Sunday, October 12, 2008

Off to the races

While most of the 1 p.m. games around the NFL ended with some last minute fireworks, the Ravens/Colts game was over about 6 minutes into the first quarter when Peyton Manning connected with Marvin Harrison for the first of his 3 passing TD's in the Colts win over the Ravens, 31-3.

For the Ravens it was the same old story when playing the Colts. In the last 4 games versus the Colts, the Ravens have been outscored 114-36.

Today it was no different. The Ravens came out on offense looking like they'd spent all of last night getting drunk at Indy's finest strip club. Joe Flacco threw 3 INT's, Le'Ron McClain fumbled and the Ravens couldn't run the ball despite the Colts defense ranking last against the run.

It wouldn't have mattered if the Ravens had gone to bed early and were 100% healthy. The Colts are just a million times better than the Ravens, always have been, and as long as Manning is the QB, always will be.

I am really glad the Colts missed the playoffs in 2000 because I am starting to wonder what Manning could have done against the Ravens Super Bowl winning defense.

Probably shredded them like he has done to pretty much every other Ravens defensive unit.

Anyway, after playing both the Steelers and the Titans tough despite losing very winnable games, the Ravens were supposed to be able to maintain drives against the Colts banged-up defense, keeping Manning and company off the field.

That simply didn't happen.

And when the Colts had the ball, Manning picked apart the Ravens defense like he's done for years, passing for 271 yards and 3 TD's. Ravens players and fans alike should start a countdown to the day Manning retires. It's got to happen any year or seven.

Even worse, the Ravens gave the Colts their first home win at their new Lucas Oil Stadium.

As for the Ravens going forward, Coach Billick better rally his troops and... wait, did I say Billick? Oh yeah, I forgot he was fired last year. Silly me! The team looks and plays totally different than they did back when Billick was the coach.

In case you haven't noticed, I am using a little literally tactic called sarcasm.

Despite the change in coaching staff, the Ravens are still their same old boring ball control and dumb-headed selves. It's a wonder why they even bother drafting QB's if they are never going to let them do anything except hand the ball off and throw the ball yards short of the first down marker on 3rd down.

Why don't the Ravens try to stretch the field by throwing deep like they haven't done for two games straight? Flacco's got the arm. Sure, we don't have the receivers to really do it, but why not at least try? It might open up the running game a bit. And who knows, maybe once every season you might actually complete a pass for more than 50 yards!

More about Joe -- I am starting to get worried for the kid. We saw what happened with Boller when he was forced into the starter's position and we're starting to see the same things happen with Flacco. His poise in the pocket is getting worse. I believe I am starting to see some happy feet. And he's still forcing throws. I know this was only his fifth NFL game, but we should at least start to see some improvement by now.

Instead, Joe is getting worse.

This past week Coach Harbaugh came out and named Flacco the starter for the rest of the year, and I have to wonder if it was the right decision. Flacco now has 1 TD to 7 INT's and is starting to cost the team games.

So it basically comes down to this: What is worse? Throwing Flacco to the wolves by forcing him to start games? Or benching him in favor of a healthy Troy Smith so Flacco can stand on the sidelines and become more of a student of the game?

There is no easy answer. But as the season starts to slip away from the Ravens, it'll be hard to bench the future franchise QB.

So, next week the Ravens fly to Miami where they became victim to the Dolphins last year for the Phins only win of the 2007 season. The Dolphins are much better than they were last year, and the Ravens are probably the same.

Yeah... I don't like our chances there either.

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