What We Learned: Last Week Was No Fluke-o

Flacco is for real, the run game is still present and the secondary may be a soft spot.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Sunday, September 20th, 2009 at 10:30 pm | Categories: 2009 Gameday, Sarah Ellison

We didn’t know what to make of the Ravens’ Week 1 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs – a team that was coming off a 2-14 record. Was it a mediocre team beating up on a bad team? In that game, QB Joe Flacco set career-highs in yards (307), attempts (43) and TD passes (3).

Against the San Diego Chargers, the numbers may not have been as flashy, but the win was far more meaningful.  San Diego is a team many media members have picked to represent the AFC in this season’s Super Bowl. And the Ravens’ sophomore quarterback added two more touchdowns passes, bringing his total to five in just two games. Flacco threw for 14 touchdowns all of last season.  That’s not to say No. 5 did it all on his own, he had help from his running backs…

Despite many fans’ worries, the Ravens have not abandoned the run.

The question was repeated for most of the week on radio call-in shows and message boards. Had the Ravens abandoned the run? Nope.

The Ravens ran the ball on 32 occasions (54 percent of the offensive plays) for 130 yards and two touchdowns in the 31-26 win over the Chargers.

To be honest, I don’t know why the question was brought up in the first place. Last week, the Ravens’ rushing attack totaled 194 yards on 41 attempts. The ball stayed on the ground 49 percent of the time.

RB Darren Sproles and the screen play – not a good combination for opposing teams.

The Chargers’ elusive running back, Darren Sproles, was a thorn in the Ravens’ side all game.  And it wasn’t his rushing attempts that created any problems; he totaled 26 yards on 10 attempts. As a receiver, however, he garnered 124 yards on seven receptions. The Ravens had a hard time defending the screen play. In fact, the Chargers’ first touchdown was a whopping 81-yarder that came off a small pass to Sproles in the flat.

Sam Koch is still one of the best punters in the NFL.

Last week’s scariest moment was Sam Koch’s blocked punt “returned” for a touchdown. This week, Koch was well protected and had time to get the ball off. Three of his four punts landed inside the 20. Two of those were downed inside the five yard line.

The Ravens’ secondary may be a soft spot. 

Philip Rivers set a career record by throwing for 436 total yards against the Ravens’ secondary. It proved troublesome to guard the Chargers’ gigantic receivers (Floyd at 6-5, Jackson at 6-5, Gates at 6-4 and Chambers the shortest at 5-11). We can take heart in the fact that when it counted, however, the secondary did step up. CB

Domonique Foxworth came up with two huge pass deflections in the fourth quarter (one being intercepted) and CB Frank Walker batted down a touchdown pass in the final seconds of the game.

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