Posts Tagged ‘Todd Heap

02
Nov
10

Where They Stand: Baltimore Ravens

By Jesse Jones

After eight weeks of the 2010 NFL season, the Baltimore Ravens stand atop the AFC North with a record of 5-2. They have huge wins at New York (Jets), and at Pittsburgh, but have two close, tough losses at Cincinnati and at New England.

The Ravens are coming off their bye week this weekend, and the second half of the season is underway. So where does Baltimore stand in the NFL? Let’s take a look.

Schedule

Baltimore played four of their first seven games of the season at home, which means they play 5 games at home compared to four on the road to end the season.  They have three primetime games left, two of which are on the road (Thurs, Nov. 11 at Atlanta, Monday, Dec 13 at Houston), and a Sunday night game at home against Pittsburgh.  They also host the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints December 19.

This weekend, Baltimore faces the Miami Dolphins, who are 4-0 on the road.  They just won in Cincy this past weekend, and look to stay unbeated on the road and in contention in the AFC East.  Four days later, the team must travel to Atlanta to face the NFC South leading Falcons.  This is going to be one of the toughest stretches of the season, as Baltimore will face two good teams with very short rest.

The other tough stretch left for the Ravens will be a three-game stretch where they host the Steelers, then have to travel to play Houston on a Monday night, and then come home for a game against the Saints.  The Steelers are Baltimore’s biggest rival, and the game is always very emotional.  Houston is a very explosive team and is very competitive at home.  And do I have to talk about the Saints?  An offensive juggernaut who won the last Super Bowl.

The other games should be favorable for the Ravens.  They play at the currently 1-6 Panthers, host the Buccaneers (yes, I know they are 5-2, but they are not one of the best teams in the league), play in Cleveland and host the Bengals to wrap up the season.  Baltimore has owned Cleveland much of this decade, and the Bengals are looking pretty bad right now.

Players

Joe Flacco is having a pretty solid year so far.  His first two games were sloppy, throwing for only one touchdown compared to five interceptions.  But since then, Flacco has thrown nine touchdowns compared to only one interception.  He has showed great maturity, completely dominating New England in a game that some claim the defense lost, and leading the team to a last-second win in Pittsburgh, a place Flacco had not won before, throwing the game winning touchdown.

Ray Rice is having a quiet season, only rushing the ball 131 times for 523 yards and 2 touchdowns.  However, he is averaging 4.0 yards per carry, and Baltimore has seen Flacco throwing more and more.  Ray Rice is still a great running back, and when his number is called, he will show up.

Anquan Boldin has been a very solid addition to this Baltimore Ravens offense.  He has 38 receptions for 518 yards and 5 touchdowns.

Todd Heap has been healthy again, and is showing that he is still the player he used to be.

Ed Reed is back ladies and gentlemen.  In his first game back, and only game of the season so far, his impact was unquestionable.  He had two interceptions, has fresh legs and brought security to the secondary.  Look for this impact to continue.

Ray Lewis.  Enough said.  He has come up huge when Baltimore has needed him to.  He put a huge hit on Dustin Keller at the end of the game in New York, had the game-clinching interception in Pittsburgh, and had a strip in overtime against the Bills that gave the ball back to Baltimore which set up the game-winning field goal.

The Baltimore Ravens stand second in the AFC.  They control their own destiny.  The division is theirs to lose, and they are only one game out of first place in the conference.  Yes, the Ravens have tough games to play, but no game is certainly out of reach for this team.  The goal at the beginning of the season was the Super Bowl, and they are on track for a long run in the playoffs.

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26
Oct
10

Ravens Escape Bills In “Trap Game”

Billy Cundiff Celebrates His Game-Winning Field Goal

By Jesse Jones

After coming off a very emotional loss in New England, being one game away from the bye week, Ed Reed returning for his first game of the season, and having the 2000 Super Bowl winning team being honored at halftime, there were many ways for the Baltimore Ravens to overlook the Buffalo Bills Sunday.

And it seemed the team did just that.

The Ravens took an early 3-0 lead thanks to a 41-yard field goal by Billy Cundiff, but the momentum quickly changed.  The Bills took a 10-3 lead heading into the second quarter behind a 33-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Lee Evans on the Bills following drive, and then forced a fumble on the kickoff which resulted in a Bill’s field goal.  In the beginning of the second, the Bills stretched their lead to 17-3 thanks to another 33-yard touchdown pass, only this time the pass was completed to Steve Johnson.

This is when the game turned into a shootout.

Baltimore responded on their next drive and cut the lead to a touchdown thanks to a Flacco-to-Heap 26-yard touchdown pass.  But, as they had done all first half, Buffalo scored yet another touchdown, this time a 20-yard pass from Fitzpatrick to Lee Evans again.  Baltimore scored a field goal and cut the lead to 24-13 on their next drive.  Then, CJ Spiller fumbled the kickoff and Josh Wilson recovered.  Flacco found Heap again for a 14-yard touchdown with 48 seconds left in the half, and went into halftime down only 24-20.

