By Mike Preston
7:32 AM EDT, September 6, 2013
I expect a lot of the national media to say that the reason the Ravens lost and gave up a lot of yards to Denver and Peyton Manning is because the team no longer has linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed.
Of course, that is totally false.
Last year the Ravens couldn't stop the run and get off the field on third downs because they gave up a lot of passing plays over the middle just like Thursday night.
I expected the Ravens to struggle on defense early in the season because they had too many new faces (six), not just two.
With time, I still think this defense will be good and strong going into the latter part of the season.
Matt Elam sees action
Head coach John Harbaugh wants discipline but he needs to crack down on linebacker Albert McClellan. He is a hot head who commits dumb penalties and rookie safety Matt Elam is following in the same footsteps.
By the way, Elam missed several special team tackles Thursday night.
Jimmy Smith loses confidence
Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith played well early in the game and was very physical in the first quarter. And then once he got beat, he seemed to lose confidence.
Once that happened, Manning started picking on him.
Bernard Pierce in early
I was surprised to see running back Bernard Pierce in for starter Ray Rice during the Ravens second offensive series. It will be interesting to see if the Ravens do that again next week against the Browns.
Joe Flacco struggles
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco played well enough to win, but he threw two bad interceptions and almost a third.
Regardless of what anyone says, Flacco is struggling but he gained some rhythm with his receivers in the second half Thursday night.
Too much action for Dallas Clark
Flacco threw to tight end Dallas Clark 12 times and that isn't a good a good sign. If it's Torrey Smith or Brandon Stokley, that's understandable but Clark shouldn't be the top target in a game.
The Ravens cut all of their return guys in the preseason when they waived running back Bobby Rainey and receivers David Reed and Tandon Doss.
Hopefully, receiver Deonte Thompson's foot will heal soon, but he might not be ready for the Browns' game.
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