Monday, December 14, 2009
The Ravens beat up on one of the worst teams in the NFL yesterday, like they should, winning 48-3. It was a record setting day for the Ravens franchise. They racked up the most ever yardage on offense (548), and tied their mark (48) for the most points scored.
If the Lions were a better opponent, even a mediocre team, the Ravens could rally around this game as they contend for the playoffs. But the Lions are 2-11 for a reason, and are very much the same team that went winless a year ago.
But, yesterday the Ravens went back to what worked in 2008, and that was the running game. They rushed for 308 yards and 5 rushing TD's. Ray Rice ran for 166 yards and a TD. He had runs of 52 and 59 yards. Willis McGahee also ran well in mop-up duty, rushing for 76 yards and 2 TD's, and Le'Ron McClain chipped in as well, scoring a TD on 32 yards.
Hopefully the Ravens will stay with the run as they move foward, and get away from Cam Cameron's cute throw-first offensive scheme that has gotten them in trouble in the past. The Ravens clearly have 3 capable running backs on their roster and should utilize that strength more against better teams.
On the passing side, Joe Flacco had a good game after his 3 INT debacle in Green Bay last Monday night, throwing for 230 yards and a 62-yard TD to Derrick Mason who shook off two tacklers converging on him at the same time for the score.
The defense played the way it's supposed to against a 2-11 team, allowing 229 yards of total offense and forcing 3 turnovers. They allowed some Detroit receivers to get open early in the game, which is cause for some concern, but once the game got out of hand the defense dropped back into pass-coverage from first down and took away any chance of the Lions cutting into the lead.
I won't get too excited about this win. I've seen the Ravens shoot themselves in the foot with bad turnovers and stupid penalties too many times to get excited about the Ravens going schoolyard bully on the Lions.
The 5-8 Bears might offer up more of a challenge next week, but with their playoff chances eliminated, I wouldn't be surprised to see them lay down either. Basically, the rest of the season hinges on beating the slumping Steelers in Pittsburgh. I don't want to look past the Bears, but if the Ravens consider themselves playoff contenders, they have to beat Chicago and go into Pittsburgh and handle a Steelers team that has lost 5 straight, including losses to the Chiefs, Raiders and Browns. The Steelers also face the red-hot Packers this week, so it could very well be 6-straight losses for the Steelers when the Ravens buses roll into the Steel City on December 27th.
So there you have it. The Ravens still need some help to make the playoffs, as the Jaguars are ahead of them for the 6th seed, but if the Ravens win out, I do believe they will get in.
Are they good enough to do it? Even though they shellacked the Lions yesterday, I am still not sure.
The uncertainty of the up and down 2009 Ravens season continues.