Saturday, January 12, 2013

Ravens - Broncos Takeaways

On further review, it was cold
> PR Trindon Holiday's first quarter punt return touchdown looked like it was going to spark a rout, but, um, didn't

> Had the Broncos recovered the muff on the ensuing kickoff, we could have all gotten back many hours of our lives

> Ravens QB Joe Flacco hit WR Torrey Smith for one of those trademark bombs that keep the Ravens in games, and might end CB Champ Bailey's run of Pro Bowl appearances

> QB Peyton Manning's TAInt gave the Ravens a lead, and people who bet the Broncos to cover a big number their first clue that the afternoon was not going to go well for them

> The answering 13 play drive was classic Manning, with a 21-yard strike to TE Jacob Tamme being the big play

> One of the nice benefits of playing with Manning is that he'll bring you back from professional oblivion (Brandon Stokely) for playoff scores

> It turns out that Manning can throw with a glove on after all, considering that he's been a QB forever, at least in the first half

> The Ravens are getting guys open and hitting the TE for gains, but aren't running the ball well enough to control the clock

> Manning's second touchdown to RB Knowshon Moreno was downright surgical, but might have caused the injury that knocked him out of the game

> Now that we know t's OK to run from the sidelines on to the field without your helmet to join in touchdown celebrations, I expect some fine choreography from NFL teams in the future

> It's very important to check in with Ray Lewis whenever someone scores against the Ravens, so that we know that he's very sad about that

> If t's not snowing on the TV, no one cares if it's cold

> The way that the Broncos vary the speed of their offense looks simple to do, but really does say more about Manning than anything else

> Going for it on fourth and one while still staying in hurry up is downright ballsy, and the run up the middle by FB Jacob Hester worked without a measurement and survived a challenge, just to further convince Ravens Fan that the refs are out to get them

> K Matt Prater's pathetic chunk miss from 52 yards out opened the door wide for the Ravens to score before the half, and for Much Future Shenanigans

> WR Anquan Boldin's strength makes him a viable player years after his speed left

> Smith's second touchdown of the play made me wonder if Nnamdi Asomugha has gotten into Bailey's jersey

> Denver's defense collapsed so badly that it gave Manning a chance to score before the half

> Holliday's second return score of the day was downright shocking, in that I didn't think kickoffs were still allowed

> Dan Dierdorf lauded Lewis's leadership abilities as he made a tackle for a 5-yard gain, then picked up a DPI

> The Ravens lost a sack and fumble recovery because DE Terrell Suggs got called for hands on face on a borderline call that required a committee meeting, then was upped with another call just to see if the refs could make John Harbaugh's head explode

> This just in: Denver in January can be cold, and this can affect the game of football

> The Bronco offense was surprisingly tentative for a post-fumble possession in good field position

> Bailey was so intimidated by Smith, he gave up a third down on a slant that was beyond easy

> P Sam Koch's bomb halfway through the third changed field position without letting Holliday go to the house again

> Denver ran the ball twice for a yard in hurry up, and barely got it, which doesn't say much for the Ravens Getting Tired theory

> DT Haloti Ngata made Manning wear grass in his helmet and like it

> Manning rolled out to avoid Lewis and connect on third and long in a play that went about half the speed of how younger players perform it

> The Broncos lost Moreno to injury, which isn't going to help their blocking at all

> Denver was called for holding many seconds after a first down conversion, just to show that wildly delayed flags can happen for more than grounding

> The subsequent sack and fumble for DT Paul Krueger was not reversed into an incomplete pass, which means that it's still possible for Manning to fumble the ball

> Baltimore remembered it had RB Ray Rice just in time, especially since their OL was crushing

> Nothing makes color announcers happier than when a guy gets grass caught in his helmet

> Rice did the Terrell Davis salute just to prove that he knows how to go Road Guy Wrestling Heel

> The third and six with 12:30 left was Denver's best hope to win the game, since their defense was gassed... and they got a one-handed Boldin drop of an inaccurate Flacco throw

> Broncos RB Lance Ball showed that RB Ronnie Hillman isn't actually the worst in the league at blitz pick up

> Dreesen got 25 yards for a catch and helmet flag, which, given the way the Ravens were getting penetration, was a big damned deal

> WR DeMaryius Thomas was bailed out of a drop with a late hold for yet another Refs Hate Ravens moment

> Manning's read and simple throw to Thomas for a score was nice, in that we got to see Lewis lunge and fail

> Shockingly, an old road team's defense at altitude didn't look good in the fourth quarter

> Prater was a serious problem for the Broncos today

> Boldin was so open on a third down, even Flacco couldn't miss him

> On the third and five that they had to have, you need Flacco on the run to his third-best WR (Jacoby Jones)

> On the even more had to have fourth and five, Harbaugh bailed out his QB from a ridiculous delay penalty

> With the season on the line, TE Dennis Pitta got no separation and couldn't make a catch

> Denver chose to run it with 2 minutes left to take 45 seconds off the clock, shocking the CBS analysts who were convinced that Peyton Manning needs to be the hero, and that John Fox was conservative

> A terrible punt didn't help the conservative call

> Why Flacco is running for low yards with no timeouts left, we'll never know

> The scoring touchdown to Jacoby Jones might be the worst play ever by a defensive secondary that does not involve the 2012 Philadelphia Eagles

> The subsequent decision by John Fox to take a knee with two timeouts left might be the worst call ever by a football coach

> Baltimore won the toss, which was consolation for the terrible refs telling them they were still the visiting team

> A third down catch that might have been a drop by Boldin was kept, as the terrible on-field refs asserted their authority

> For once, it was the Ravens getting bailed out by a terrible DPI call (on Bailey, who really should just retire in mid-game) after an apparent stop

> On third and 2 from the Bronco 45, Flacco held the ball forever for an inexcusable sack, rather than just throwing it deep

> On third and 5 from the 20, Manning found Stokely on a wounded duck for a great catch by the WR and a first down

> Denver's willingness to just run on second and third and short was game-long and baffling

> Ed Reed's decision to field a punt at his 5, then get tackled there, was pretty inexcusable

> Both of these coaches handled overtime like it was a live grenade

> Flacco nearly threw a game-ending pick for no reason at all

> On third and 10 from the 6, Flacco didn't get a play off, which is, um, pretty inexcusable

> On third and 13 from the 3, the Ravens finally threw it a little deep, with Pitta taking advantage of S Jim Leonhard not having a clue for a game-changing conversion

> On third and 3, Flacco was nearly picked again

> Holliday's effort to play hero lost seven yards and gave Denver terrible field position

> Hillman got five yards on a Matrixy jump cut

> Manning's OT INT was the most inexcusable play yet in an overtime game that was literally chock-full of them

> Rice on a draw for the first down should be the killshot

> Harbaugh decided to go for no risk middle runs for the long figgie to end it

> K Justin Tucker ended it, rather than make the audience miss more of Niners-Packers for another OT period of fail

> We now get another week of Lewis and Reed hagiography, a fresh return of Tebow Hype, and the closest thing to a bye that a #2 seed will ever get

> Shockingly, Lewis made himself available to the media afterwards, was emotional, and equated his team winning a football game with the will of the Divine

> For a game that took over five quarters and was called by some as the best game ever, this was much more about mistakes than great plays

> Considering the age of the Ravens, home field and the opponent they are facing tomorrow, let's just say it... the Patriots are going to the Super Bowl yet again

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