Joe Flacco: B+: Flacco had the look of a seasoned vet for the most part in this game. His reads were mostly clean and still showed calm and poise even while the pocket was collapsing around him. He got the ball in tight windows and even though there wasn't much of a running game to show for in the first half he still lead a game timing drive with 4:00 min remaining to send the game into overtime. I would have given him an A if not for the two fumbles, one of which resulted in a touchdown.
LeRon McClain: B: Between McGahee and McClain the Ravens accounted for more then 100 yds rushing on the day. With McGahee going down in the 2nd quarter McCain had to step in and produce. He finished with 89 total yds. (63 rush, 26 receiving)a TD and an average of 4 yds. a carry. His crucial TD came in the final minutes of the 4th quarter tying the game at 20. Time will tell how long McGahee may be out but I feel confident letting McClain handle the load.
Derrick Mason: A: Mason played in a big way on Monday night. 8 rec. 137 yds. for his first 100 yard performance of the year. It could have been more then that and probably would have decided the game if the first stab at the end zone early in the game counted. Some say he juggled the ball, but it was far to close to call. He made up for it with an equally spectacular catch in the 2nd quarter to keep the scoring drive alive.
Offensive Line: C-: The offensive line allowed 4 sacks and Flacco was under pressure almost the whole evening. Adam Terry was getting beat by what appeared to be the same move all day. It seemed like every time Flacco stepped back he first had to evaluate how many Steelers were free and heading for him before he could release the ball. I can only imagine what a healthy Steelers D-Line would have done. The only reason I cant grade them lower is the running game. I dont know so much if it was good blocking or good running that got them over 100 rushing yds. but they did, so I have to give some credit to the big uglies up front.
Defense: A: In my prior blog I predicted the final score would be 20-16 in favor of the Ravens. If we take away the Pittsburgh defensive TD the score is exactly that. In the first half the Ravens defense looked unmovable. They sacked Ben 3 times and forced him into costly mistakes like Ngatas interception. Then the second half rolls around and the dont record one sack. They still get an A in my book simply for shutting Mendenhall up. He promised a 100 yd performance, and failed to deliver. The streak continues!
It doesn't get any easier this week for the Ravens(2-1) as the Tennessee Titans(4-0) come to town. The Titans have been nothing short of impressive so far this season. The Ravens need to rally the offensive lineman this week with one of the best defensive lines in the NFL lining up across from them. Kerry Collins has controlled the game for the Titans, but no one is fooled, this is a running team. Something will give this weekend whether it be the Ravens rushing defense or the Titans rushing offense. We all now know what Flacco is capable of and he will be tested again this week by Cortland Finnegan. Finnegan comes into this game with a league leading 4 interceptions. He has returned one of them for a TD. He will most likely be guarding Flacco's favorite target, Mason. The defensives are basically on the same level, but I give the edge offensively to Tennessee. Look for Johnson and White to have solid games but neither one should break 100.
Key Matchup- Ravens O-Line vs Titans D-Line- Who ever wins the battle in the trenches will ultimately win this game. The O-Line must give Flacco a little more time in the pocket to find his man and air it out.
Key Player- Joe Flacco- If he is not able to escape the attacks from Tennessee this could be a long day. He can only scramble so much
Prediction- Titans 24 / Ravens 13