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November 2, 2008

Ravens have the right answer

suggstdsun.jpgJoe Flacco answered another in a series of questions that will confront him during his development into a top-flight NFL quarterback. With some motivational help from undisputed team leader Ray Lewis, he brought the Ravens back from a substantial deficit against a divisional rival on the road.

No, it wasn't the Steelers, but the Cleveland Browns have been playing a lot of teams very tough this year, and the Ravens are in the midst of a stretch during which they are playing five of six games on the road. They've responded with three straight wins and can make another major statement if they can win their third straight game on the road at Houston next week.

If it seems like every game gets tagged as the one that will determine whether the Ravens are a potential playoff team, it's not your imagination. If the Ravens beat the Texans, they'll be a very solid 6-3 going into the final road game in that grueling span -- against the imposing New York Giants.

I suppose it would be fatalistic to say they could afford to lose that game if they win in Houston, but let's put it another way. If they lose to the Texans, then the Giants game could be a make-or-break situation with a string of other tough opponents to follow.

This much is pretty clear. If Terrell Suggs (right) can score a touchdown a game, I like their chances.

Baltimore Sun photo by Elizabeth Malby

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 8:17 PM | | Comments (35)
Categories: Just football
        

Comments

When the Browns scored to make it 20-13, I wrote the game off.

Then I remembered Kyle is on I. R. (pending his release, I'm sure) and Billick is on the NFL Network, no doubt swapping stories with his former players Deion, Shannon, Rod, and his best buddy of all time, Trent Dilfer (can you imagine the awkward silence when Billick and Dilfer have to ride in an elevator together?)

Then, unlike the Ravens of the past, the team hung in the game, scored 24 more points, and emerged with a decisive victory. Yeah, it ain't the Steelers or the Colts. It looks like the Ravens have finally learned to play 60 minutes of football, come back from special team breakdowns, and Flacco (as I have been saying since game 2) already has outpaced Kyle.

As for Ray Rice? The Ravens would be mistaken to put Willis back as number 1 back. Ray has proven that paying Rookie dues is not necessary. He runs with more heart than Willis has in 1.5 years as the Ravens premiere back.

As for Troy Smith? He needs to stop being his own worst enemy. Yeah, he looked good last week, but he needs to stop the jealous thing when he comes on the field, and stop wasting time-outs. He needs to stay focused and stop sulking about his de-facto-demotion to number 2 QB.

BIG UP'S TO THE FLACCO LEAD RAVENS

Great game. And I love the new offense, but just pray that Mason doesn't get hurt. Clayton's reception not with standing, Mason's five third-down receptions won this game. Without him, Flacco has no down-field receivers. And what a find Rice is! He is leaving opposing underwear all over the field.

Suggs has got to be the early pick for defensive player of the year, which is going to make his contract situation rather interesting.

So Schmuck, whos going to be the guest blogger?


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Pete's reply: Don't know yet.

I think the turning point of the game was the 20-yard pass on 3rd and 16 to Mason early in the 3rd quarter. Is there a Ravens fan alive who isn't certain that the old regime would've thrown a ball to the running back in the flat before punting? I am so excited to know that the offensive decision-makers are doing their level best to match the intensity of the defense. It's fun to know we haven't lost once a deficit reaches double digits.

Peter- How do you like this one.... "The Nick the Stick and Out-of-the-Park Mark Show, coming to Baltimore April 2009."

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Pete's reply: It might be a little long for a team slogan.

Pete. Do you think maybe the O's should look into signing another arm for the Bullpen? I have not heard or seen much talk of bolstering the BP so I thought I would bring it up. Remember, we lost Bradford. And Ray is coming back from surgery. Albers is coming back from rehab. I do not want to have to punch in career minor league journeyman like Waters, Burress, as well as about 5 others. How do you feel about maybe bringing in Tom Gordon or someone similar for the 7th inning? I think JJ will be the closer by May. Sherril will take Walker's role as the lefty. Ray will set it up.(With Baez) Sarfate and Albers can handle long duties. Beirds rule 5 status means he has to stay on the 25man for however long he missed do to being on the DL. Right?


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Pete's reply: Obviously, after this past year, you can never have enough, but I don't know where that would be on their priority list. I have a feeling MacPhail thinks they have enough options allready.

Best win since the Super Bowl. They were up against it all. Away, wounded, unable to stop Cribbs, an inspired Cleveland defense, and 14 points down and they calmly came back and won going away. I will remember this one a long time.

You take out the predicable and usual poor play by the Ravens' kickoff and punt return coverage and the game was never close. I don't know what the deal is, but these guys are horrible. John Harbaugh better take over special teams or figure something else out.

