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Week 2 Live Blog: Baltimore Ravens vs. Tennessee

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12:45pm:

Week 2 in the NFL is about to kick off, and I’m about to kick off the first time of actual live blogging of the game.  Last week I simply kept a running chronicle, this week, I’ll be updating the post every few minutes.  This should be fun!  Leave comments during the game, and I’ll see how much we can make this interactive as well.

As I prepare in pregame, I’m now pretty miffed at my cable provider.  Those in the Baltimore-Washington area know that we tend to get both markets local affiliate stations.  Well, this weeks broadcasts have national doubleheaders on Fox, with CBS only showing early games in local affiliates.  Not a problem for the cable user in this area, right?  We have handy WJZ-TV.  Yeah, for some reason, my cable provider only has the Washington CBS channel as an HD option, not WJZ.  I guess I should at least be happy I can see the game, but it’d be nice for it to be all pretty.

Ravens LG Ben Grubbs was officially listed as inactive during his game, and late preseason signee Andre Gurode will fill in for him.  After the stand-up-and-take-notice performance from the offensive line in week 1, hopefully this doesn’t throw the line out of sync for today’s showdown with the Titans.

1:05pm:

First possession of the game results in a 3 and out.  Andre Gurode doesn’t actually start, LeVoir does.  Now we get to see what Titans QB Matt Hasselbeck and the rest of the offense has for the Ravens D.  Or is that the other way around?

1:08pm:

A three and out for Tennessee as well.  Ravens hold on the punt return, and they’ll be starting in the danger zone.  The Ravens defense didn’t give the Titans any room to work at all on the first downs of the game.

1:14pm:

Ravens punt away again.  So far the Titans defense is having their way with the Ravens offense, and now the Titans offense starts out with good field position, the Ravens 47.  Hopefully the offense finds the rhythm they had against Pittsburgh soon.

1:16pm:

Interception!  NT Haloti Ngata tips the pass, it deflects off a Titan and goes right to DE Terrell Suggs.  That’s the kind et’s of spark the team needed after starting relatively flat.  Let’s see if the offense capitalizes.

1:19pm:

QB Joe Flacco has his first interception of the season, and it’s simply not a good one.  The offensive fails to capitalize, and in the worst possible way.

1:24pm:

The Ravens defense holds, and forces the Titans to punt.  I don’t think I would have figured this game to have started in a field position battle, but it has.  Not sure if the offense is flat (or out of sorts because they are missing Grubbs) or if the Titans are better prepared after seeing the Week 1 tape, but adjustments need to be made at this point.

1:26pm:

Congratulations to WR Lee Evans:  first reception as a Raven.

1:30pm:

Another lackluster series for the Ravens offense.  It was lengthened by an Unnecessary Roughness penalty, and there was a notable non call on a pretty clear case of pass interference.  P Sam Koch booms one (though a bad punt is the rarity from him), and the defense will get another shot.

1:38pm, End of the 1st Quarter, 0-0:

The Titans offense has gotten a few good plays in, but after a few penalties on both sides both help and hinder the drive, Tennessee is poised for a field goal attempt to start the third quarter.  I have to say I’m pretty disappointed by what I’m seeing so far.  The defense is doing the best, obviously, but they can’t be asked to hold up the team again. The offense needs to find its way again this quarter.

1:41pm:

The normally solid K Rod Bironas misses the 34 yard FG attempt, and the score remains 0-0.  The Ravens should take this gift and start moving the ball and putting points on the board.  Otherwise, they’re going to be looking at another let down game, like the Cincy game last season.

1:46pm:

Ugh.  Plain ol’ ugh.  The Ravens have their second turnover, when RB Ricky Williams is stripped, and now the Titans are once again within striking distance.  This is starting to really have all the earmarks of a huge let down game.  I hope they prove me wrong.

1:51pm, Titans 3 Ravens 0:

Defense bends but doesn’t break, and Bironas puts up the 3 points he couldn’t the last time.

2:01pm, Titans 3, Ravens 7:

Well, the offense is starting to look like they’re clicking.  The offensive line still looks splotchy, but they’re giving enough holes for RB Ray Rice, and enough time for Flacco, and on a well timed screen play, Rice has a nice run after the catch for the touchdown.  Whatever adjustments were made, keep making them.

2:11pm, 2 Minute Warning:

The Titans have moved down the field, partially on one heckuva catch.  It’s pretty obvious the Ravens need to hold on here, and only give up a FG, if that.  The touchdown was nice, but the Titans get the ball after the half.

