Rewind: Ravens-Titans

Rewind: Ravens-Titans
September 19, 2011, 3:28 pm
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By John EisenbergRavens

Looking back at the Ravens 26-13 loss to the Tennessee Titans at LP Field:

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Trying to put a positive spin on a bad day, linebacker Terrell Suggs said, The only thing this proved was something we already knew: that we arent going to go 16-0.

With all due respect, the Ravens proved something else with Sundays flop: that they arent yet consistent enough to be regarded as an elite team.

In the seasons first two weeks they have demonstrated the full range of their talents how high they can go (week 1) and how low they can go (week 2). Theyll likely settle into the middle ground as the season unfolds, and where they settle, closer to last weeks high or this weeks low, will tell the tale of their season.

Either way, the key is that they do settle somewhere, into somewhat of a consistent pattern, as opposed to careening through these dramatic highs and lows. That will get them nowhere.

Performances: The Good
Lardarius Webb -- The cornerback was beaten on a couple of passes but at least he played with a fierceness many of his teammates lacked. He led the team in tackles, by far, for a second straight week.

David Reed His 77-yard kickoff return late in the second quarter was the play of the day for the Ravens, setting up a score that had them tied and feeling good at halftime. In all, he totaled 125 yards on three returns. But he left the game with an injured shoulder.

Ray Rice He broke a big play for a touchdown, had 96 total yards on 18 combined rushing and receiving touches and did yeomans work in pass protection, battling the blitzers crashing in on Flacco.

Performances: The Not So Good
Joe Flacco Although he was often under pressure, the composure and command he exhibited in the opener were not in evidence, and he forced a pair of throws that resulted in crucial interceptions. His inconsistency is maddening.

Secondary A rough day for all involved. Ed Reed was a step slow on several key plays. Cary Williams got picked on. Domonique Foxworth got mugged on the touchdown pass to Kenny Britt. Jimmy Smiths absence was keenly felt.

Offensive line A rough day for all involved here, too. Michael Oher reverted to form with a pair of false-start penalties. Bryant McKinnie didnt open many holes. Why replace Ben Grubbs with career backup Mark LeVoir instead of Pro Bowler Andre Gurode?


Tennessee cornerback Cortland Finnegan: I grew up loving Ray Lewis, and the Ravens defense has always been something to reckon with and talk about. But I think there were guys on this team that knew what we wanted to do as a defense. When we go out and execute a game plan, were a pretty good defense, too.

Flacco: We have got a really good team in there and if we didnt respond well to this, I would be pretty disappointed in our guys and myself for letting that happen. I think we are better than that.

Facts and opinions:
Fact: The Titans believed the game turned when their head coach, Mike Munchak, eschewed a field goal and went for it on fourth-and-one at the Baltimore 10 on the first drive of the third quarter. The Titans scored a touchdown and never trailed.

Opinion: Cam Camerons worst play-call came on third-and-two at midfield with the Ravens down by 10 late in the third quarter. Flacco faded to his right and threw back across the field for Ed Dickson. It was laborious, slow developing, easily read and the pass fell incomplete.

Fact: The Ravens are ranked 28th in the league in pass defense and 25th in total offensive yardage through two games.

Opinion: It's still really early in the season, but this loss raised the stakes for next Sunday's game in St. Louis. A second straight loss by the Ravens would put them 1-2 going into their week 4 grudge game against the Jets. Hardly ideal.

Follow John Eisenberg on Twitter at @CSNEisenberg