I woke up today feeling sick. Not 100% sure it’s from watching last night’s game, riding the roller coaster called the Ravens defense, but I’m about 87% sure that’s it. As nauseated as I am, here are my thoughts on a great Thursday Night Football game:
- It’s not the refs’ fault – I’m not going to sit here and rant about how the referees blew last night’s game for the Ravens. Realistically, the Ravens blew the game for the Ravens. After only playing 1 half of the game and poor defensive play-calling/execution, did the Ravens really think they should win? It was a close game, no doubt, and that comeback by Flacco to take the lead was more than impressive, but it isn’t enough to win on the road in the NFL against one of the top-3 teams in the NFC. Bravo to Matt Ryan and Roddy White.
- It’s the refs’ fault – Okay, I’m going to rant a little. How can you screw up everything on that last drive (i.e.: Suggs’ facemask, White’s push-off twice)? And I don’t have the film to prove this, but there were 0 holding calls on their offensive line, against Haloti Ngata? Falcons had 1 penalty for 5 yards, which attests to the Falcons’ discipline… and the refs’ misguided eyes. Even my non-Ravens-fan friends were crying foul over the game’s biggest calls. The NFL seriously needs to consider referee accountability. In a world where the NFL can fine upwards of $50k for a player miscue gives 0 reprimand for the
menboys in stripes. I mean, who knows what is said behind closed doors in those officials’ meetings, right? I heard an official say something along the lines of “Refs aren’t there to make every call right,” when asked about this issue by NFL Network’s Rich Eisen. Bizarre, especially with the commercial break stuff (I believe they used the booth review last night on Heap’s TD so they can get more commercials in). Anyway, just so you know, I brought up this issue about refs earlier this week, before the Ravens lost.
- NFL Network Needs Help – Not only did they get the game going a good 15 minutes after the scheduled time, the rest of the game was riddled with mistakes and poor commentary. How many times did they mix up players’ teams, let alone names? If last night’s broadcast was turned into a drinking game, everybody would’ve been dead by the end of the night. And WOW, didn’t anybody else find that DVD discussion a bit disturbing? If I was Matt Ryan, I’d get a restraining order worked out ASAP. Not going to lie, it was the worst production I’ve witnessed for a primetime football game. Luckily for them, the epic-ness of the game probably overrode the memories of the guys in the booth – Unfortunately for us, the game was on NFL Network, so most of America missed a great primetime showdown.
- Ravens’ Coaching Staff – Yikes. Greg Mattison, the defensive coordinator, isn’t doing something right. If the Ravens’ defense is becoming known for very-possible 4th quarter comebacks, I really wouldn’t look too much at the players. Sure, the personnel on the field may not be the best, but the Ravens had worse before and still managed to be a dominant defense. On the other hand, our offense has been great this season compared to seasons past. Flacco is really stepping into his role as the offensive leader of the team, but really, what in the world is Cam Cameron thinking? With all the hype surrounding Cameron’s genius play-calling, I’m flabbergasted (yea, it’s that bad) when I see the run-to-pass ratio. Are you kidding me? Ray Rice was eating yards on every carry and the Ravens finished with over 5 YPC, and yet, we ran the ball 1/3 of the plays. Let the offense develop early with the run game, Cameron. Special teams? Or lack thereof? Jerry Rosburg and John Harbaugh need to address some major issues.
- Matt Ryan – First of all, “Matty Ice” is a horrible nickname for him. Who coined that one? That’s almost as bad as the NBA’s Glen “Big Baby” Davis and Kobe “Black Mamba” Bryant. Anyway, Ryan produced possibly his best performance since being in the NFL. He was in control of the entire game, drank up the time of possession, and feasted on the Ravens’ secondary. Besides all the Manning comparisons by the wonderful (sarcasm) commentators, Ryan has shown a glimpse of what he’s capable of. He may not be a Peyton, but the Falcons have found their franchise quarterback. Ravens can claim the same about Flacco, although in a slightly less convincing manner. Wish both continued success.
As the Ravens fall 1/2 a game behind the Steelers in their division, the Falcons rise up to take a secure hold of the NFC South. I don’t doubt either of these teams are Super Bowl contenders, and if they happen to see each other again this season, be prepared for an epic rematch.