The Breakdown: Five Thoughts vs. Buccaneers


This space is usually reserved for Baltimore Ravens columnist John Eisenberg, but he is away for his daughter's wedding. Eisenberg will be back next week, and in the meantime, we're happy to get a breakdown from Ryan Mink.

Five thoughts on the Ravens' 48-17 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium:

This Team Thrives On ReboundingCall this The Rebound Game. The Ravens were coming off a deflating loss in Indianapolis in which their offense fell flat. Wide receiver Torrey Smith came under fire for his drops this season, and quarterback Joe Flacco's ability to perform on the road was questioned. Flacco threw five touchdowns in a nearly flawless game. Smith beat the Bucs with a string of slants and hauled in two touchdowns. The offense was explosive from the jump, putting up 28 first-quarter points that Flacco called "surreal." Even Jacoby Jones, who has been in a slump, had a long kick return in the second half. Add this to the way the Ravens responded to the Ray Rice ordeal and the myriad of injuries the team has absorbed already, and you see it's one resilient squad.

Flacco Can Catch Fire At Any TimeYou never know when Flacco is going to go off. It's almost like a switch is flipped, and on Sunday it was definitely on. Flacco planted his back foot and delivered on time and accurately all day. Flacco can frustrate with inconsistent play at times, especially on the road. But days like the one he had Sunday, in which he completed 21-of-29 passes for 306 yards and five scores, shows once again that he can shred an opponent on any given day. Flacco is all about winning, but he likes putting up big numbers too. If he has more days like Sunday, fantasy owners (and Pro Bowl voters) will take notice.

Offensive Line Has Depth
It was collectively assumed that left guard Kelechi Osemele would suit up for Sunday's game. After suffering a knee bruise last week in Indianapolis, the tough guy still finished the game. But Head Coach John Harbaugh commented this week that he feels the Ravens have developed great depth on their offensive line. They leaned on it Sunday, letting Osemele rest while fifth-round pick John Urschel started his first career game. Baltimore had Urschel and undrafted rookie James Hurst starting on the left side of the line. That's definitely not how they drew it up at the season's start. Harbaugh made sure to toss some credit to Offensive Line Coach Juan Castillo, who was in the crosshairs last season. Castillo deserved the props.

Sacks Prove Pass Rush Is Strong
The Ravens' pass rush was graded as the best in the league by analytical website Pro Football Focus (PFF). But Baltimore was tied for 26th in the league with only five sacks in its first five games. Something wasn't adding up. On Sunday, the Ravens' displayed that their pass rush is indeed legit – and that sacks are a lot better than just pressure. They helped Baltimore dominate field position, which in turn helped the offense's fast start. Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs got his first full sack of the season, and just about everyone got their hands on Bucs quarterback Mike Glennon, who took a staggering 15 hits.

Forsett Is The Top Guy
There's been chatter this week now that Bernard Pierce is healthy about who the Ravens' top running back will be. Baltimore split the carries between Pierce and Justin Forsett. Pierce had 15 carries for only 32 yards (2.1 average), and Forsett had 14 for 111 yards (7.9 average). Granted, a 52-yard run by Forsett at the game's outset skewed the stats, but he ran better throughout the game. Forsett is proving he's the bell cow. He's more slippery than Pierce and seems to hit the right seam more often. Pierce can still be an impressive hammer, as shown on his 4-yard touchdown smash in the third quarter.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content