Eddie, Catonsville: Justin Tucker's game-winning kick was a little too close for comfort for me, but it sure felt nice to get a last-second win against the Patriots after last season's heartbreaking loss. What do you think about Tucker? He certainly has played well so far, in my opinion.
Eddie, he has been perfect. There is nothing else to say. I don't care if he is close or not, just make the darn kick. The kid has a really strong leg and swagger. His teammates seem to like him, and he should have a long career in Baltimore.
Ravens Roost, San Diego: Why is no one talking about the horrific Cam Cameron call on 4th and 1 that should have cost us the game if the refs didn't bail us out? I absolutely have no problem with the call if we put the ball in Ray Rice's hands (someone let our coaching staff know that Ray is the No. 1 pick in every fantasy football draft because he is that good) but instead we gave it to Bernard Pierce who barely made the opening day roster. I thought big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games. We don't even give our big-time players a chance? I have a strong resume. How do I apply for the offensive coordinator job?
Come on, man. You can't have such a strong resume. I've been covering this league since 1987 and never heard of you. Morgan State University might be looking for an OC, though. I agree with you about the call. I think you need to have Rice on the field, and in that situation he should get the ball. If he doesn't, at least use him as some type of decoy.
Don't knock Pierce. He is just doing his job and he didn't barely make the roster. The kid has real talent. He is going to be a good back some day in the NFL.
As for Cameron, a lot of people like to second-guess him, and I don't always agree with his decisions. But if you look back through his time in Baltimore, the offense usually is playing well by the end of the season and he has called some pretty good games in the postseason. He is far from being a problem for the Ravens.
I am, though, waiting for him to throw Bryant McKinnie a pass on a tackle-eligible play. If he runs that play and it succeeds, I'm voting for Cam as president.
Buck Stops Here, Baltimore: Mike, please talk a little bit about Torrey Smith's ability to come out and not only play the game less than 24 hours after his brother's death, but to also make such an impact on the game. I'm interested in hearing your thoughts. He seems like a future Pro Bowl player.
Hi Buck. I thought Torrey would play, but I didn't know how well. He has always been a high-character person, much more mature than most players his age. He has been a father-type role model in his family and I think he taught them a valuable lesson Sunday about overcoming tragedies and carrying on. For a kid so young, he just has a strong presence about him and a great work ethic. I've seen a lot of players roll through the Ravens organization since they came to Baltimore for the 1996 season, and Torrey is up there with Ray Lewis as far as working out in the offseason.
I feel for him and his family, but they will be OK. That family had a great leader in Torrey.
Howard, Owings Mills: I hate to continue the bashing of Cary Williams but his lackluster cover skills are causing the Ravens 'D' to have to play "vanilla" and limiting the opportunity to pass rush. Jimmy Smith isn't ready yet. What adjustments can Dean Pees make to help rectify the situation?
They can always roll a safety to his side in support, and they've done that before with previous weak corners. They can rush Smith into the lineup, but apparently they don't feel Smith is ready. They can cut him. They can re-sign Mr. "Backdraft" Frank Walker or they can just be patient and hope he gets better.
And of course, there is always prayer.
Scott: What can Pees do to compensate for the lack of pass rush? Or is he in over his head? I still can't believe he didn't put more pressure on Michael Vick last week given the Philadelphia Eagles' makeshift offensive line.
I think Pees has done just about everything possible to manufacture a pass rush. He has blitzed safeties and corners from off the edge, and brought linebackers from off the edge as well as inside the gaps. It's great to have pressure defense, but you can't blitz all the time.
Sooner or later, the Ravens have to start winning some battles up front. They have to win individual matchups. Great defenses really don't need to blitz a lot because they get pressure with their front four. Until that happens, the Ravens will continue to blitz but that also is gambling and sometimes you lose more than you win.
André, Costa Rica: What do you think Ray Lewis said to the defense before the Patriots' final drive? It really worked!
He probably said: "Hey fellas, we've been getting our butts kicked all year. It's time we came up with a stop. The bottom line is that this is Baltimore and in this town we play like a Raven. Well it is time some of you step up because if you don't step up we're going to take another step back. Where would you rather be right now? Here, playing in one of the great games of your life, or sitting at home on your kicks. Somebody make a play. We need a play right now, damn it."
By the way Andre, I've heard that speech about 30 times in 17 years. The "Where would you rather be?" speech is usually reserved for the playoffs.
Jerry, Timonium: Hey Mike, does the Ravens defense get caught off guard by running plays because they have to defend the pass more? It seems like the defensive backs have to make too many tackles versus the run.
They don't get caught off guard. This defensive unit has missed more tackles this season than any in the past 10 years. Some of the guys in the front four just don't get off blocks and the linebackers have been slow to plug holes, especially in short yardage situations. As for the guys in the secondary, Lardarius Webb and Bernard Pollard are excellent tacklers. Ed Reed started smacking players around last week after he got embarrassed by the Eagles tight end leaping over him. That's what I like about Reed. You tick him off and he responds. That clip of him getting embarrassed was shown all over national TV.
Now, go back and look at the film before the game Sunday night. Take a look at Reed's face on the sideline during the national anthem. He is completely focused and has chewed every ounce of sugar out of that gum. He played well. As for Williams and Smith, what can I say?
They whiff a lot.
Joe, Essex: Mike, what is your take on the replacement officials? I mean, honestly, all referees blow calls -- even the "real" ones. My biggest complaint is the fact that the games seem to drag on forever with these guys. It seemed like Joe Flacco was just throwing the ball up, looking for the pass interference or illegal contact call on the final drive, and of course, the Ravens got the call and the win. Thoughts?
Why not chuck it up? I would have. It was great strategy and the Ravens did it a lot Sunday night.
My take on the officiating is that these NFL games are so terrible to watch that I have not watched a full game except for the Ravens. Once I start seeing all the flags and the numerous huddles by the officials, I turn it off. I decided a long time ago it wasn't worth getting frustrated over these games. I can have more fun cutting the lawn than watching inept officials.
Billy T., Salisbury: The home dominance continues for another week for the Ravens. Any chance the Ravens suffer a letdown Thursday night against the Browns? I just don't see it happening, but it is the NFL and anything can happen. Will the short week affect the Ravens?
Some say this is a "trap" game, but there are no such games for the Ravens. Those games are for teams that dominate, not ones that squeak by. The Browns can't be taken lightly. It's a division game played at night on national TV. Regardless of Cleveland's record, the Browns have played hard and been physical against the Ravens. If the Ravens don't respond in a similar matter, they could lose.
Ravens Q&A with Mike Preston