(Note – Written by staff writer Aaron Hopkins after the opening game, this article appears on this new Balt..."/> (Note – Written by staff writer Aaron Hopkins after the opening game, this article appears on this new Balt..."/>

The Post Super Bowl Ravens of 2013 – Week 1 Review


Sep 5, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) prepares to pass in the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Ravens 49-27. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

(Note – Written by staff writer Aaron Hopkins after the opening game, this article appears on this new Baltimore Wire blog on the blog’s opening day – 11/13/13 – to populate the site immediately and give new readers a sense of what this coverage will be like.)

The 2013-14 NFL season opens with a lot of questions for the Ravens.  What happened in Denver last Thursday?  Is the defense struggling because of Reed’s and Lewis’ absence? Will the defense get better?  Will receivers catch passes?  Will Flacco play like the postseason or the season from last year?  Will the offensive line be able to form a running game?

The Ravens had a lot of issues in their debut against a sharp Peyton Manning 5,280 feet higher than they are used to.  Many folks pointed to the loss of Anquan Boldin, Ray Lewis, and Ed Reed.  All great players and will surely be missed; however, let’s look a bit closer.

Watching Reed and Lewis play defense last year was hard.  They were slow, and I cringed every time Ed Reed tackled, thinking he’d be injured.  Ray and Ed were awesome in their times and still provided something all teams need… leadership.  It was hard watching pass after pass completed past Lewis who just couldn’t keep up with kids ten years younger and faster than he.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still glad they each played last year, and without them the Ravens don’t win a Super Bowl.

Now it’s time for the next generation of Ravens defense.  With many new players it will take some time to get all the pieces together. What kind of surprised me was new linebacker Daryl Smith.  Coming from the Jaguars he had an amazing preseason and seemed to be the perfect guy to replace Lewis.  Smith was all over the field in the preseason making tackles.  On Thursday night I almost forgot he was playing against the Broncos.  With only four tackles all game long (Josh Bynes with 8), Smith had his hands full with Manning.

In the third quarter things seemed to fall apart for the Ravens.  You can blame it on Manning being great, the lack of oxygen, the Ravens’ defense having lots of new players, but no Ed Reed or Ray Lewis?  I think the score would have been similar.

The front line of the Ravens played well limiting the Broncos to 65 yards rushing between three players.  The secondary was definitely the weakest link.  Newcomer safeties Huff and Elam had combined for a whopping 3 tackles and seemed lost on several plays.  I saw Denver wideouts open for much of the evening (especially that guy named Welker).  The secondary will get better.  They have potential to be very good.

On offense, things looked pretty good until the second half.  Injuries to Jones and Oher didn’t help; however, Flacco played better than his stats would indicate. Going 11 of his first 15 passes, he started well.  Although there were a few passes that were off target, it was his receivers that had trouble catching, and the offensive line simply struggled with Oher on the sideline.  You didn’t see too many completions over 20 yards this time around!

Week two will shed some more light on this team who won the Super Bowl.