The Green Bay Packers are leaving Baltimore 19-17 victors over the Ravens. The Ravens fall to 3-3 on the year, and will now prepare for their last game prior to the bye; next Sunday in Pittsburgh.
(You can discuss this post on the BSL Board here.)
What did we see?
1) It continues to surprise me that going from Birk (at the end of his career) to Gradkowski is impacting the Ravens as much as it is. However, Gradkowski is just repeatedly blown off the ball. Of course nobody else on the line is playing particularly well either. After last week, I expected to see Shipley. The inability to run between the tackles is just crushing. Combine that with a pass rush consistently in Flacco’s face, and everything with the offense is impacted. Green Bay is not a great pass rushing team, and with Matthews out of action, the performance from the Baltimore O-line was again a disappointment. Flacco was sacked 5 times.
1a) There were a couple of moments today where I picked out Monroe, and thought he stood-up well in pass blocking.
2) The line is playing poorly, and not opening up any running lanes; but I’m not sure Rice or Pierce could explode through the holes right now if they did. I think it is clear that both RB’s are dealing with injuries and just trying to gut things out. There is no burst, or suddenness from either one. Neither one is capable of pounding through the tackles right now. It was good to see signs of life from Rice in the 4th though. Better play design? Also, Rice and Pierce combined for 5 catches for 37 yards.
2a) I’d like to see more pitches outside. I’d also like to see the Ravens spread the field with their receivers vertically, pulling defenders from the box. Baltimore has receivers capable of stretching the field, but again that gets back to giving Flacco time to throw.
3) The Ravens defense continues to improve weekly, with all three units (DL, LB, Secondary) providing contributions. There should be plenty of optimism with this group over what they can do the rest of the year.
3a) The breakout season for Art Jones continued. Dumervil added 2 sacks.
3b) It certainly helped that J. Jones and Cobb were knocked out of action, but the Ravens Secondary held up pretty well against the various Packers weapons. Lots of single coverage.
3c) Part of the reason the Ravens Secondary generally performed well in 1×1 coverage (outside of Jones and Cobb leaving the game), was that the Front 7 was providing a consistent pass rush. The crowd noise helped things, and Rodgers was impacted by the pocket collapsing in-front of him.
3d) We said the Secondary generally preformed well above, but it is hard to get past the 64 yard TD reception from Nelson. With Jones and Cobb out of the game, you have to make someone outside of Nelson beat you. Webb and others bit on the play fake, and Safety help was no where to be found. After the Ravens made it 19-17; Finley beat Elam on 3rd and 3 for 51 yards to basically end the game.
4) It was good to see Jacoby Jones back in action, good KR on his first play of the day. On the Ravens second series, he gained 31 yards over the middle. In the 4th Quarter, he ran past his defender to make his catch in the corner of the end zone. Great cap to the Ravens 80 yard drive.
4a) Doss had another strong PR. Doss’s 63 yard catch on 4th and 21 gave the Ravens a chance.
4b) With Jones, and Doss; the Ravens may have return weapons the rest of the year.
5) The Ravens aggressively went for it on 4th down in the 2nd Quarter, and as the half was ending; aggressively tried to go down the field. Both plays cost the Ravens points.
6) That 2nd Quarter Goal line series was sad. Despite going heavy, Baltimore was not able to move the line. Thought there was an opportunity to use play action on 2nd down. I would have taken the points, but I had no real problem going for it on 4th down. I did find trying to again run up the gut to not be overly inspiring.
7) Clark had a 45 yard gain, and later followed that up with a good catch and move early in the 4th. With 2:04 left, Clark made a very nice reception for the Ravens 2nd TD.
7a) After his 51 yards last week, I was hoping to see Dickson build on that today. Didn’t happen.
8) J. Smith had a great interception, immediately followed on the next series by a horrible missed tackle in space.
9) When the Packers took a 9-0 lead with 6 minutes left in the 3rd Quarter, you could empathize with those Ravens fans who thought things might be out of reach for the Ravens at that time. That’s not good.
10) The 59 yard catch and run from Brown was great to see. The Rookie has shown an array of skills when he has been on the field.
11) Green Bay obviously came into the game with the strategy of not allowing T. Smith to beat them. (Smith’s first catch did not come until late in the 3rd Quarter.) The Ravens can expect to see more of that going forward. If Smith is getting additional coverage on him, there should be opportunities for others. Have to continue to establish the other receivers. The play Brown, and Jones today was a start. Hopefully that can become consistent, with Thompson and Doss also working their way in.
12) Jones’ TD made it 16-10 GB with 11:52 remaining. Green Bay answered with a long drive, marching down the field and chewing up time. Eventually Crosby would hit a FG to make it a two possession game with 4:17 left. Part of that is on the Ravens defense. Some credit goes to Rodgers and the Packers offense for making plays. Some blame there falls on the Ravens offense for not doing more on offense. The lack of offensive production placed a lot of cumulative pressure on the Ravens defense. They looked tired on that Packers drive.
13) Baltimore was horrible on 3rd down today, routinely facing 3rd and long.
14) Rodgers made several plays today with his legs.