Baltimore kicked the ball off to the Bills to start the second half, and the first play of the drive was a Fitzpatrick interception to who else but Ed Reed.  The very next play was a 34-yard flea flicker touchdown pass from Flacco to Anquan Boldin, which put the Ravens up 27-24.  After stopping Buffalo on their next possession, the Ravens grew their lead to 34-24 thanks to a 2-yard touchdown by Willis McGahee against his former team.

Game over right?  Wrong.

Just as they did against New England, the Baltimore pass defense gave up a 10 point lead in the fourth quarter.  Fitzpatrick found Lee Evans for the duo’s third touchdown of the game, and the lead was cut to 34-31 Ravens.  Then, with four seconds left, Buffalo added a field goal to send the game into overtime.

After the Ravens did nothing with their chance to end the game, Buffalo began to move.  After a 19-yard pass that got the ball to their own 41 yard line, Fitzpatrick completed a 4-yard pass to Nelson, and this is where the controversy begins.  Nelson seemed to be stopped for a brief moment, but the Bills players ran to the pile and kept pushing him forward.  As he was being pushed forward, Ray Lewis stripped the ball from him and gave Baltimore control of the game. 

The ruling on the field was a fumble, and Baltimore ultimately kicked the game-winning field goal to win the game 37-34 and improved to 5-2 on the season.

The game was definitely not a good one for the pass defense.  The Bills, who had the worst offense in the league, scored 34 points and threw for four touchdowns, all of which came against Fabian Washington, and the defense as a whole allowed for over 500 yards of total offense, the first time that has happened since 2000 against the New York Jets.

However, the team forced 4 turnovers, 2 of which came from Ed Reed interceptions, the Ray Lewis strip, and CJ Spiller fumble.

The offense also was in sync, as Flacco threw for 250 yards and 3 touchdowns.

The Ravens got the win, but it was not impressive.  Yes, Ed Reed had a huge game, and classic in his case, grabbing two interceptions, and they came back from a 24-10 deficit to get the lead by 10, but gave up that lead for two straight games.  Add to that the fact that the Bills were 0-5 heading into the game.

Baltimore definitely had some luck in getting the win, but sometimes, in the National Football League, you need luck, you cannot always rely on talent alone.

Baltimore is now in it’s bye week, and will look to get healthier and clean up the defense.

Stay posted for an upcoming post on the state of the team.

29
Aug
10

Standouts From Ravens Win Over Giants

By Jesse Jones

The Baltimore Ravens looked very impressive in last night’s 24-10 win over the New York Giants.  Quite frankly, it was the best game they have played all season, despite winning their first two games.

The first series for the Ravens’ starting offense was one to forget, and that is exactly what they did for the rest of the half.  The offense put together three consecutive scoring drives (Cundiff FG, Boldin TD, Heap TD) and went into halftime leading 17-0 (the defense played very well for the most part).

In the second half, Joe Flacco only played one series and then it was the backups turn.  The only score from the backups came from a Troy Smith touchdown pass to Marcus Smith.  In the end, the Ravens won 24-10.

So what can we learn from this preseason game?  Well here you go:

  1. Joe Flacco looked very impressive, and the passing game was huge against an improved Giants’ secondary.
    • Flacco was 21-34 for 224 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 INT at the end of the first half. (89 QB rating)
    • Boldin caught his first TD as a Raven, and had 4 receptions for 52 yards total, with a long of 22 yards
    • Heap had his best preseason game ever (it’s something right?), catching 6 balls for 69 yards and a TD, with a long of 21 yards
  2. Donte’ Stallworth was the leading candidate for punt returns it seemed, as he returned every punt until he broke his foot.  He’s expected to be out for two months.
    • This does not mean that the passing attack will fall short of the hype.  Stallworth was likely to be the 4th receiver, as Mark Clayton has had his best training camp and preseason ever, and looks prime to be the slot receiver.
  3. Mark Clayton did suffer a mild concussion last night.
    • This injury is not reported to be serious at all, and Clayton should be ready for the opening game.
  4. The offense improved it’s third down conversions slightly from last week’s game.
    • The team was only 4-15 as a whole on third down, but with the starters, Baltimore was 3-3 on 4th down.
  5. Despite coming off a broken ankle suffered at the end of the season, safety Haruki Nakamura is having an incredible preseason.
    • He had a 51 yard fake punt run against the Skins last week, and had an incredible INT last night, accompanied by four pass deflections.
  6. Chris Carr filled in well on the outside for Lardarius Webb.
    • Carr has been the main nickleback for the team, but with Webb still getting into game-shape and not wanting to rush anything, Carr got the chance last night to prove to everyone he could help solidify the secondary.  He had 8 total tackles, 6 of them solo, and one sack on Eli Manning.
  7. The defense showed signs of poor tackling when trying to bring down Brandon Jacobs.
    • This was a problem at times last season, and everyone hopes it will not continue.

In the “dress rehearsal game” for the starters, the Baltimore Ravens looked very good.  Don’t expect any starters, or anybody with any injury concern, to play Thursday night against the St. Louis Rams.

