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Zurawik: Nothing 'magical' about call of Ravens' victory by CBS

Ravens wide receiver Breshad Perriman, right, catches a 35-yard pass over Bills defensive back Stephon Gilmore, left, in the first quarter.
Ravens wide receiver Breshad Perriman, right, catches a 35-yard pass over Bills defensive back Stephon Gilmore, left, in the first quarter. (Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun)

I forgot how much I missed my magical fall Sundays with CBS Sports. But it all came rushing back to me today watching the Ravens' 13-7 victory over the Buffalo Bills.

What could match the thrill of seeing the game interrupted late in the 3rd quarter for technical difficulties at CBS Sports? They lost the game, but had a State Farm commercial featuring Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers that they froze onscreen a few seconds into it.

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To the folks who tweeted SMH. I was shaking my head, too, particularly when they went to the ad for a second time too soon and stopped it again a few moments later.

That's another thing I forgot: how the NFL, CBS, NBC, ESPN and all the other outlets never seem to cause us to miss any of the ads, just the game coverage. The "technical difficulties" appeared to be the network cutting to the Rodgers ad too soon. It was the ad that ultimately ran in full when there actually was a commercial timeout in the Bills-Ravens  game a few minutes later.

Speaking of ads. Wow, have I ever missed the higher volume levels and relentless pounding break after break of promos for CBS shows "NCIS," "Big Bang Theory" and "Bull."

Next week during the Ravens game, I am going to bring an anvil into the living room, put my head on it during commercial breaks and ask my wife to hit me repeatedly with a sledge hammer for 30 seconds in lieu of letting the CBS promos play.

And then, there were the announcers: Spero Dedes, Solomon Wilcots and sideline reporter Dana Jacobson.

On the plus side, they clearly did their homework. Unlike some of the crews that came in here and barely seemed to know who was on the field, this crew had anecdotes and facts on Ravens running back Terrance West, tight end Dennis Pitta, wide receiver Breshad Perriman and others involved in key story lines for Baltimore this year.

They knew, for example, the significance of the first catches Sunday for Perriman and Pitta, who have long been out with injuries. They seemed to know how much those moments mattered to diehard fans.

On the other hand, the hype of their game call was almost annoying as the CBS promos. I love enthusiasm, but don't say hamburger is filet mignon again and again and again.

I counted three times the word "magical" or some variation on it was used to describe a play or moment that, at best, should have been described as very good. (That's why I used it in my first paragraph.)

With 2:43 left in the 1st quarter, Joe Flacco rolled out and completed a pass to Kamar Aiken.

Dedes called it a "a magic trick by Flacco." Nice pass. No magic.

With 5:17 left in the first half, Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor shed a tackle and completed a pass. Very nice move and pass. But definitely not magical.

Early in the fourth quarter, Bills tight end Charles Clay came back toward the ball and caught a pass in heavy traffic.

Dedes called it a "miraculous catch by Clay." No miracle here; he didn't even make the first down with it.

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Magical and/or miraculous is Flacco hitting Jacoby Jones for that 70-yard pass late in the 2012 playoff game in Denver. Don't debase the word by using it three and four times game for plays that don't deserve it. That's not how you make a fairly boring game seem special.

This is not to rip Dedes or Wilcots. Overall, I think they came to play and put in a decent effort. Dedes was sharp enough to instantly catch himself calling Ravens kicker Justin Tucker "Justin Kicker" in the first quarter. It's an easy mistake to make, particularly with opening day adrenaline pumping through your veins. And he quickly made the correction.

As for the production, I liked the different replay angles on the 66-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace, especially the overhead, showing the play unfold as it might have been drawn out. But the broadcast was light on video to illustrate points made by the analyst.

One of the better replays showed the left side of the Ravens line holding up against the rush on a pass play as Wilcots explained the question marks there.

The telecast would have better with much more of that and less false talk of magic.

david.zurawik@baltsun.com

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