For the majority of the league, Week 11 is in the books, and with it comes another Baltimore Ravens win, beating the Carolina Panthers 37-13. It was a record kind of day, as it saw Ravens QB Joe Flacco tie the franchise records for passing TDs and FS Ed Reed joining the ranks of the ’50 career INT club.’
Give Him The Keys
At the beginning of the broadcast, I heard music to my ears, since I had predicted that it would happen this game: for the most part, Joe Flacco would be calling the plays at the line. It seemed like a very rudimentary system with the packages and formations coming from Ravens OC Cam Cameron, and Flacco making the call at the line for what play to utilize based on the defensive alignments. However, I would say it was a pretty big step as it really does accomplish the same thing, maybe with a little bit of a safety net. But that’s okay, because if they keep it up, this will allow Flacco to learn more, from the successes and the mistakes.
Speaking Of Mistakes…
…Flacco did make a pretty major blunder. He was very candid about in his post-game, however, taking full responsibility— basically admitting to having his head scrambled. An end-around had been called, with a play-action fake to Ravens RB Ray Rice. Flacco got confused and tried to put the ball into Rice’s bread basket. Rice, who wasn’t expecting to have the ball, never even tried to grab it, and the ball was put on the ground. Luckily, it didn’t end up mattering much, but that’s still something that should only happen rarely (I never expect anybody to be absolutely perfect, only consistent).
Lateral Thinking, Part 2
The game was a lot closer than it seemed up until the 4th quarter when the Ravens defense scored 2 pick 6′s in the span of 11 seconds. The first one was when Ed Reed joined the 50 INT club, picking off Panthers emergency starter (and former third-string Raven) QB Brian St. Pierre. Reed made a very typical Reed-return, and of course, he’s still a dangerous, dangerous man. Seeing Ravens SS Dawan Landry rushing up the sidelines to provide blocking, and seeing that his own path at the time had a low probability of success, Reed lateraled to Landry. Considering Landry’s distance at the time and the fact that he wasn’t looking to be lateraled to, it ended up working out very well, with Landry snagging the pitched ball and getting to the corner pylon.
Thank You, Sir, May I Have Another?
On the next play from the line of scrimmage, St. Pierre threw another INT, this time to Ravens LB Ray Lewis. No laterals needed this time. If Reed’s pick six was the dagger, this was probably the guillotine. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen Lewis get himself an INT (though he seems to cause them a lot). I noticed one thing about it, but all things considered it stands to reason: Lewis is considerably slower to accelerate than he once was. He still has decent speed, but that acceleration has dipped.
The Other Reed
Specifically, the Ravens Rookie WR David Reed. I think they’ve finally found a kick returner this season. He had one very good return, but even the shorter ones showed that he’s got a more accurate handle on how to return in the NFL. Favoring north-to-south running over east-west, punching through holes instead of trying to cut around, etc. If the special teams are really starting to come together (and it wasn’t a by-product of playing the Panthers), this is the right time to build up momentum, for sure.
That’s all I have for this one, folks. Join me again next week…same Ravens Time, same Ravens Channel.