Ravens vs Eagles Review
Eagles 24 – Ravens 23
In a contest that lasted 3 hours and 38 minutes due to multiple scuffles, terrible calls that had to be reviewed, and two two minute warnings in the fourth quarter, the Ravens came up one point short against the Eagles. After this 24-23 contest, it’s becoming more and more evident every week that the NFL needs to get their referees back on the field.
The Ravens got out to an early 17-7 lead heading into the halftime, but couldn’t keep their momentum going in the second half. Their offense stalled and their defense couldn’t keep up with Mike Vick and the gang leading to a 21-6 advantage for the Eagles in the second half. The Ravens defense came up with some huge turnovers throughout the game, but Joe Flacco and the offense could only mustard 10 points off of three turnovers.
For the second week in a row, Vick led the Eagles on 4th quarter game winning drives and in both games escaped with one point victories. After the Sunday games, the Eagles stayed atop the NFC East standings while the Ravens fell into a three way share of the AFC North lead at 1-1.
Did the Keys Get the Car Rolling
1) Contain Vick and the Speedsters
Even though the Ravens came up with three turnovers, Vick and his crew kept moving the sticks and came up with scores when they were needed them most. Vick threw for 371 yards and rushed for 34 more to go along with a passing and rushing touchdown. DeSean Jackson kept finding holes in the defense in route to 114 yards receiving. The Ravens did do a good job in containing LeSean McCoy, keeping him under 100 yards and a mere 3.2 yards per carry average. Vick and the speedsters proved they were too much for the Ravens defense on this particular Sunday, as the Ravens inability to stop them in second half aided in their defeat.
2) Give Flacco the necessary time
The Ravens O-line only gave up 2 sacks Sunday, but Flacco was constantly hurried and could never establish the rhythm their no huddle offense had in week one. The Ravens had a nice rhythm in the first half as Flacco and the offense tallied 17 points, but the second half was quite a different story. The Eagles swarmed Flacco in the second half and that forced him into an 8 of 25 performance passing. Flacco didn’t get the time he needed and the results of the game showed just that in a 22 for 42 performance and a one point loss.
3) Control the Clock
In Sunday’s contest the Eagles dominated the flow of the game. The Ravens were only able to convert on 4 of 14 3rd down plays compared to 7 of 15 on third downs for the Eagles. That stat showed big time on time of possession as the Eagles controlled the clock by having the ball for 34 minutes with the Ravens only held it for 26 minutes. This contributed to quite the uneven balance of an offensive attack the Ravens threw at the Eagles. They threw the ball 42 times while rushing only 21. If the Ravens want to control the clock most games, they are going to need to even out their offensive attack, because as Sunday showed, an unbalanced attack can lead to notch in the loss column.
1) Limit Turnovers
Philadelphia didn’t limit their turnovers, but luckily for them their defense was able to contain the Ravens after those turnovers. They limited the Ravens to only ten points off of three turnovers which was huge in this one point affair. If the Ravens were able to convert their opportunities, this outcome could have been quite different. The lack of points off of turnovers in this contest probably had Ray Lewis and the rest of the Ravens defense fist punching their rage in a forest outside of Baltimore.
2) Establish McCoy and the Run Game
After the Eagles let Vick throw for over 50 attempts week one, they changed their game plan in week 2. The Eagles led a rush first attack against the Ravens, running the ball 41 times compared to only 32 passing attempts. Andy Reid wanted to establish the run game to open up the passing attack and he did just that. The rushing attack only garnered 129 yards, but it opened up some big play opportunities for the passing game which showed in their performance of 371 passing yards. The Ravens should take this page out of the Eagles book because it aided in the Eagles victory on Sunday.
3) Keep the Raven’s Defense Guessing
The Eagles definitely kept the Ravens guessing. Philly threw a great mix of run and pass at the Ravens and were able to gather 486 yards of offense because of it. In addition to their great blend of offense, they threw quite a few different looks at the Ravens. Five different Eagles rushed the ball and eight different receivers caught at least one pass. The Eagles kept the Ravens on their heels, especially in the second half, and they are the ones entering week 3 with a 2-0 record and not the Ravens.
Key Match-up of the Game
Michael Oher had his hands full against the Philly defensive ends. Sunday’s game was definitely a battle in the trenches as Michael Oher had to deal with Trent Cole all day. The Eagles defensive decided to primarily keep throwing the faster Cole at Oher while leaving Jason Babin at left end. Oher was able to hold Cole to only one sack, but that sack resulted in a lost fumble for the Ravens. Cole also had constant pressure on Flacco throughout the game which was key in holding the Ravens offense in check. This key match-up played in the Eagles favor, as did the final result of the game.
The Ravens and Eagles didn’t disappoint. This game was billed as one of the marque match-ups of the weekend and this one point contest had you glued to the TV screen the entire game, especially in the second half. Baltimore looked solid in the first half, but decided to lean a little too much on the passing game in the second half. On third and one and fourth and one on the final drive of the game, the Ravens decided to throw the ball instead of putting the ball in Ray Rice’s hands. One big turning point which tilted this contest in the Eagles favor was a controversial pass interference call that negated what would have been Jacoby Jones’s second touchdown of the game. If you were watching the game, you would have thought that it was going to be a pass interference call against the Eagles as the defender had his back turned to the quarterback the whole route. The replacement refs thought otherwise and the touchdown was called back resulting in only three points for the Ravens. This hard fought match-up was just the close game that we were expecting, but the Ravens game up just short.
The Ravens return to prime time next week as the New England Patriots travel to Baltimore in the Sunday night game. The Ravens and Patriots are coming off of losses in week two by a combined 3 points, so both teams will be looking to get back on the winning side of things in what is sure to be a heated rematch of the AFC Championship game from last season.