This first salvo burst from my finger tips is going to be relatively short and sweet. I’m going to be expanding this in future installments, of course, but I jumped aboard the team here pretty quickly, and in the interest of full disclosure, I had very short time to get this together. So let’s treat this like the introduction it is, and start off with a little “getting to know you” session.
I’m Bart, and before you ask, no, I wasn’t. I was 11 when “The Simpsons” showed up on the Tracey Ullman show, and 12 when they exploded in to the public consciousness. Those capable of math can approximate my age from that bit of personal trivia. I’ve lived and worked in the Baltimore metro area my entire life, and so has my father, so I have got extra Charm City Cred. If you have any questions or comments for me, I welcome them. And if they’re extremely pertinent or thought provoking, I may include them in next week’s installment. I can be found on Facebook and Twitter for those so inclined as well.
Now, to The Hangover. Since I’m doing this rush style, I will do bullet points under The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
- Congratulations to Joe Flacco, who with the TD pass to Boldin became the top passer, in yards, in Ravens franchise history. Yes, it’s not that long of a franchise history, but consider this: even in the short history, Flacco accomplished this in less than two and half seasons. That’s incredibly noteworthy and is another notch for him in the “franchise QB” bedpost. I hope people will keep this in mind when they question his efficiency. Though I suppose a counter argument could be made that he gained a lot of those yards last year checking down to Ray Rice. I’d counter back that he still had to make the throws.
- Very glad to see Tom Brady calling for a flag and not getting it for once. Since that was a topic of conversation all this week on the radio (I swear if I heard “The Brady Rule” one more time…) it was gratifying to see that the officials weren’t actually out to get us. I joke. I’m a firm believer that the officials screw up the same amount of calls across the league (look at the no-call for the helmet-to-helmet James Harrison gave to Mohamed Massaquoi in the Steelers-Browns game). Baltimore fans simply like to complain about it more, myself included during the heat of the moment.
- The Ravens had a very good shot at having beaten 3 strong conference teams on the road, and the two road losses, including yesterday, were games that could have gone either way. Those two losses are the only losses thus far on the season, and personally, if someone told me before the season that in the first six games with four on the road we’d be 4-2 with road wins against the Jets and the Steelers, and road losses to the Bengals and Patriots, I would have been okay about it. However, “if you would have told me before the season…” type statements tend to eliminate context, which leads me to…
- The Ravens should have won both those road games. Now’s not the time to dredge up the Bengals debacle, except to point out that they’re, you know, AWFUL, but yesterday’s game? The Ravens took their foot off the collective pedal with too slim of a lead after 3 quarters of play. There are several teams you simply can not play that kind of game with, and ever since the Super Bowl win over the Rams, Tom Brady and the Pats are high on that list. How many times must a team prove that if you let Tom Brady smell blood in the water he will feast? While I understand the desire to burn the clock, you also have to move the chains. Which leads me to…
- Cam Cameron’s play calling. Is there a more erratic OC than Cam? Is he incapable of half time adjustments, or is he simply a stubborn man and sticks to the game plan? I obviously have no clue what goes on between coaches on the sidelines, but if I were John Harbaugh, I would have been in Cameron’s ear telling him flat out that his 4th quarter strategy was costing them the game. Momentum is a huge factor in any football game at any level, and the play-calling led to the Patriots having all the momentum to the end of regulation and going in to OT.
- The “You’re Killing Me, Smalls!” Award goes to Le’Ron McClain. Inexcusable. I don’t care what happened to precipitate his retaliation, that’s incredibly undisciplined, stupid football. Your penalty was the knife to your team in OT. The sad thing is you could probably create a highlight reel of all the inexcusable penalties that cost the Ravens a chance at winning, and it’d be longer and more detailed than a highlight reel of our Super Bowl win.
- Yesterday was seemingly “Day of the Helmet-to-Helmet Hits,” and one of the most flagrant was Brandon Meriweather’s shot to Todd Heap. The only reason it’s not getting as much “talking head” exposure is that Heap returned to play, where all the other hits led to removals for concussions. That shouldn’t make the action more excusable however. And after hearing Rodney Harrison talk about the difference between fines and suspensions (and Tony Dungy echoing and agreeing with it from a coach’s standpoint), I firmly believe that if the NFL wants to walk the walk on this hard line against concussions, they need to start suspending players for these types of hits.
Now for some brief notes from around the league:
- Whoa, Kevin Kolb, you’re acting like some guy came along and grabbed the attention of the nation and threatened your livelihood. Oh, right, that’s exactly what happened. I’m quite intrigued to see how this pans out up in Philly.
- Did anybody else notice that in the Colts-Redskins Sunday night game that both teams had a weird display of “who can screw up better?” before the half and before the end of the game? (Answer: McNabb with that final INT)
- You know, I remember right after Roethlisberger’s latest debacle that plenty of Pittsburgh natives were quite vocal about the fact that they were getting disgusted with his behavior. Yesterday’s outpouring of support shows you how much people can let things slide after less than a year as long as you play sports well, doesn’t it? If I had done those things, I’d be in jail with no benefit of the doubt on my side. Of course, I wouldn’t have done those things. I’m not a sleaze who frequents crappy clubs at late hours and tries to pick up college girls. Then again, I can’t play the “wanna see my Super Bowl Ring?” card.
- I don’t particularly have anything against the Cowboys like many around the Baltimore-Washington corridor (or the 95 corridor in general) do, but I can’t help but watch in amusement as all the panic buttons get pushed in Dallas. Wade Phillips, I hate to break this to you, but you’re rearranging chairs on the Titanic, buddy. Side note: thanks for turning us down Jason Garrett. How’s that working out for you?
- It’s interesting to hear that Jenn Sterger is basically throwing up brick walls at the NFL’s investigation in to the allegations concerning Brett Favre. What’s even more interesting is the scuttlebutt I read in Peter King’s column at SI.com this morning that the two masseuses have gotten lawyers and may be pressing charges this week. Hang on to your cookies, everyone, this could get messy.
That’s all for me this edition. I guess it wasn’t all that short after all. Enjoy the Monday Night game. I will probably watch highlights tomorrow, but for some reason, even though they’re both 3-2 and reasonably good, the prospect of watching Tennessee and Jacksonville makes me drowsy even thinking about it.
Oh, and because I can…today is my daughter’s 2nd birthday. Happy Birthday, Erin.