Ok Pete....You have slowly been getting me to like this Flacco kid. Or maybe it is just his game play getting better week-by-week. I was one of the skeptics, and could not understand why the media thought he was that great. Now, I can actually see the potential over the fast growth he has had over the past 3 weeks. If he continues to get decent protection, and his running backs have success, he is poised for a great start of his NFL career. I actually thought the game was going in the tank after they went down 2 scores. They usually lose those, and they finally gritted one out and won. Maybe this is a learning curve (or hurdle) for them toget past so they realize the importance of staying tough and seeing a game through as a team?

Question though....I am starting to wonder on the coaching decisions not to challenge a couple plays (you know what I am talking about). Horrible officiating seems to be only with my Ravens (of course I am bias), but I was close to throwing my shoe at my expensive HDTV to whack the idiot refs in the head. This is not the first time that a challenge flag should have flown...I guess winning makes this question go away?

The Ravens need to teach or corners to stay in front of the other teams WR's....when we face the Giants and the Eagles, we are going to have a big problem if they don't learn that. Oh yeah, Houston is not Cleveland....they are actually better...so I hope we are gearing up to play better teams. Just my thoughts.......

As I sit here in Rhode Island, probably the only Ravens fan in a 300 mile radius, I smile to myself and thank God for the 2008 draft! Many thought it was foolish to jump up and grap Flacco when we did. And then to have Ray Rice drop into our lap? This could be the best draft we have ever had excluding the first one. JO and Ray will always be at the top of the list! WIll be intesting now to see how the Ravens handle the Suggs contract talks. He gets my nod for Defensive player of the year.

Hey Walter. A "lead" Raven would be a bit too heavy to fly. However, the Flacco "led" Ravens did indeed soar yesterday.

The Browns might not the Steelers but they were red hot with 3 straight wins. They were favored by all the pregame "analysts" including Peter King, Boomer, all the Fox Sunday guys, etc.

Then there is the difficulty of sweeping a division opponent, coming back from a 14-point deficit on the road, a patchwork offensive line, a depleted secondary, ....Corey Ivy covering Braylon Edwards for cripesake!!!!

No, this was a special win for the Ravens. Good job guys!

I'm now a believer. Despite what Mike P. might think, the Browns are not a bad team. In our losses to the Titans and Steelers we couldn't play 60 minutes. We did yesterday. And when is the last time we came back from 14 points down in the 4th quarter? Flacco may have more challenges ahead but you have to love the fact that he gets better every week. I'm not verbalizing it but I am starting to think about that "P" word.

Reply to Danny: Suggs didn't get within sniffing distance of Derek Anderson all day, or make any other notable plays all game, before he became the beneficiary of a gift interception thrown right to him while someone else was pressuring Anderson. For that, he's suddenly the defensive player of the year? In the words of John McEnroe, "you have got to be joking!"

What has happened to Mr. Heap. It sometimes seems that he is used merely as an additonal blocker, and it also appears that he does not have his head in the game all the time. I don't think he had a ball thrown to him against Cleveland.

Pete,

You have heard of Wally Pipp haven't you?

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Pete's reply: Yep.

Hey Peter,

How come you didn't get a slice of the new all-sports pie that WHFS unveiled today??

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Pete's reply: I like it right where I am on WBAL.

Ravens rookie Ray Rice from Rutgers really runs rapidly. Rediculous!

As I told a friend, I can count on one hand the number of times the Ravens have come back from more than 7 point deficit in their history. So, when the Browns went up by 14 and we were on our 15 facing third and 16, I was sure we were done. Flacco and Rice are unbelievable! I could tell Flacco was different from the preseason because unlike all of our previous QB's since Testeverde, he can actually throw a timing pattern as well as throw the ball to a spot. Of course his composure is remarkable. As for comparing this game to one in the past, the best I can think of is the first Jacksonville game in 2000 when the Ravens came from behind in the closing seconds on a Tony Banks to Shannon Sharpe pass. It was the first time we had beaten Brunnel and the Jaguars in some time and was a breaking out game for the team's confidence.

The Ravens just might make the playoffs but only if Mason doesn't get hurt. Can you imagine what the air attack would be without him, almost non-existent.


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Pete's reply: Don't even want to think about it.

Does Peter Schmuck actually get paid for writing his column? He needs to remember that he is supposed to be writing a column about sports not a halfbaked comedy routine in which he plays the central role. I don't care about what "his take" is which is usually nothing more than a bad Jay Leno joke. (And that is saying something). In the name of Grantland Rice please have the Schmuck stop before his column appears.

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Pete's reply: Thanks for the reminder. I had inexplicably forgotten that I'm supposed to be a sports columnist and not write anything that might be funny or entertaining.

