Initial Impressions: Ravens Beat Buffalo
The Baltimore Ravens began their 2016 season with a 13-7 win over the Buffalo Bills.
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1st Half Notes:
– In the first half, Flacco completed 13 of his 19 attempts. Was able to spread the ball around effectively, with 8 different Ravens having grabs.
– Wallace had 2 receptions for 82 yards, including a 66 yard strike to the house. Perfectly placed by Flacco with Wallace able to run to the ball.
– Was fun seeing Perriman’s first NFL grab, for 35 yards down the sideline. He went up and pointed the ball at it’s highest position, fighting off the CB.
– Late in the first half, Pitta had his first reception since 2014. Just remains a remarkable story. If he stays on the field, he should be expected to produce.
– Forsett has retained his quicks. Still has that good burst, with the ability to turn the corner. West had several encouraging runs.
– Tackling was a significant issue for Baltimore last year. Right away in the Bills opening series, we saw the Ravens wrapping up. Wright with two nice tackles. Thought throughout the first half we saw the defense doing a nice job of gang tackling and running to the ball.
– On the other-hand, McClellan had a chance to wrap up Taylor for a sack, but missed. Taylor was able to get the ball down the field to set up 1st and Goal. On 4th, Buffalo found the end zone to make it 10-7.
– Not the best first half for the Offensive Line. Several false starts, and a botched snap.
– Timmy Jernigan got to do some dancing in. Big 3rd down sack early in the 2nd Q.
– Tucker was good on his first attempt of the year, from 50 yards out.
– While it felt as if Baltimore had been in-control, the Ravens went to the locker-room only up 3.
2nd Half Notes:
– Jimmy Smith was penalized early in the 2nd, and looked uncomfortable physically.
– Biggest issue for the O-line in the 1st half was sloppiness. In the 2nd, we started to see Bills D-line win battles at the line of scrimmage consistently.
– Suggs got his first sack of ’16, after missing effectively all of last year.
– A 4th and 1 at the Bills 42 went incomplete late the 3rd.
– Baltimore entered the 4th Quarter with just 15 carries by their backs. Not the better offensive balance which has been talked about, which immediately again starts the questions about Trestman’s commitment to running. One of the reasons I think the Bills D-line was having success getting pressure, was that they were able to pin their ears back and go after Flacco.
– Chris Moore got his initial catch in the 4th Quarter. He became the 10th different Raven with a reception on the day.
– Pretty connection from Flacco to Pitta for 27 yards down the seam in the 4th.
– A 4th Special Teams penalty from Buffalo, took Tucker’s second FG off the board, and gave Baltimore a 1st down at the 13 yard line of the Bills. The Ravens were not able to take advantage of the field position, and Tucker would again kick a FG – which this time counted. This put Baltimore up 13-7 with under 6 minutes left. Adding to frustration of the series as a whole, was that Flacco and Wallace were not able to connect on a would be TD. CBS Sports’ Solomon Wilcots pointed out Flacco being flat-footed several times.
– Not an ideal TO from the Ravens with 3:09 left.
– Forsett had an important run on 2nd and 9 with 2:30ish left, setting up 3rd and 1 after the 2 minute warning. West was able to grind out the 1st, and control the clock.
1) Baltimore’s defense showed up today. Good work against Taylor, McCoy, Watkins, and company. I thought the increased athleticism on the defense was noticeable. I was particularly pleased with what the Ravens defense did after Tucker’s 2nd FG. Up just 6 points, Baltimore didn’t go into a shell. They stayed aggressive, and were running together to the ball. Forcing the punt there with under 5 minutes left was huge.
2) Buffalo’s defense got to Flacco 4 times day.
3) Smith Sr. had 5 receptions, but for just 19 total yards (3.8 yard per catch).
4) While I would have liked to have seen a larger commitment to running the ball, I loved how Baltimore moved the ball around to numerous receivers.
5) Baltimore got win #1 against another AFC team, which also has playoff aspirations.
CB J. Powers
RB K. Dixon
CB W. Davis
RB J. Allen
OLB E. Dumervil
OL J. Urschel
DT W. Henry
Next-week: @ Cleveland.
Chris Stoner founded Baltimore Sports and Life in 2009. He has appeared as a radio guest with 1090 WBAL, 105.7 The Fan, CBS 1300, Q1370, WOYK 1350, WKAV 1400, and WNST 1570. He has also been interviewed by The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Business Journal, and PressBox (TV). As Owner, his responsibilities include serving as the Managing Editor, Publicist, & Sales Director.
You can reach him via email at [email protected].