Back on Track: Ravens Domination Keeps Rams Winless

James ReaganCorrespondent IISeptember 25, 2011

ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 23: Lance Ball #44 of the St. Louis Rams rushes against the Baltimore Ravens at the Edward Jones Dome August 23, 2008 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Rams beat the Ravens 24-10.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

From the very beginning of this game, it was clear that it would be different from the Ravens' loss to the Titans last week. On only the second offensive play of the game, Joe Flacco threw it to wide receiver Torrey Smith for a 74 yard touchdown, Smith's first career reception. 

The Ravens never let up after that. Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron abandoned his normally conservative game plan and instead kept passing the ball. The results were nothing short of staggering. 

The Ravens set a franchise record with 553 total yards. Smith had a historical performance as well as he caught three touchdown passes with his first three catches. This resulted in a one-sided 37-7 victory for the Ravens.

They were playing a desperate Rams team searching for their first win. Still, despite the hype surrounding the Rams as NFC West favorites, they are 0-3 and have lost all their games by more than ten points. Their many problems were amplified with today's loss.

The Ravens dominance wasn't limited to their offense. The defense looked good as well with five sacks and an interception of Sam Bradford.

Obviously this win puts away a lot of the bad feelings from last week. For the second time in three weeks the Ravens have won in dominating fashion. Today's offensive explosion showed the potential that this team has to be very great.


Lessons Learned this week:

1. Torrey Smith might be something special.

Before today's game, Ravens fans had been pretty critical of Torrey Smith. With good reason too, as he had a disappointing preseason that ended up pushing him back on the depth chart. The only reason Smith started today was because of an injury that forced Lee Evans not to play.

Smith clearly made the most of his opportunity. His performance today showed why he was taken in the second round of the NFL Draft. With a performance like this, you can be sure that Smith will have a very involved role with the offense maybe even as a starter going forward.


2. The passing game is as good as ever.

 The Ravens have long had a reputation as a running team, thanks to some stellar running backs that have played here. Even with the upgrades made to the passing corps this year, Ray Rice is still decidedly looked at as the Ravens best offensive player.

Today's performance gives pause to the idea that the Ravens have to live and die by the run. Even though the Rams had the league's worst run defense going into this game, the Ravens came out passing and didn't really stop. With young players at both the receiver and tight end positions, the Ravens receivers have an enormous ceiling for how good they can perform this year.


3. The Ravens step up after losses. 

 It's pretty official now that the Ravens perform well after a loss. They haven't lost back to back games since they dropped three straight early in the 2009 season. After most losses, the Ravens have amped up the intensity and learned from their past mistakes.

Today's game also shows the strangeness of last week's loss. For so often the Ravens take care of business against lesser teams, sometimes in blowouts like today. Their losses are typically to the NFL's best teams and they are typically close.


What's Next

 The Ravens have a huge primetime game against the New York Jets next week. This rivalry has become more intense since the hiring of Rex Ryan as the Jets head coach. Despite the Jets' loss to the Oakland Raiders today, both they and the Ravens are still viewed as two of the AFC's best teams.

The last time they played, the Ravens narrowly beat the Jets 10-9 in an exciting Monday night game. Both teams went on to become wild card teams and won road playoff games. This year, they hope is the year they finally get some home field advantage in the playoffs.

With today's win the Ravens are tied atop the AFC North with the Cleveland Browns. Both teams currently have 2-1 records. Pending the results of tonight's game, the Pittsburgh Steelers may join them as well.