Instant analysis of the Ravens' 20-0 victory over the Bengals in the season opener
The Baltimore Sun|
Sep 10, 2017 | 5:00 PM
Baltimore Sun columnist Mike Preston talks about the Ravens' 20-0 win over to the Cincinnati Bengals. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)
Peter Schmuck, columnist: I guess the takeaway here is that Joe Flacco should just report to the Ravens facility next year on Sept. 1. Practice and preseason obviously is overrated. Hard to decide what the next best news of the day was — the defense living up the hype (and then some) or the renaissance of the running game. Speaking of rejuvenation, Terrell Suggs appears to be having a renaissance of his own. Of course, it would only have been a perfect day if Danny Woodhead and Za'Darius Smith hadn't gotten hurt early in the game.
Childs Walker, sports reporter: That was pretty close to an ideal debut for the 2017 Ravens. Their defense lived up to all the preseason hype, Joe Flacco at least showed he was healthy, and the offense squeezed the air out of the game with a run-heavy attack. Other than the injuries to Danny Woodhead and Za'Darius Smith, I'm not sure they could have designed it any better. At some point this season, Flacco will need to take more shots downfield. But if they can win key division games like this with the "2000 Ravens redux" formula, they'll be perfectly content.
Ron Fritz, sports editor: Imagine what this team will look like when the offense gets in sync. Defense forced turnovers, got after the quarterback and played like the Ravens defenses of old. For all of the injuries in the preseason, I don't think anyone expected the Ravens to dismantle any team, let alone the Bengals on the road, like this. It was a great start.
Edward Lee, sports reporter: Ravens players and coaches discussed a "commitment" to the run game, which bore out via 40 carries for 151 yards and one touchdown from Terrance West and Buck Allen. Senior offensive assistant Greg Roman's influence took some of the pressure off Joe Flacco. But the key was a defense that sacked Andy Dalton five times, intercepted him four times, and forced and recovered a fumble. Defensive coordinator Dean Pees crafted a solid scheme to keep A.J. Green under wraps.
Mike Preston, columnist: Every game can't be won the way the Ravens did Sunday, but the basic blueprint for success was on display. The Ravens can and will play tough defense, but they need to control the pace of the game with a strong running game. There will be some games in which they will have to throw more than run, but they're going to at least have to be a strong threat to run every game and open up the passing attack.
Jeff Zrebiec, Ravens beat writer: It wasn't pretty, but the Ravens couldn't have drawn up their opener any better. Potentially serious injuries to Danny Woodhead and Za'Darius Smith are the downers. And the Ravens and Joe Flacco are going to need to get more going through the air as they move forward. However, that should have been expected given how few starting offensive players were on the field during training camp and the preseason. The Ravens defense did exactly what it had to do to win a road game, and did it in dominant fashion. The focus in the offseason was making a greater commitment to the running game, creating more pressure on the quarterback and improving the secondary. All facets of the game were improved dramatically in Week 1.