I'm sitting in this lecture bored to tears while looking at this prick wearing his Suggs jersey, and then it hit me - we don't necessarily need Ben.
The evolution of this team has been remarkable. Remember when we were 2-3? That seems like a lifetime ago, and this team - more importantly this defense - has stepped up big time and has been keeping us in games, and last night, won it for us. You'll see guys on this site say things like "smoke and mirrors" or "overrated", but holding quarterbacks to 281 yards and under 50% completion in two games
. What makes it even more special is the fact that one of those guys was pretty boy Eli Manning.
The Ravens' DLine right now is struggling and they can't stop the run at all. Jamaal Charles make them look like boys playing with men, running for 140 yards. Our OLine is considerably better than the Chiefs' and play with more aggression and passion. Dwyer can run downhill and with strength right up the middle. The Ravens will struggle to stop the run like they have all year letting Ben (or Lefty) work from play action and we might see Wallace go deep a few times. Speaking of Wallace ...
Webb is out. The Ravens simply don't have anyone to run with Wallace. Smith isn't nearly as fast and will command double coverage, leaving Brown and Sanders open over the middle. More importantly, Kruger can't cover Heath - expect a lot of Heeaaaaatttthhhhh on Sunday. Assuming this is the case, Eddy is going to be playing about 25 yards behind the line of scrimmage, which only helps the underneath routes that Haley enjoys so much. More importantly, Suggs has shown with his injury he can be taken down on one-on-one.
Did anyone notice last night that, for the majority of the night, Hali wasn't a factor? Starks gave Ben all day to throw
. This was against a healthy Hali, one of the best OLB's in the league. When Starks goes against an injured and slowed down Suggs, he'll be able to do the same thing. If Starks can make Suggs a non-factor, either with a chip by Dwyer and/or help from Colon as well, the Ravens D will be ineffective. This, combined with the fact that the Ravens' D can't get off the field on third down only helps the Steelers. The way we're dominating in TOP and our conversion rate on third down will make this a long day for the Ravens.
Looking at the Ravens' offense - the key is obviously slowing down Rice. As others have said, it's a little ridiculous teams just let him run open in the flat with no coverage what-so-ever. This isn't going to happen against the Steelers. Why? Lawrence Timmons. The development and play of Timmons this year can be argued as the most improved on the entire team. He's the shining star on this defensive squad and I wouldn't trade him for any
MLB in this league
(ok, maybe Willis). When he blitzes, he gets to the quarterback. When he covers, he blankets with his surprising quickness and speed and gets interceptions.
Webb is going to be covered by Taylor, and with the way Taylor has played so far, I'm not worried. Boldin will be blanketed by Lewis, another player whose progression and improvement has been eye-popping.
If this defense blitzes effectively and finds a way to slow down Rice, the Ravens offense can't get going and will be ineffective. The key to this game on defense will be how Timmons handles Rice and if Woodley can get to Flacco.
I ain't worried. Bring on the Ratbirds.