Flacco to around the 20 yard mark on kick offs.
- They have a good punting game, with their punter having one of the best records for kicks with in the 10 yard area.
- Average on punt return game.
- Average on kick off coverage.
6/ WHAT THIS MEANS FOR OUR BRONCOS?
- We need to keep making progress on the our return games. Great effort last week.
- Our coverage units should be able to nullify the return game for the Ravens. --Boydy
Week 5 -- BALTIMORE 14 CINCINNATI 17 --BShrout
Baltimore attempted to show balanced attack. Heap and Rice were Flacco's favorite targets. Mason was held without a catch. Flacco continued to demonstrate a strong ability to elude pressure, scrambling when the pocket collapsed. The offense also showed a quarterback option play with the fullback leading Flacco on his left and Rice trailing the play on his right. It did not fool the Bengals. The Ravens did not show a consistent ability to open holes for runs up the middle -- perhaps due to Oher being moved from RT to LT due to an injury to the Ravens' starting LT. Rice showed the ability to be explosive when allowed to get to the outside. He was not as consistently strong in runs up the middle.
Baltimore ran 51 plays for 257 yards. They gained 82 yards on the ground and 175 through the air. Flacco was sacked twice and intercepted twice. They had 10 offensive drives, netting the following results:
3 that went 3 and out
2 that ended in interceptions
6 that ended in punts
1 that ended in downs
1 that scored a touchdown
3 in the 10-20 yard range
1 in the 30-40 yard range
1 that went 69 yards
This was not the same high-octane offense seen in Week 1 versus Kansas City.
The Ravens defense appeared to be vulnerable to passes over the middle. Their run defense was inconsistent. There was a lot of pre-snap movement intent upon disguising when and where the Ravens were going to blitz. CB's Fabian Washington and Domonique Foxworth were both repeatedly beaten by passes over the middle. The Ravens blitzed a great deal, but only got to Palmer once (this followed a bad snap in the shotgun formation). They did intercept Palmer once (Reed returned the pick for a touchdown). The crowd noise combined with pre-snap movement to cause two delay of game penalties. The defense allowed three drives of 5 minutes or more (7:04, 5:08 and 6:19), but interestingly enough those three drives ended in a missed FG, an interception returned for a touchdown and a touchdown.
The Baltimore defense allowed only 66 plays for 403 yards. They allowed 142 rushing yards, and 261 passing yards. The defense was on the field for 11 drives with the following results:
1 went for negative yardage (a kneel down to end the game)
2 went for 3 & out.
4 were in the 10-20 yard range.
1 was in the 40-50 yard range.
1 was in the 50-60 yard range.
2 were in the 70+ yard range.
They forced 4 punts, gave up 2 touchdowns and 1 field goal.
Special teams still did not really seem to stand out. The Ravens punted 6 times with a 45.3 yard average. They had 1 yard on 2 punt returns and 85 yards on 3 kick returns. Cincinnati punted 4 times with a 40 yard average. The Bengals had 3 punt returns for 26 yards and 3 kick returns netting 59 yards.
When lebowskibronco's 4 "Stats That Don't Lie" are applied to this game, we find:
Turnovers 2 2
Avg. Starting Position 22 27
T.O.P. 34:19 25:41
3rd Down Efficiency 38% 27%
Penalties (my addition) 7-39 10-76
The Ravens have a hard-hitting defense, a quarterback who can elude pressure and an explosive runner in Rice. What this means for Denver:
1)Orton needs to continue to make smart choices and avoid interceptions.
2)The offense needs to force the Ravens to defend the middle of the field, which will open things up on the outside.
3)The Broncos should use lots of multiple receiver looks, the Ravens do not appear to have the defensive secondary to cover everybody, especially when you add a running back coming out of the backfield.
4)The defense needs to keep up the pressure on Flacco, he's not as effective when he's forced to move.
5)Don't let Rice get to the outside. --BShrout.
Week 6 -- BALTIMORE 31 MINNESOTA 33 --Broncofan91
Starters: DE Haloti Ngata(#92), NT Kelly Gregg(#97), DE Trevor Pryce(#90), ROLB Terrell Suggs(#55), RILB Tavaris Gooden(#56), LILB Ray Lewis(#52), LOLB Jarret Johnson(#95), LCB Fabian Washington(#31), SS Dawan Landry(#26), FS Ed Reed(#20), RCB Domonique Foxworth(#24).
