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Tag:Baltimore Ravens
Posted on: September 20, 2011 10:34 pm
 

In The Trenches: Week 2 Thoughts

The top two scoring teams in the NFL after two weeks: Buffalo and Detroit.

Say What?

Lions, Bills, & 4 Wins, Oh My-Granted, two of them are against the injury-ravaged Chiefs, but Detroit and Buffalo are looking to cement themselves as legitimate playoff contenders.  It comes as no surprise that quarterback play has sparked the good starts as Matthew Stafford has shown us why the Lions hitched their wagon to him while Ryan Fitzpatrick has instilled life into a once lifeless Bills offense.  Detroit has to feel good considering the rest of the NFC.  The NFC West as previously concluded is a race to 8 wins, and the Cowboys and Giants have both caught the plague as players continue to drop like Obama’s approval rating.  I don’t think they’re ready to take down the Packers, but the path to a Wild Card spot looks to be within reach.  The Bills are in a much deeper AFC, including the Jets and Patriots as division opponents, but look like they will be playing meaningful football come December.

Vick’s Return to Old Nest Sour-The Eagles looked like they had taken control of the game late in the third quarter with a 31-21 lead.  Vick had been effective, but had also taken a beating throughout the game as the Falcons defense constantly got to the former Atlanta quarterback.  The hits piled up, and Vick was eventually forced to leave the game with a concussion.  However, nobody thought it would be his own offensive linemen to do the trick.

That Tom Brady’s So Hot Right Now-Zoolander’s Hansel would be proud to see what Tom Brady has been up to these days.  With what seemed to be all day to read the defense, Tom Terrific looked just about unstoppable as San Diego was his latest victim.  An early frontrunner to repeat as MVP, Brady will have to keep it going against the, dare I say it, offensive juggernaut that is the Buffalo Bills next week.

Redemption for Romo-Roasted across media outlets after his forgettable fourth quarter against the Jets, things were not looking great against the 49ers.  Two fractured ribs and a punctured lung are painful enough, much less dealing with that while reading coverage, avoiding massive linemen, and throwing the ball.  But Romo would go on, leading the fourth quarter comeback and overtime win to avoid the dreaded 0-2 start.  Romo definitely won over many who doubted him, but things don’t look up with wide receivers Dez Bryant and Miles Austin both dealing with nagging injuries.  Oh, and a few broken ribs.

Steel Curtain Clamps Down-All is well for Pittsburgh as the Steelers were left for dead by many after the Ravens blew them out.  Nothing like a matchup with the Seattle Seahawks, Tarvaris Jackson at quarterback, to lift their spirits.

Ravens Get Clipped-Remember how great Baltimore was last week?  Me neither.  After filling up the bandwagon with a blowout win against the Steelers, Joe Flacco and Co. struggled mightily against the Tennessee Titans. #discouraging.

Smile for the Cam-era-The game against the Cardinals was taken with a grain of salt, shaky secondary play and all.  Green Bay’s defense is an elite one, and Cam Newton throws for another 400+ yards.  The three interceptions keep everyone in check as a reminder that Newton will have his lumps during his rookie season.  But this man looks like a star in the making, possessing the size, strength, and athleticism to be a force to be reckoned with.

Vikings Can’t Keep It Up-A second straight week the Vikings had a double-digit lead at halftime.  A second straight week the Vikings lose late in the fourth quarter.  Donovan McNabb, where art thou?

Jets Bounce Back-Having realized that they won’t face Romo again, New York decided that wins may not be gift wrapped as nicely as last Sunday’s.  The Jets stomped the Jaguars 32-3 behind four interceptions while holding Jacksonville to 203 total yards.  The offense didn’t face its biggest test, but Sanchez showed signs of improvement, going 17-24 for 182 yards.  The two interceptions are still a concern.

G-Men Win, But It Ain’t Pretty-A win is a win, but that was not an inspiring performance for the Giants as whole.  Eli Manning finished 18-29 with 200 yards, but started the game going 2-11.  The offense was helped by four first downs via Rams penalties along with St. Louis settling for three field goals in three red-zone trips.  It also didn’t hurt when Cadillac Williams watches a lateral instead of going after it, allowing Michael Boley to return the fumble for a touchdown. 

<span style="color: #6e8dcf;">Primetime Thoughts

Follow <span style="color: #3b5998;">David S. London on Twitter

Posted on: September 12, 2011 12:51 pm
 

In The Trenches: Week 1 Thoughts

I sure do miss that lockout talk.

Thoughts

Packers On Cue-If you had any doubts about the Packers contending this season, those should now be gone.  Aaron Rodgers looked sharp as did the rest of the Packer offense, putting up 42 points on the scoreboard and almost 400 total yards.  They allowed nearly 500 yards to the Saints, but let’s not forget about the fireworks Drew Brees and Co. regularly put up as well.  The Packers were able to slow New Orleans down on several occasions, including a goal-line stand to end the game.

