After first road win, Ravens focus on Packers

After first road win, Ravens focus on Packers
October 7, 2013, 9:30 am
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Terrell Suggs: "We stayed together."

UPON FURTHER REVIEW

The Ravens feel better about themselves after their first road victory of the season. However, they squandered a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, and nearly gave one away to a Dolphins team that was clearly outplayed.

Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs put the 26-23 win over Miami in perspective, when asked what it meant.

“Nothing if we drop one next week,” Suggs said. “We want to build momentum, we want to snowball.”

The Ravens have plenty to address before they host the Packers (2-2) and Aaron Rodgers this Sunday. Here is a look at what went right against the Dolphins, what went wrong, and what it means for the Ravens moving forward.

The good

1. Run defense

Miami got almost zilch from its running game, just 22 net yards. Except for a bad first half against the Bills, the Ravens’ front seven has been stout against the run all season, shutting down the likes of Arian Foster and Trent Richardson. Nose tackle Haloti Ngata is setting the tone with rock solid play in the middle. If the Ravens can shut down the Packers’ running game and make their offense one dimensional, it will give Suggs and company more opportunities to get after Rodgers.

2. There’s hope for the offense.

The Ravens scored on their first three possessions of the second half Sunday, including a 94-yard touchdown drive. It was their most consistent offensive stretch of the season. The offensive line still has issues, but Eugene Monroe should be ready to start at left tackle next week. Wide receivers Jacoby Jones and Marlon Brown may also be healthy enough to play against Green Bay, and tight end Ed Dickson is becoming a factor offensively. If the worst is over for the Ravens’ offense, maybe they can keep Rodgers off the field Sunday with a few time-consuming drives.

3. Justin Tucker

The Ravens’ placekicker is back to being one of the best, hitting four field goals Sunday, including three longer than 40 yards. Settling for field goals is not what the offense wants, but Tucker looks automatic again once he gets in range. If the Green Bay game comes down to a Tucker kick, the Ravens like their chances.

The bad

1. The defense is giving up too many big plays.

Ryan Tannehill connected on three passes longer than 40 yards Sunday. The Ravens’ secondary looked disorganized whenever Tannehill extended plays by scrambling. If that happens against Rodgers, the Packers are going to score plenty of points.

2. Pass protection

Joe Flacco got hit way too much Sunday. Flacco is tough, but he should not have to prove it every week. Bryant McKinnie struggled mightily at left tackle Sunday. Monroe joining the lineup should help, but that will not fix everything. Even if Packers linebacker Clay Matthews cannot play with the thumb injury he suffered Sunday against the Lions, the Ravens need to protect Flacco better.

3. The Ravens commit more turnovers than they cause.

Baltimore is -4 in takeaway-giveaway ratio, which makes the Ravens fortunate to be 3-2. Safety James Ihedigbo almost had an interception Sunday, but he landed out of bounds, and the Ravens’ defense did not force any turnovers. If the Ravens lose the turnover battle against Green Bay, they are less likely to win.