The Baltimore Ravens sent the Cincinnati Bengals meowing back home after defeating them 44-13 on Monday night.
After the game, my first thought was a flashback of last year’s season opener against the Steelers, when the Ravens handed them a whopping and beat them 35-7. However, with some reflection on the many historic achievements set last night, it was clear that this year’s season opener was by far the best I’ve ever witnessed in franchise history.
To name just a few, here’s some notables of yesterday:
- Ed Reed surpassed Rod Woodson as the NFL’s leader in interception return yards, with 1,497 yards (after his pick-6 for 34 yards). Another accolade to secure his place into the Hall of Fame.
- The Ravens scored 44 points, a franchise record in the season opener. The previous record was 38 points against the Chiefs in 2009.
- It was the first time in NFL history that 5 teams scored at least 40 points in the season opener. This definitely goes along with the trend that the league is becoming more offensive-based.
On top of the records, there are many other things to cheer about, including the explosive play by the offense and a solid effort by the defense. For the most part, excluding some potential interception plays that could have altered the game, Joe Flacco played outstanding. With 299 passing yards, 2 touchdowns and 72.4 completion percentage, Flacco earned a 95.1 QB rating. And what didn’t show on in the stats sheet was his ability to take control of the offense in no-huddle.
Defensively, it was great to see Ray Lewis and Ed Reed commanding this side of the ball. It wasn’t so much that their abilities were surprising, but rather their ability to keep that level of excellence even at their ages— they are the oldest members of the defensive unit. Actually, it was more of a comforting feeling to see the teams’ leaders lead. Lewis and Reed are the undisputed leaders, and last night’s performance was their way of letting the world know.
With all that said, bottom line is that this is Week 1 of the NFL. A sport in which a season is very long and grueling. So while it’s easy to get excited and hyped after a big win like this, it’s important to remember that there are 15 games left to play. The Baltimore Ravens must continue to improve in order to keep this level of play up for the entirety of the season. So for me, I’m going to wait and see what happens in the next few weeks before making any Super Bowl claims.