Pete,
When are we going to find out the PTBNL for Bradford?

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Pete's reply: Got to be soon, because they have to set the protected lists in a couple of weeks. I wouldn't get too excited. I'm guessing you'll not have heard of him.

Peter, I post conversations on The Cleveland Plain Dealer. They all think the dropped pass by Edwards was why they lost. I told them to look at the stats. The Ravens rush better than most, stop the rush better than anybody, and keep turnovers to a minimum. That's why the Ravens won.


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Pete's reply: But one play can shift momentum. Just look at the punt block last night on MNF.

Any question now about the three headed monster vs Jamal. Even with one of the heads missing, there was more than triple the offensive fire power. Seems likely that If two heads are better than one, why wouldn't three be even better?

guys I'm from cleveland and your team ain'''t thatgood were that bad romeo must go


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Pete's reply: Nobody around here is worried about them being "that good" -- just better than they were the week before.

What's going on with Heap? Is he hurt or in the Harbaugh doghouse or is he being kept in to block as part of the Flacco protection squad?


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Pete's reply: I think he's waiting his turn in this new offense. Cameron will unleash him one of these weeks against a team that figures he doesn't catch a lot of passes anymore.

Plese,let this Troy Smith thing go. Flacco is the starter, and he is getting better, and Smith is the backup. Leave the guy alone, and let him work his way into the offense. What do you mean jealousy? And wasting time outs? He called a timeout when the play clock was down to zero. This is a team, and nothing that I've heard this season leads me to believe that Smith isn't part of the team. Flacco's the starter and Smith's the backup, leave it at that. Why make insinuations that there is strife or jealousy going on?

If the Ravens had lost, we would be talking about the poor play calling before the last FG.

The first time in a long time it seems as if they really found out how to WIN a game at the end instead of giving it away with something stupid.

I wanna friggin' pinch myself - I have been wanting this for so long from the O.

Flaccattack!!!

Ryan: I don't know about Pete but I sure like it!

Peter- Wouldn't it be something if the Orioles got Wade Townsend as the PTBNL? Man, he did us a favor by not signing. Look at his minor league stats.
In all seriousness, I heard that the player must be an unprotected by the Rays draft pick that was taken between the compensation round and 6th round. We are probably looking at A or AA player. It will not be Longoria. lol. However, there have been known to be arrangements made. For instance. Say we want Kazmir or something, they could apply the ptbnl to that trade. Not that that is the case though.

i think people seem to forget that the nfl is made up of the best college players that played. even the worse nfl player drafted is good enough to make a great play every once in a while. so to the clown that said the ravens arent all that good you need to watch us play every week with football eyes. last sunday the ravens played one of the best teams in the league last year with a rookie qb, rookie running back, rookie head coach and second and third string cornerbacks. i guess your not impressed cause your a cleveland fan and its baltimore that embarassed your team. what would have impressed you? maybe we need harbaugh to catch a pass or two for you to be impressed.

i will admit though that your teams coaching staff seemed to get a little conservative once they had the lead but it was still the third quarter. i guess just like everyvbody else he didnt think we could overcome that lead either.

i think people seem to forget that the nfl is made up of the best college players that played. even the worse nfl player drafted is good enough to make a great play every once in a while. so to the clown that said the ravens arent all that good you need to watch us play every week with football eyes. last sunday the ravens played one of the best teams in the league last year with a rookie qb, rookie running back, rookie head coach and second and third string cornerbacks. i guess your not impressed cause your a cleveland fan and its baltimore that embarassed your team. what would have impressed you? maybe we need harbaugh to catch a pass or two for you to be impressed.

i will admit though that your teams coaching staff seemed to get a little conservative once they had the lead but it was still the third quarter. i guess just like everyvbody else he didnt think we could overcome that lead either.

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About Peter Schmuck
Peter Schmuck wants you to know that, contrary to popular belief, he is more than just a bon vivant, raconteur and collector of blousy flowered shirts. He is a semi-respected journalist who has covered virtually every sport -- except luge, of course – and tackled issues that transcend the mere games people play. If that isn’t enough to qualify him to provide witty, wide-ranging commentary on the sports world ... and the rest of the world, for that matter ... he is an avid reader of history, biography and the classics, as well as a charming blowhard who pops off on both sports and politics on WBAL Radio. That means you can expect a little of everything in The Schmuck Stops Here, but the major focus will be keeping you up to the minute on Baltimore’s major sports teams and themes, whether it’s throwing up the Orioles lineup the minute it’s announced or updating you on the latest sprained ankle in Owings Mills. Oh, and by the way, that’s Mr. Schmuck to you.

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