This feature appears each Monday on the Baltimore Sports Blitz. It’s just like “What They’re Saying About the Ravens,” but it includes blogger Matt Vensel saying something about what those people are saying. Got it?
--- John Eisenberg of Ravens.com said the refs blew some calls, but the officiating didn’t doom the Ravens.
“A lot of elements contributed to the Ravens’ inability to win a game in which they led most of the way,” he wrote. “Some of those elements -- i.e., the questionable calls of the replacement officials -- can’t be controlled. And hey, while the refs did blow a lot of calls, they didn’t decide the game. ‘It went both ways,’ Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said in the midst of a post-game plea to get the regular refs back on the field as soon as possible. But there were issues the Ravens could control that cost them dearly, even more than the calls. One was the way they forgot about the running game in the second half, especially in short-yardage situations.”
Matt’s take: I agree with this 100 percent, and I will always agree with this line of thinking unless there is something totally egregious like a receiver being mugged while trying to catch a late touchdown pass. The officiating was inconsistent and the officials’ inability to take control turned Sunday’s game into a total clown show. But that wasn’t a fumble by Michael Vick in the closing minutes and even if that offensive pass interference penalty on Jacoby Jones was the wrong one, the Ravens still had ample opportunities to put this game away. I get them wanting to punt the replacement officials, but they should be kicking themselves first.
“Here we go again. Someone remind him that Ray Rice is in the huddle and that it's OK to give him the ball on third-and-fourth-and short,” Clark said. “In the second half the Ravens had two third-and-2s, two third-and-ones and one fourth-and-1, and they never, ever gave the ball to Rice. Instead, they threw, with four incompletions and one interception. Please.”
Matt’s take: Cam will do his explaining Thursday, and maybe we will learn if it was his calls or Flacco’s audibles that led to all those passes in short-yardage situations. Either way, Rice needs to get the rock more, especially when the pass attack falters.
--- Peter King of Sports Illustrated praised Dennis Pitta.
“I think we're seeing an early emphasis on offensive tight ends, and how to cover them, in the season's first two weeks. Dennis Pitta of the Ravens could be the latest tight end to emerge as a star,” King wrote in his "Monday Morning Quarterback" column.
Matt’s take: Hop aboard the bandwagon, Peter. Pitta probably has the best hands on the team and he consistently gets open on short and intermediate routes. Flacco targeted Pitta 15 times Sunday -- three more targets than he had to his entire wide receiver corps -- and has thrown to him 24 times in two games. Pitta has 13 catches for 138 yards and a touchdown this season and should be heavily involved in the offense going forward.
--- Kareem Copeland of NFL.com said the no-huddle offense was no good against the Eagles, especially because Ray Rice seemed to be a secondary option in the second half.
“Is Rice now a high-priced decoy? Rice had 16 carries for 99 yards against the Eagles. He had 10 carries for 68 yards in Week 1,” he wrote. “Rice was praising the new role just a week ago. That's the difference between a win and a loss. Like we said then, if Rice can be Plan B and the team continues to win -- it's all good. But if Flacco goes 22-of-42 passing like he did Sunday and the losses pile up, the Rice question will be asked more and more.”
Matt’s take: Rice’s limited workload is definitely a problem, but I think we are comparing apples and oranges here. Rice could have had 20-plus carries in the win over the Cincinnati Bengals if the Ravens would have put him in to grind out to clock. Instead, they opted to keep him on the sideline. But Sunday was a different story, and the decision to throw the ball instead of running it with Rice in short-yardage situations led to some head-scratching.
--- Will Brinson of CBSSports.com gave the Ravens a C-plus grade for Sunday, and chimed in about the Joe Flacco debate.
“Kiss the ‘Joe Flacco's elite’ talk goodbye for a bit, but nice to see Dennis Pitta shining again,” wrote Brinson, who gave the Eagles a solid B for their part in the outcome.
Matt’s take: The “Joe Flacco’s elite” talk seemed premature after one game and dismissing it after one game is probably premature, too. So how about we let this one breathe a little bit and check back in February?