Wow, the Baltimore Ravens were nearly perfect in their destruction of the Oakland Raiders at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday. The Ravens’ 55-20 win set a franchise record for the most points scored in team history and the most by any team in the NFL this season.
It is hard to believe that the Ravens won their previous five games by a total of 23 points. Everything changed this week when the offense, defense and special teams all contributed to the win.
Asked how such a thing could happen, coach John Harbaugh replied, “I have no answer for that. Sometimes it just goes that way, right? Our guys made some plays.”
The Ravens looked like how we wanted them to play all season. Quarterback Joe Flacco was 21 for 33 with 341 yards and three touchdowns. He spread the love by throwing to all wide receivers and both tight ends. He did not play in the fourth quarter, instead backup Tyrod Taylor got some playing time.
Offensive leaders include tight end Dennis Pitta who had five catches for 67 yards and one touchdown. Wide receiver Torrey Smith had two catches for 67 yards and two touchdowns.
The Ravens also scored a touchdown on a fake field goal by holder Sam Koch and another on a kickoff return by wide receiver Jacoby Jones.
Running back Ray Rice only had 13 carries for 35 yards and one touchdown.
Since losing to the Houston Texans on October 21, the Ravens defense has only given up two touchdowns.
The defense still has issues with the pass rush; they held Raiders’ quarterback Carson Palmer to 368 yards. He went 29 for 45 with two touchdowns; he was pulled in the fourth quarter.
Ravens’ defensive coordinator Dean Pees pulled a few tricks from his hat. He moved players around; he had up to five linebackers on the field at one time. They were without defensive tackle Haloti Ngata who sat out with nagging shoulder and knee injuries.
While I thought the Ravens were likely to win the game, I had no clue they’d do it by so much. I still can’t figure out how they looked so good in that game, yet looked so bad in other games this season.
Yes, the Raiders are a bad team, but the Ravens have played other “bad” teams and barely squeaked out wins. They need to figure out a way to keep this up and carry the momentum into Pittsburgh when they head there Sunday night.
While I don’t feel like I learned anything from this game, I am hopeful that the coaches and players did and that they will take the lessons to Pittsburgh. I am done savoring the win, time to focus on next week.