Sunday, October 12, 2008

Postgame Report Card: Colts 31, Ravens 3

The word of the game is... ouch. Because it hurts. A lot. The Ravens were punched in the face from the start of this game and couldn’t get off the mat. The defense lost it’s intensity after the first long touchdown to Marvin Harrison, and one of the league’s top run offenses could get nothing done against the worst run defense in the league. The Ravens got embarrassed in the worst of ways.

Offense - Overall Grade: F

Quarterbacks: F

Joe Flacco looked like a lost rookie today. He consistently misread the coverage, had trouble finding the open receiver, and was careless with the football in the pocket. To be sure he had little help at all; an early deficit, receivers who couldn’t get open, a nonexistent running game, and horrific field position. This performance, which follows two lackluster starts against Pittsburgh and Tennessee, starts to make you wonder as to whether or not he really is capable of succeeding in his rookie year.
Running Backs: C
Simply based on the fact that they were against the Colts run defense it would be tempting to give this unit a worse grade, but in all fairness they had little to no room to run. Still, the ball security issues and indecisiveness in the backfield are on them. Rice showed nice burst in the second half, but the Colts were playing soft with a 31 point lead.
Wide Receivers: D
This unit found some success in the second half, but when they needed to show up was in the first half before the game was out of hand. In that first half the receivers got little separation and gave Flacco very few options. A quarterback can only get rid of the ball he has targets getting open, and this unit has to start making plays for their rookie signal caller.
Tight Ends: D
Todd Heap made a key reception on the Ravens’ only decent drive in the first half. Wilcox had a silly holding penalty that kept the Ravens backed up in field position. Neither of the tight ends had any success blocking in the run game or in pass protection.
Offensive Line: F
THE OFFENSIVE LINE SHOULD HAVE DOMINATED THE COLTS ON THE GROUND. These aren’t the Pittsburgh Steelers! These aren’t the Tennessee Titans! These are the Indianapolis Colts, far-and-away the worst run defense in the league! The Ravens lost this game when the line decided not to play.

Defense - Overall Grade: D-
Defensive Line: B-

At the start of this game, the line looked as if it would dominate. As far as the running game, the front four did dominate the ground game but was unable to get pressure on Peyton consistently. All that being said, Pryce and Ngata had excellent games (as usual) and should not be tagged for defense’s failure on the whole.
Linebackers: C
The linebacking corps could not build on early success rushing the quarterback and lost steam as the game got out of hand. This is a prideful group and I have no worries that they will bounce back. As with the defensive line this wasn’t a terrible game for them; the real culprit we are about to get to.
Defensive Backs: F
Frank Walker didn’t play terribly in place of Samari Rolle, but Corey Ivy was picked on all game by Peyton Manning. Chris McAlister had by far his worst game of the season and was consistently fooled by Marvin Harrison. He should be able to rebound, but I have significant questions as to whether or not the rest of this group (Ed Reed aside) will be able to. The rush put on by the Ravens’ front seven was nullified by the fact that Peyton didn’t need much time at all in the pocket to pick apart this group.

Special Teams - Overall Grade: C
Kicker: B+
Stover did his job; converted his only field goal attempt.
Punter: A+
Sam Koch is quickly becoming one of the best players on this team. Is that really a good thing?
Returners: F
Figurs has to get it together; he has shown none of the burst that we are accustomed to seeing and he’s been making very poor decisions on kickoffs.
Coverage: C
A mixed bag; Ratliffe was held in check on punt returns, but no holes were opened up for Figurs on the Ravens’ returns.

Coaching - Overall Grade: B-
Offensive: B-

Cam had a good gameplan and, in all fairness, called pretty solid plays. In weighing importance, execution trumps playcalling any day of the week. In this case, otherwise decent play calling was ruined by a complete lack of execution. I still knocked down the grade because the buck does stop with the coaches, after all.
Defensive: B
Umm… similar to my evaluation of the offensive coaching, to be honest. Rex Ryan didn’t ask for Frank Walker and Corey Ivy to be his 2-3 cornerbacks against Peyton Manning. Nor did he ask for the offense to never hold onto the ball for more than a few plays in the first half.

And for my MVP/LVP...
MVP (Most Valuable Player) – Sam Koch – Great, great game from Sam Koch. No, you don’t want him out there and yes, if he is the story then most likely something went very wrong for your team. But boy, he did do his job well; averaged 49 yards on five punts, including a monster 57-yarder. Bravo.
LVP (Least Valuable Player) – Corey Ivy – I’ll spare Joe Flacco, and I gave it to one offensive lineman I would have to give it to all of them (and I just can’t do that; LVP is singular after all, and I’m a little obsessive about stuff like that). SO! I give it to Corey Ivy, because he was by far the weakest link on this secondary. The coaches picked up Walker and Washington to bulk up the depth, putting Ivy as the fourth or fifth cornerback. But Rolle, Washington, and to some extent Walker have been all banged up. Enter Corey Ivy, and exit dominant pass defense.

Bonus grade:
Windsor’s Report Cards: F-

That’s right, I said it. As far as Report Cards go, I give my games an F-. And you know why? Because the last four games I've covered have netted an 0-4 record in increasingly embarrassing fashion. 23-20 Pittsburgh (Ravens), 13-10 Tennessee (Ravens), 31-0 Virginia (Maryland Terrapins), and 31-3 Indianapolis (Ravens). I think we’re all sick of this losing, so let’s all petition Falco to write these Report Cards!
Unless our Maryland teams keep losing, in which case we can move on to blaming him instead of me.

(Photo Credits: AP)

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