29
Dec
09

Their Own Worst Enemy

Derrick Mason Dropped A Wide Open Go-Ahead Touchdown

By Jesse Jones

Going into Sunday’s rivalry matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Ravens were in control of their own playoff destiny, sitting in fifth place in the East with a chance to clinch a playoff birth.

The game started off slow for both teams, with a 6-3 score before the Steelers scored a touchdown putting them ahead 13-3.  Soon after Todd Heap grabbed in a diving touchdown and put Baltimore within three.  With around two minutes left in the first half, Terrell Suggs dropped an interception at the three yard line that would have given Baltimore a 17-13 lead.  This drop, followed by an offsides call lead to a Pittsburgh touchdown, giving them the 20-10 lead at half.

In the third quarter, where the Ravens have been their best this year, Baltimore scored a quick touchdown and Dominique Foxworth intercepted a pass to Santonio Holmes and returned it to the house.  The catch?  Terrell Suggs was called for a block in the back.  The drive ended in a field goal.  With another stop by the defense, the offense got the ball back and Willis McGahee ran for a long touchdown run.  But wait!  Kelley Washington was called for holding.  A few plays later, the reliable Derrick Mason dropped a wide open touchdown that would’ve put the Ravens up 27-20.

The fourth quarter only showed three points, and that went to the Steelers, who won 23-20.  Baltimore was driving late and entered Pittsburgh territory, but the offensive line failed miserably and Flacco was sacked and ended up fumbling the ball, which bounced off a helmet into the hands of the Steelers.

Baltimore also committed 11 penalties to go along with the three touchdowns that should have been.

The Ravens are now 8-7, tied with Pittsburgh, New York, Denver,  and Houston for the 5th and 6th seeds in the playoffs.  If the Ravens and Jets win, they’re in.  With a loss, the season is over.

After a 3-0 start, how did it come to all this?  So many close losses and key mistakes.  Baltimore is lucky to have a team that can still make the playoffs, but the mental mistakes need to change.  Hopefully things turn around with a make-or-break trip to Oakland.

Other NFL Notes

  • Bengals clinched AFC North
  • Patriots clinched AFC East
  • Colts lost to the Jets for the first time this season
  • Titans were eliminated from playoff contention
21
Dec
09

Ravens Take Care Of Business; 5th In East

Heap Caught 2 of Flacco's 4 Touchdowns

By Jesse Jones

After 21 inches of snow in the Baltimore area and a 3 hour delay to the start of the game, things in Baltimore got underway at 4:15 Sunday afternoon.  The game was determined within the first 5 minutes.  Baltimore scored on their first two drives, both Joe Flacco touchdowns to Todd Heap.  Both drives were also started by Jay Cutler interceptions (who threw three on the day).

The Baltimore defense held the Chicago offense to zero points, including a goal line fourth down stop.  The forced 4 interceptions (Hanie threw one at the end of the game) and forced 2 fumbles.  Jay Cutler posted a passer rating of 7.9, yes 7.9, and Domonique Foxworth, the former Terp, picked off two passes.

Ray Rice was held without a touchdown today, but had some huge runs in the first quarter.  The rest of the game was all Joe Flacco.  After the two early touchdown strikes, Flacco found Derrick Mason and Demetrius Williams for touchdowns.  Troy Smith also got a good amount of playing time, even when Flacco was in the game.

The only negative to come out of the game was the ACL injury to Lardarius Webb, who has done a very good job filling in for Fabian Washington.  His season is most likely done.

Thanks to the Broncos’ loss to the Raiders, the Ravens are now 5th in the East at 8-6, and travel to Pittsburgh (7-7), who got help today with losses to the Jets, Dolphins, and Jaguars.  Baltimore will most likely need to win out to stay in fifth place, and possibly sixth.  Next week, the rivalry will be in full force.

14
Sep
09

Record Setting Day

Opening Day 2009

Opening Day 2009

By Jesse Jones

On a day where the Ravens only beat the woeful Chiefs, who were without starting QB Matt Cassel, by 14 (38-24), there were still a lot of overlooked positives:

  1. The offense put up 501 yards, the most in franchise history.  Joe Flacco put up a career highs in yards (307) and touchdowns (3).
  2. Todd Heap was back to the pro-bowl form Ravens fans are used to (5 catches for 74 yards and a TD).
  3. McGahee scored 2 touchdowns and displayed toughness that he was lacking last season.
  4. Mark Clayton showed more signs of explosiveness.  He hasn’t been consistent throughout his career, but there have been times where has has looked exceptional, such as last year at the Bengals, and today when he burnt a conerback for a 31 yard touchdown reception and over 70 total yards.
  5. The offensive line gave Flacco all the time in the world, and allowed the three-headed monster to rush for around 200 yards.
  6. The defense gave up only 188 yards.  You can’t really blame them for all 24 points, because one of the TD’s was off of a punt block, and another TD was a result of a Flacco INT, where the D took over at their own 5.

But at the end of the day, the team needs to step it up in order to go back to where they ended last year, and hopefully beyond.

The Ravens travel to San Diego next weekend.




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