– Ravens had a lot of factors stacked against them going into the game:
o They had to reshuffle their offensive line due to the injury to Ronnie Stanley.
o Marlon Humphrey was out due to COVID. That impacted Jimmy Smith’s role as well as requiring Terrell Bonds to get extensive playing time.
o Half of their defensive starters had not been allowed on the practice field during the week due to COVID protocols.
o They were coming off a deflating defeat at the hands of the Steelers where they dominated the statistics and felt they should have won the game.
o L. J. Fort was out with an injured finger requiring Harrison and Board to get more snaps.
o The Colts defense was the second best in the league at stopping the run.
o The Ravens offense (especially their passing game) had been lethargic lately and Lamar was under a lot of pressure to up his performance.
o There had been some uncharacteristic internal grumbling and finger-pointing lately (communication issues in the defensive secondary and Hollywood Brown taking to twitter after the last game to complain about not getting enough touches).
– To add to the above catalogue of woes, Calais Campbell goes down with a strained calf on the first offensive series and is lost for the game.
– Khalil Dorsey also headed to the locker room with a shoulder injury – further depleting our depth at cornerback.
– On our first offensive series every play was a near disaster. Boyle almost got killed on one of his classic hurdle plays. On third and 3, Lamar ran a slow-developing option where he was swinging the ball around in his left hand (unable to pitch it). Sometimes on critical third and fourth down plays, Lamar puts too much on himself rather than going to other options.
– Anthony Levine Sr. was great on special teams’ coverage units early in the game.
– Rivers was picking on Terrell Bonds (#38) early in the game.
– Hopefully Lamar doesn’t study the throwing mechanics of Philip Rivers – no pro quarterback has a poorer looking delivery.
– Chuck Clark gave up a pass interference penalty in the end zone that led to the initial one yard scoring dive play.
– I wondered whether Jimmy Smith would hold up on tackling running backs on the perimeter.
– Matt Skura apparently had cut his right thumb (was forced to get it taped and wear a glove). He was having trouble making accurate snaps throughout the game which threw off Lamar’s timing on certain plays.
– Justice Hill has only been seeing action on special teams. He had a face mask penalty on the punt coverage unit.
– Despite being dominated all quarter (registering only 19 passing yards and no rushing yards), the defense brought us even with a critical Scoop-and-Score courtesy of Juice Man (Marcus Peters) knocking the ball loose and Chuck Clark galloping to the end zone after vaulting over the prone figure of a disconsolate Philip Rivers.
– The strong defensive front of the Colts and their speed covering sideline to sideline made it difficult for us to generate any offense.
– Terrell Bonds had a good shot at an interception on a tipped ball that could have been a Pick-6 if he had been able to hold on.
– Rivers looks very comfortable in the pocket. We are not doing the best job holding the edge on some plays.
– Yannick forced one punt with a good spin move to the inside that put pressure on Rivers. We need some impact plays from our newest addition.
– Lamar’s first significant pass completion was a 13 yard strike down the middle to his security blanket Mark Andrews.
– Marcus Peters almost lost his head when there was a personal foul against the Colts for a shot to the head of Lamar as he was being tackled. Peters flew off the sidelines and had to be pulled back by teammates before the refs spotted his involvement. He was yapping big time. He is a powder keg about to explode.
– McPhee (#90) had a huge roughing the passer penalty to allow the Colts to escape the shadow of their own end zone.
– Judon found himself in a mismatch in a trailing position trying to cover a receiver 15 yards down the field.
– Elliott escaped being called for a penalty on a borderline hit on a receiver – he led with his shoulder instead of his helmet but it looked like the hit was high. I think the tight end Doyle ended up leaving the game with a concussion.
– We were fortunate to only be trailing 10-7 at the half despite only gaining 55 yards on offense on only 4 first downs – Very disappointing performance. Our defense kept us in the game.
– Game ball to Greg Roman for the offensive adjustments he made at halftime. The decision was made to go up tempo on offense and allow Lamar to dictate more of the dynamics of the offensive rhythm. This jump started the offense and proved the key to the game. Lamar played great in the second half – completing all 10 of his pass attempts and making better decisions in the running game.
– The Ravens took the second half kickoff and marched right down the field. Lamar’s passes over the middle were right on target. He also had a key 9 yard run.
– But with first and goal at the three yard line, the ball was poked out of Gus Edwards grip. Give credit to Hollywood for a hustle play on coming back to make the tackle and stop the defender from advancing the fumble. Despite the adversity, the Ravens responded well and continued to take control of the game in the third quarter.
– A second game ball goes to Coach Harbs for a crucial decision to challenge a potential interception by Marcus Peters. The TV commentators did not think the challenge would be granted but it turned out Peters maintained possession long enough while back-pedaling. It sure just looked like a normal dropped ball when viewed initially in live action.
– The Ravens switched on their Big Boy pound-and-ground mentality and Gus the Bus finally put the Ravens in the lead for the first time after multiple attempts from the one yard line.
– Elliott had a shot at an interception on a long pass where he was in good position, but he did not seem to make much of an effort to try to go and get the ball.
– We flushed Rivers out of the pocket on one third down play (should have sacked him) that caused him to overthrow an open receiver and forced a punt.
– This quarter saw the Colts held to only 1 yard of offense. It was a strange game that way.
– Early in the fourth quarter the Ravens put the hay in the barn when Lamar scored on a crafty naked bootleg (Great play call — my favorite play always). Mark Andrews had the block of the game as he drove his man deep into the end zone on the edge and pancaked him, allowing Lamar to slip out the back door and score uncontested.
– Our running game took control in the second half. We gained good yardage on first down to set up ideal situations for second and third down plays. We largely ran the ball up the gut since the Colts were shutting down the edges – although Lamar was able to pick up 5 yards a crack running to the sidelines.
– It was great to see Lamar play with bounce in his step. Now that we know how to fix the dead periods in the offense by going up tempo for a couple of series, maybe that will be a lesson that helps us long term.
– Judon made a nice defensive play when he pressured Rivers and hit his arm on a fourth down pass attempt that stopped a 12 play drive for no points.
– The rest of the game we just played out the clock and continued to shut the Colts down on critical plays. I would have used this low pressure situation to give Dez Bryant a couple of passes to let him get his feet wet after being away from the game so long.
– The third game ball goes to Coach Wink Martindale for his excellent defensive game plan that held the Colts at bay the entire game. This was a complete 60 minute effort by a unit that faced severe challenges throughout the week of preparation. This was a gutsy performance by a team facing a lot of adversity. It should prove to be a turnaround game that helps define their season.
– A couple of rookie defensive players showed marked improvement: Justin Madubuike and Malik Harrison.
– This was the first time the Ravens had won a game when they trailed at half time after 20 straight losses in that situation! Good to get that monkey off our back.