This was the first game of the season that I didn't attend in person, as The Baltimore Sun only sends B-teamers like me to games that are within driving distance. But even from the comfort of my half-finished man cave, I could see the Ravens' wide receivers were struggling to get off the line of scrimmage in the 9-6 win over the Chiefs. Three weeks ago, the last time the Ravens were on the road, they ran into the same problems against the Philadelphia Eagles, whose cornerbacks were practically mugging the wideouts as they tried to release on their routes (I swear I saw Nnamdi Asomugha hit Anquan Boldin with a sock full of quarters on one play). That, not the play-calling or quarterback Joe Flaccos spotty accuracy, was the main reason that the no-huddle offense slowed to a crawl in the loss to the Eagles. It was a major factor again Sunday against the Chiefs, as only Boldin was consistently able to shake free of his man and catch passes down the field. Boldin had four catches for 82 yards, but second-year wide receiver Torrey Smith had just three grabs for 38 yards, and Jacoby Jones and Tandon Doss got shut out coming off the bench. The Ravens entered Sunday's game second in the league in total offense after averaging 424 yards in their first four games. They were fifth in scoring at 30.3 points per game. Flacco was among the most productive passers in the NFL, even garnering mild MVP buzz. But Flacco was held without a touchdown pass and he had only two passing plays for more than 20 yards, something the Ravens led the league in before Sunday. It appears opponents have determined they are better off bumping Smith and his fellow receivers instead of backing off before the snap. Both the Eagles and Chiefs have pass rushers who can get to the quarterback quickly and physical cornerbacks who can bump and run with the wide receivers down the sidelines, something that has disrupted Flaccos timing with his wide receivers. The good news is most teams dont have the personnel to execute that game plan. The bad news is the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans, the next two teams up on the schedule, do have the personnel to do it, and will probably try to do so after watching the Chiefs have success with that approach. The Ravens need to quickly make adjustments -- I play a lot of "Madden," but Im not going to sit here and try to tell offensive coordinator Cam Cameron how to make them -- as they prepare to mess with Texas.
Christopher T. Assaf, Baltimore Sun