Welcome, Ravens fans, to the second installment of “Wednesdays with Walker.”
While I like to focus more on the upcoming game on the schedule, it’s impossible to write about the Ravens this week and not discuss Sunday’s annihilation of the Squeelers. I had the pleasure and privelege of attending the game, and here are some quick points I wanted to share before I get to the Week 2 game against the Titans:
- On a non-football note, the pre-game 9/11 commemoration ceremonies gave me chills. Powerful stuff, and an immense fan response from both the Ravens and Steelers supporters. Chants of “U-S-A” were the loudest ones of the day.
- The Ravens have the best home fans in the NFL. The noise levels are unbelievable, the spirit from each and every fan is there, and as a unit, the fans bring a serious 12th man dimension to the game
- I doubt I’ll ever see such an outstanding defensive performance again. Not only did the Ravens create seven (SEVEN!) turnovers, but they made Ben Roethlisberger a nervous wreck in and out of the pocket, which is quite a feat.
- Ricky Williams still has an awesome motor, and looked absolutely pumped to be a part of the Baltimore Ravens. He was chomping at the bit on the sideline to get carries, and was very productive with the ball.
- If the Ravens play with that type of heart in every game this season, and can execute HALF as well as they did on Sunday, no team in the NFL can beat them.
- The Steelers are not that bad. They’ll still be huge players in the AFC North, and the team and fans should take this beatdown with a grain of salt, due to the fact that something like this will never happen again.
Like Home away from Home
LP Field is very reminiscent of M&T Bank Stadium, in that the fans are extremely spirited, and the Titans have a great home field advantage whenever they play there. The Titans have a 52-28 home record at LP Field, and should be considered contenders any time they play there. Consider the fact that Sunday is their home opener, and realize the Ravens are going into extremely hostile territory only a week after they received such incredible fan support at home.
Bad Day for CJ2K
Chris Johnson is the most dangerous player in the NFL, and I don’t want to hear any arguments against that. He can literally score any time he touches the ball. While that has become sort of a football cliche for any player who is exceptionally fast, CJ is probably the only player in the NFL who truly has the ability to torch a defense so easily.
The Ravens need to contain him like they contained Rashard Mendenhall on Sunday. A big run here and there is inevitable, but long touchdowns or gains of more than 40 or 50 are unacceptable. Matt Hasselbeck is a serviceable quarterback, but it’s Johnson who would beat the Ravens’ defense.
The Ravens’ sophomore tight end combination of Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson is already having some success. The two combined for seven catches and 104 yards on Sunday, with Dickson catching a touchdown. Pitta’s hands are like magnets for a football (remind you of another Mormon tight end?), and Dickson’s versatility and speed make him a tough matchup.
Flacco seems to have a strong rapport with both of them, but it looks like Dickson will get the majority of targets this season. Don’t sleep on Pitta though, he’s a very good prospect, and one big game could give him the edge over Dickson. Regardless of who catches the bulk of the passes, Joe Flacco will be able to look to the tight end position as a security blanket this season in the same way that he has the past three years.
The Titans are pretty bad this season, but they’re nothing for the Ravens to take lightly. John Harbaugh always has the team ready to play against weaker opponents. I do worry about Chris Johnson however, because he only got nine carries last week for 24 yards, and as he gets more reps in practice and shakes off the holdout rust, he’ll be prime for a big performance. Hopefully it’s not this week.
I see the Ravens having some initial trouble with the crowd, and the team might come in feeling too high and mighty after Sunday’s win. Despite that, I think the team will finish the game strong, and leave the Nashville with a 27-20 win and a 2-0 record.
A side-note. Speaking of the Ravens’ awesome fans, check out this sick video:
Edgar Walker is a staff writer at Baltimore Sports Report, and a high school sports reporter for Essex-Middle River Patch. He joins The Purple Chaos each Wednesday. Follow Edgar on Twitter, if that’s your thing.