1st Quarter:The Vikings had 3 drives in the 1st quarter. Two of them ended in TDs. The Ravens did a good job stopping the run.The front 7 was constantly in the backfield wreaking havoc. Adrian Peterson managed to break-off a 20 yard run but other than that Baltimore stuffed the run pretty good. However, their DBs are below average except for Ed Reed. They were able to pressure Favre but the receivers were almost always open by the time the pressure got there. Old friend Domonique Foxworth made a nice play when he swatted the ball away from Bernard Berrian to force a punt. Trevor Pryce, another old friend, had a key sack on that same drive.
2nd Quarter: 3 straight runs and a quick 3 and out started the Vikings' first drive of the second quarter. The Ravens did a great job of filling the gaps with their linebackers. They also started to blitz a lot more. On their second defensive series, the Ravens got burned on an overload blitz that got picked up. Brett Favre was able to connect with WR Sidney Rice for a 15-yard gain. The defense settled down after that and managed to pressure Favre enough to force a couple of throwaways and a punt. Minnesota would get the ball one last time. On 2nd and 4, Favre rolled out to the right but good coverage forced him to take the sack. The next play resulted in an incomplete pass. Baltimore's quick pressure forced Favre to throw off-balance as the ball fell to the ground.
3rd Quarter: The Ravens were unable to stop the run on the Vikings first possession of the third quarter. The Vikings ran the ball for most of the drive. They moved the ball down to the Baltimore 22 before being forced to kick a FG. Foxworth did a nice job blowing up a screen at the line of scrimmage. The next defensive series for Baltimore was a short one. Fabian Washington got burned for 63 yards by Sidney Rice. The defense managed to keep the Vikes out of the endzone and forced them to kick another field goal.
4th Quarter: Two big plays cost the Ravens the game. The first was a pass-interference penalty on Frank Walker. The play set-up 1st and goal for the Vikings. Two plays later, Favre found Visanthe Shiancoe for the score. The second was a 58 yard bomb to Sidney Rice. This would lead to what turned out to be the game-winning field goal.
Starters:LT Michael Oher(#74), LG Ben Grubbs(#66), C Matt Birk(#77), RG Chris Chester(#65), RT Marshal Yanda(#73), WR Mark Clayton(#89), RB Ray Rice(#27), FB LeRon McClain(#33), QB Joe Flacco(#5), TE Todd Heap(#86), WR Derrick Mason(#85)
1st Quarter: Baltimore had the ball 3 times in the first quarter. The first drive ended with sack on 3rd down. The second drive wasn't much different. Run by McClain, 2 incomplete passes by Flacco and a quick 3 and out. They were able get a first down on their last drive but that was it. Oher did a great job blocking in the pass game but his run blocking was sub-par. Baltimore's guards seemed to struggle in pass-protection.
2nd Quarter: The first two drives for Baltimore were pretty uneventful. Oher struggled a bit more in pass-protection than he did in the first quarter. The Ravens seemed to focus on trying to get the run game going with little success. They were unable to score in those two drives. Baltimore would get the ball back with 1:47 left in the half. This time Flacco drove down the field setting up a field goal with 6 seconds left. The interesting thing about this drive is that the receivers only had two receptions. Almost every throw by Flacco was either a screen or dumped-off to Ray Rice.
3rd Quarter: The running game continued to struggle in the third quarter. The Ravens did have a good drive that ended in a touchdown. Flacco's toughness really shined in this drive. Despite being under constant pressure, he stood strong in the pocket and delivered strike after strike to his receivers. The drive was capped off by a 23 yard touchdown run by Rice.
4th Quarter: Baltimore got the ball back with ten minutes left in the game. Down 27-10, Flacco took a beating while led the Ravens down the field for the score. A 62 yard catch and run by Rice on the next drive would help make the score 30-24. The Ravens would get the ball back with 3:44 left to play. One play was all they needed to get their first lead of the game. Ray Rice went 33 yards untouched into the endzone. Minnesota was able to retake the lead with a field goal but they left two minutes for Flacco and the Ravens to try for another comeback. Flacco got them within range but a missed field goal would end the game.--Broncofan91
There you have it. You can see yourself what has been going on with the Baltimore Ravens. The team; Boydy, BShrout, and Broncofan91 did an excellent job of watching film and making these observations, and we hope this prepares you for Sunday's game.