The Ravens dominated the Texans today, 41-13, for their fourth straight win and third straight win on the road. That should be the first thought: three road wins? We haven’t seen a team in Baltimore that can win on the road since 2000.
Joe Flacco made great progress as a QB today. With his favorite target going down early he was forced to find other options in the passing game, which lead to Todd Heap finally looking like his old self.
Joe stretched the defense with multiple deep throws, one resulting is a TD to WR Yamon Figurs (Congrats to Yamon on his first career receiving TD). Joe has now thrown six TD passes in his last four games with no turnovers.
Willis McGahee looked healthy and ran hard the entire game. He went over the 100 yard mark for the second time this season and added two TD runs. And I must add, his new touchdown dance is hilarious.
The Ravens defense was solid through most of the game. The air defense still has some leaks, but they overcame the injuries and picked off Sage Rosenfels four times. Ray Lewis had two interceptions thanks to the great play of NT Haloti Ngata.
The return of Samari Rolle was immediately apparent. When Frank Walker, a fomer starter, can be your nickel back, you’ve got some depth. Walker may not be a star, but being able to use him to help Fabian Washington and Rolle is a great advantage to this Ravens defense.
Ngata is probably the Ravens best defensive player right now, which takes some courage to say after Ray Lewis had two interceptions in a game. Haloti came up big when he picked off Sage Rosenfels at the goalline, which ended a potentially game-changing drive by Houston. Haloti has two interceptions this season (three for his career) which is more than all-pro safety Ed Reed!
Ngata has disrupted the QB more times this season than I can count, which has lead to turnovers and missed opportunities for opposing offense. We’ve heard all season about Albert Haynesworth and Shaun Rogers, but there’s no #92 I’d want more on my team right now than Ngata.
If anyone remembers seeing new kicker Steven Hauschka in college with NC State, you know the kind of leg he has. I’m going to steal a line I heard on the postgame radio show today, but bringing in Hauschka is bigger than just getting a new leg; it proves that John Harbaugh is learning and, more importantly, willing to learn.
Poor special teams play (bad kick offs, bad coverage, refusing to try long field goals) already cost this team a few games (Pittsburgh, Tennessee) and almost cost them a win last week (Cleveland). Kudos to John for making a move.
And let’s just make an overall comment here: The Ravens have now scored 27, 29, 37, and 41 points in their last four games.
A lot of help is coming from this defense, but let’s also give credit to an offense that is able to take advantage of a short field and take the points it is given. When was the last time you remember the Ravens scoring more than 25 points in four straight games? Or averaging 33 points-per-game in a stretch like that?
We’re going to have to go look that up, but I can’t remember anytime. Even with those scores, this team is only averaging 21 points-per-game on the season, which tells you just how poor this offense was for those first five games.
Now that the Ravens have both pieces clicking, it’s time for the rest of the league to watch out.