Baltimore Ravens vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers: What We Learned


Oct 12, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) throws the ball in the first quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

One thing we learned from the Baltimore Ravens’ 48-17 beat down of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: When this team comes to play, they can dominate. We also learned the Bucs are really bad.

Looking a little closer, there are plenty of more in-depth lessons to be had from the Ravens’ big win. Here are three of them.

Joe Flacco can officially throw out the Joe Fluke-o nickname

Skip Bayless, in his infinite wisdom, has never thought highly of Joe Flacco, even when he won the Super Bowl MVP and led the Ravens on one of the most impressive and improbable streaks in NFL history. Bayless has called Flacco “Joe Fluke-o” many times on ESPN First Take and only intensified his criticism when Flacco struggled after his Super Bowl run.

Even ignoring Bayless’ bluster, there were legitimate questions as to whether or not Flacco could ever replicate the form he showed during those 2013 Playoffs.

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  • This was the game Flacco needed to show that when he’s in a rhythm, he can still perform at the highest level imaginable for an NFL quarterback. In fact, Flacco’s performance against Tampa Bay may have been more impressive on a throw-by-throw basis than any game in his career, albeit with much lower stakes.

    This game hasn’t proven that Flacco will consistently dominate, nor does it guarantee Flacco will excel at this level in the postseason ever again. What it does prove is that Flacco, performing at his best, can put up masterful performances. And if he ever gets into rhythm like this in the playoffs again, the Ravens can certainly win another Super Bowl with the quarterback who can no longer be called Fluke-o.

    The Ravens’ pass rush can dominate against slow developing pass plays

    Honestly, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coaching staff is just as much to blame as the players for their disastrous performance, especially on offense. For some reason, quarterbacks coach and temporary play-caller Marcus Arroyo thought the Bucs could win with a constant stream of deep passes.

    That didn’t work. The Ravens pass rush feasted on those long developing plays, consistently getting to Mike Glennon before his receivers came open.

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    Ravens’ fans wanted to know why the pass rush hadn’t been racking up sacks, and the Tampa game showed why. In the second half, the Buccaneers focused on short, quick passes and the pass rush was neutralized.

    The Ravens’ secondary allows receivers to get open too quickly on short passes for the pass rush to get there. Guys like Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil and Pernell McPhee are still consistently racking up hurries and hits, but they can’t finish the plays for sacks because opponents get open too quickly.

    But if opposing quarterbacks are forced to hold on to the ball, the Ravens’ pass rush can make some big plays, as we saw Sunday.

    The Ravens have some quality rookies on offense too

    C.J. Mosley has been getting a ton of accolades this season, and Terrence Brooks has slowly started to generate some buzz as well. Both are getting well deserved praise, and now, they have some company. Five rookies on the offensive side of the ball got playing time Sunday, and all four did some praiseworthy things.

    Lorenzo Taliaferro has already gotten some buzz for his Week 3 performance, though he has seemingly fallen below Bernard Pierce on the depth chart. That said, Taliaferro unleashed a 25-yard run against the Bucs, while Bernard Pierce only managed 32 yards total on 15 runs. Taliaferro was impressive in his very limited two-carry performance.

    Michael Campanaro had the highlight of the day for the Ravens’ rookies, hauling in a 19-yard touchdown on his first professional catch. He finished with two catches for 28 yards and should be in line for a bigger role after suiting up for the first time Sunday.

    On the offensive line, both John Urschel and James Hurst protected Joe Flacco effectively while providing just enough push in the ground game. Neither dominated, but both held their own. Urschel especially showed some impressive technical proficiency and athleticism.

    Even tight end Crockett Gillmore got in on the action, hauling in two passes for 16 yards. He looked surprisingly athletic and should be just fine as the Ravens’ second tight end behind Owen Daniels.

    Counting special teamer Zach Orr and their two defensive studs, the Ravens had seven rookies play significant roles Sunday. With Timmy Jernigan expected to return from injury soon, the Ravens look to have an extremely impressive draft class, and Sunday showed that beyond a shadow of a doubt.