If you're still angry about the Ravens' bitter 34-33 loss to the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, this review of the telecast isn't going to make you feel any better.
I know from tweets and emails sent to me before and after the game that some readers want me to rip the CBS telecast featuring Ian Eagle on play by play, Dan Fouts on analysis and Jenny Dell on the sidelines.
The main target of the entreaties for me to trash CBS is Fouts, who because he was a Chargers quarterback, is suspected of favoring them over the Ravens.
Bad news, Fouts haters, CBS turned in a solid telecast Sunday. I wouldn't call it outstanding, but it was above average in almost every respect for an NFL telecast by a second-string team.
And while the analysis by Fouts was my least favorite part of the broadcast, he was certainly fair to the Ravens – and, brace yourself, even generous in some of the things he said about them. And I went looking for examples of Fouts favoring the Chargers.
Instead, here are some examples of what I did find:
With 5:01 left in the 3rd quarter, Joe Flacco completed a short pass and in replay the cameras captured the ball coming at the receiver from the receiver's point of view. Nice work from the technical crew to capture that and get it instantly up in replay.
"Flacco throws a beautiful ball," Eagle said admiringly.
"It always looks like a tight spiral, doesn't it?" Fouts said in agreement.
With 11:22 left in the fourth quarter, Flacco rolled out and under pursuit threw a beautiful downfield pass to Steve Smith, which the veteran receiver dropped. Flacco threw it off his back foot leaning away from an oncoming Charger.
"We've seen some great throws by Joe Flacco today. That one was awesome," Fouts said. "We talk about the back foot, he's going to throw this one about 40 yards down the field … That's a tremendous throw by Flacco."
What part of "awesome" and "tremendous" sounds like the talk of a Ravens hater to you?
And on two out of every three close calls on penalties, Fouts offered analysis that favored the Ravens.
What I liked best about Fouts today was his willingness to process new information during the game that challenged a favored story line. I had never seen him do that. He was like former CBS analyst Dan Dierdorf in that respect: He came into the game with a story line in his head and kept pounding it even if what happened as they played the actual game contradicted it.
An example of his newfound willingness to change came with 1:52 left in the game when Elvis Dumervil was flagged for the third time for lining up in the neutral zone.
Fouts came into the telecast rightfully praising Dumervil's performance and saying how great a force he could be against the Chargers' ravaged offensive line. But after a fine replay and camera angle showed the Ravens pass rusher lined up in the neutral zone for the third time, Fouts mentioned the two previous infractions and said, "Well, he's going to have to go to the eye doctor, because, again, look where his left hand is ..."
And Dumervil's left hand was indeed clearly in the zone.
I once wrote about Fouts not calling players out, but he did here, and it was much deserved.
As for Eagle, he has developed into a fine play-by-play announcer. He is professional, business-like, focused, and constantly keeping the viewer in the game by re-setting the table and referring to what's at stake for the teams as they near postseason play.
What I really liked about Eagle Sunday: There was no hotdog or silliness in his performance. That separates him from 90 percent of the competition.
Dell brought energy and intensity to her sideline work. She clearly sees herself as a reporter, not a showboat personality. God bless her for that.
She was behind social media on some of the injury reports Sunday, like that of Marlon Brown, but, then again, she has the obligation of confirming her information before reporting it – something many on social media don't.
I could have used more sense of the stadium and crowd, but the close-ups of the faces of coaches and players were superb, and they do matter more.
With 3:40 second left in the game, the director came back from a commercial break with a shot from field level up through the stadium lights to the pink-streaked, late afternoon November sky.
It wasn't exactly Sunday afternoon, NFL poetry, but it was close enough for a second-string network crew with a game on the field to cover that was coming down to the final seconds.