2:24pm, Halftime, Titans 10, Ravens 10:

Titans WR Kenny Britt single handedly carves the Ravens defense up, and scores.  Ravens KR David Reed has a nice return on the ensuing kickoff, and then after a strip fumble on Flacco which he fell on top of, the Titans defense hands the Ravens field position by jumping on Flacco late.  This allowed the Ravens to at least get a field goal shot before the half, which they did, and K Billy Cundiff punched it through to tie it up going in to the locker room.

I hope HC John Harbaugh has his copy of “Motivational Speeches for Dummies” on him, because he’s gotta fire this team up.  They look uninspired, unfocused.  They look like they spent all of their mojo on the Steelers and are now taking the Titans lightly.  That’s a bad attitude in the NFL, especially when in the other guys house.  I think DC Chuck Pagano needs to think about pressuring Hasselbeck more.  Give him too much time, and he’ll find Britt.  Hurry him, mistakes will happen.

2:47pm, Titans 17, Ravens 10:

The Titans take the kickoff coming out of the half and march it right down the field, scoring on a pitch out on 4th and 1 from the 10.  The Ravens still look like they weren’t ready for this game, at all.

2:56pm:

After a nice play, a short pass to Ray Rice, the offense stalls out again, including a 3rd down play where Joe Flacco had to scramble around for his life before throwing the ball away.  The Titans have all the fire, and with each stop, with each positive offensive series, they get even more fired up.   This may not be the complete implosion the Cincinnati game was last year, but it’s surely not the kind of game you expect a top tier team to have.

3:05pm, Titans 20, Ravens 10:

The Titans settle on a FG, as the secondary problems continue.  The last play there was finally significant pressure on Hasselbeck, and if that can continue, maaaybe the Ravens can scrape some points together and pull this out.  But I have to be honest, at this point in the game, I’m not confident they’ll be able to do so.

3:18pm, End of the 3rd Quarter, Titans 20, Ravens 10:

The offense sputtered out again, putting the defense right back on the field.  They held, and it looks as if the Titans will punt it away when the 4th quarter starts.  The offense HAS to put together a solid drive and put a TD on the boards, or I think you can basically call the game.

3:21pm:

Flacco is intercepted by Titans CB Jason McCourty after a pass deflection by CB Cortland Finnegan, and is returned 30 yards.  That’s the 3rd turnover, and with lackluster play already a problem, you just aren’t going to win with a 3-1 turnover ratio.  Any score here, and the Ravens chances to pull this out reduce to “very very slim.”

3:27pm:  Titans 23, Ravens 10:

Bironas puts it through again, and stake the Titans to a 13 point lead.  I’m almost at a loss for words.  This doesn’t even look like the same team that dominated the Steelers last week.  It barely even looks like the team the Steelers beat in the playoffs last season.  As it stands right now, they should officially put this game in the football dictionary next to “let down game.”  If I might paraphrase Airplane!: “Looks like I picked a bad game to start live blogging!”

3:38pm: Titans 23, Ravens 13:

Cundiff puts another 3 on the board, but lets face it, that drive should have ended with a TD and not a FG.  And while WR Anquan Boldin did get mugged on a pass at the goal line that didn’t draw a flag (how’d the refs miss that one?) the delay of game penalty was unacceptable in this situation.  They were knocking on the door, and shot themselves square in the foot after having a great series to put them on the threshold.  Now they need to get another good, quick stop by the defense, and hope for the best.

3:46pm:

Titans convert and have a first down with a little less than 4 minutes to go, and you can pretty much book this game to Tennessee.  They’re moving the ball, running the clock, and even if they stall out, the Ravens will have too little time to score twice.

4:01pm: Final:  Titans 26, Ravens 13.

Egg: laid.

The Trenches

Last week, the line play excelled, Ravens win going away.  This week, the line puts off a smell that carries all the way back to Baltimore, they lose.  It’s not a cliche if it’s always true: the games are won and lost in the trenches.  On the offensive side, the loss of Grubbs really must have thrown the unit for a loop.  On the defensive side, save for the tipped pass on the Suggs interception, where was Haloti Ngata all game?  The amount of pressure put on Matt Hasselbeck was almost non-existent, and with a receiver like Kenny Britt given a couple extra seconds to get separation, a weakened secondary will look even weaker.

Can We Have Our Bye on Week 2?

I kid, but wow, back to back years having huge letdown games in Week 2, that’s simply annoying.  Didn’t help that the Steelers did what they they had to do, respond positively.  It’s a long season, but wouldn’t have been a lot nicer to look at next week 2-0?  Of course it would have.

Now, if you all will excuse me, I need to go wash that bad taste out of my mouth.  I’ll see you all next week.