Thursday, September 17, 2009

I know, I know. One week and I am already running late. Well, my anniversary is tomorrow, and I have had to finagle my schedule a bit in order to get a couple days off from both jobs. But I am here now with my "Better Late Than Never" analysis of Week 1. And in a word, my analysis, is the following...

That is for all the people who think that the sky is falling because of the final score of

Chiefs 24
Ravens 38

I am not one to say "the game wasn't as close as the final score indicates", because in the end it doesn't matter what the final score indicates other than the winner and the loser. And after a loss no one takes solace in how close the game was from a statistics perspective. Besides, the Chiefs, even when they had the lead, were never really in control of the game.

They got 7 points off of a blocked punt. That happens maybe 2 times in a year if the stars align for a team (or against a team if they are the ones getting scored on that way). They got 7 points off of an interception that the Chiefs defense returned to the 6 (and then got a mulligan when there was a penalty called on the Ravens that otherwise would have left them at 3rd and goal from the 4 or 5, with the very real possibility of them having to settle for a field goal. Interceptions are not THAT uncommon, but they don't happen every game, and most times they don't get returned 70 yards. And they got a field goal after Mark Bradley made what can only be called a highlight reel, circus catch against very solid coverage. You cannot defend against the improbable. All you can do is recover and hold from there, and that is exactly what the Ravens did. All in all, they gave up only 11 first downs and 188 total yards of offense. Those are numbers that ANY team would gladly accept and take their chances as to what the final outcome would be.

The offense was a surprise, mainly because they threw the ball 43 times (and since their offensive strength is the running game, it led to some raised eyebrows). Flacco looked pretty good, but it is obvious that the middle third of the field is still a work in progress as far as his comfort level in throwing the ball. He threw it high over the middle more than a few times (most noticeable when he was trying to dump off the ball to Ray Rice, who is not exactly at Manute Bol levels). A good defense (like the Steelers) would have had 2 or 3 interceptions on some of those passes. Todd Heap was able to make some nice plays when he wasn't staying in for max protect, but he should have held on to the ball down in the red zone (inside the opponent's 20 yard line) in (I think) the 3rd quarter. McGahee is playing like a man who will be looking for a job next year (which is in all likelihood a fact). And as a point of interest, the 1st touchdown (the one where Flacco ran around in the pocket and eventually rolled to the left and then hit McGahee for a 1 yard TD pass was not nearly as improvised as it may have seemed. To wit, check out THIS link.

I do think a lot of things were kept in Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron's back pocket as far as plays we will see a lot of this year. This is a team that ran the Statue of Liberty play in the PRESEASON, so expect lots of wrinkles as Cameron continues to see what his players are doing best, and how it matches up against what the defense they are facing and THEIR strengths. Add to that the fact that the Ravens are playing the San Diego Chargers (IN San Diego), a team with a much better defense (the one that I have on my fantasy team, TYVM), and you can put two and two together and get Cam not wanting to show his hand just yet.

Tomorrow I have a 50/50 chance of getting to the computer with enough time to give Week 2 a thorough once over, so look for my article on Saturday.

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