Ravens Pummel Steelers-Games between these two tend to be hard-fought, down-to-the-wire, and low-scoring.

Sunday’s was none of the above.

In what may be his coming-out party, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco torched a tough Steeler defense for 224 yards and 3 touchdowns.  The stats may not be too eye-popping, but you saw Flacco dissect a Pittsburgh unit with ease, threading one pass after another.  Combine that with Ray Rice cruising to 107 yards rushing and an elite defense, folks we may have a runaway in the AFC North.

Falcons Get Clipped-All this offseason hype about a revamped offense, I was among many who jumped on the Falcons bandwagon.  The acquisition of Julio Jones was the last piece of the puzzle for Matt Ryan.  The offense would become an aerial assault and fade away from the run-heavy approach.

Maybe next week?

Ryan left much to be desired, with two turnovers and unable to get the Falcons in the end zone.  Perhaps credit is due to the Chicago Bears; I still am not sold and likely will not be for a while.  Things don’t get easier with a matchup against former Falcon Michael Vick next Sunday.

Life Sans Peyton-Talk about an eyesore.  Could it be any more clear which quarterback is most valuable to their team after Indianapolis looked like a shell of their former selves?  Kerry Collins is trying to fill some of the biggest shoes around in Peyton Manning, who is out indefinitely and it wasn’t pretty.  The Colts trailed 34-0 at halftime, the largest ever in their franchise history.  On the bright side, if Peyton doesn’t return, that put the Colts at the front of the line for the Andrew Luck sweepstakes.

Not the worst thing in the world, considering we can’t actually expect Manning to lead the Colts forever.  At least not with these recurring neck issues.

Dream Team Off To Good Start-Michael Vick took way too many hits and was 14-for-32, but the offense picked up where it left off last season in a 31-13 victory.  A bit sloppy for the Eagles, but the flashes of brilliance were demonstrated throughout the game.  Not the biggest test for the revamped defense, but a solid showing nonetheless.

Lions Pounce Tampa Bay-So far so good for the Lions bandwagon.  Matthew Stafford performed as expected, throwing for 305 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Tampa is not quite in the elite category, but they are no slouch either, and Detroit simply manhandled them on all fronts.  The Lions’ defense limited Tampa Bay to 1 touchdown and 56 yards rushing. 

Cam Newton Impresses-The pass coverage played by Arizona yesterday left much to be desired, but Cam Newton definitely showed people he is more than capable of leading an NFL offense.  A rookie-record 422 yards speaks for itself.  The Panthers are far from the playoffs, but they will be somewhat competitive and Newton will learn on the fly.  You can only learn so much while holding a clipboard. 

G-Men Replaced By Little Giants-The injuries that piled up during the preseason were absolutely inexplicable.  If the Giants had no bad luck, they’d have no luck at all.  Eli Manning also lost two reliable options on offense in Steve Smith (Eagles) and Kevin Boss (Raiders).  That being said, the last Manning standing looked atrocious.  A veteran quarterback by now, Manning looked lost at times in the second half.  The Redskins offense looked better than it has in recent memory, Rex Grossman, Sexy Rexy, proved capable.  Again, give credit where it’s due.  But if you’re a Giant fan, it doesn’t look too promising going forward.

Chargers Get Around Slow Start-They all said that this season would be different, that they’d get off to a quick start.  Last season’s special teams’ issues are a thing of the past.

Only to allow a kickoff-return touchdown on the very first play.

San Diego trailed 17-7 at halftime and looked headed for yet another season with early letdown.  Philip Rivers was not the sharpest, throwing 2 interceptions, and the Vikings offense in the first half showed some signs of life.

Much like that time Huff and Doback put liquid paper on a bee, the Vikings offense, died.

Donovan McNabb’s debut as a Viking, well, not the best.  It’s hard to find positives when your final stat line looks like this: 7-for-15 with 39 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT.  That’s an average of under 6 yards per completion.

Yikes.

San Diego was fortunate that their slow start was outweighed by Minnesota’s quarterback’s ineptitude.  The victory was bittersweet, as they lost their Pro Bowl Kicker Nate Kaeding to a torn ACL and Nose Tackle Luis Castillo to a broken leg.

Romo Hands Win To Jets-For the most part, Mark Sanchez was Dirty Sanchez, leaving the Jets offense nowhere to be found.  Tony Romo had been cruising all day against one of the top defenses in the NFL.  I’m not blind to the fact that other plays were crucial in this fourth-quarter meltdown, such as the blocked punt for a touchdown, or Jim Leonhard not giving up on the play and stopping Witten at the Jets’s 3-yard line, but Romo’s two turnovers in the fourth quarter cost at least a field goal and set up the Jets in field goal range with under a minute remaining.  The Jets better hope Mark Sanchez picks up his play, because they don’t play Tony Romo again this season.

<span style="color: #6e8dcf;">Primetime Thoughts

Follow <span style="color: #3b5998;">David S. London on Twitter

 
 
 
 
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