Baltimore Ravens vs Tennessee Titans: What We Learned


Nov 9, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Justin Forsett (29) celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter against the Tennessee Titans at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Charles Dickens may have written the script for the Baltimore Ravens 21-7 win over the Tennessee Titans, a script entitled “A Tale of Two Teams.”

The first team was the Ravens in the first quarter: At one point, the Titans had more first downs than the Ravens had total plays on offense. That was a pretty pathetic showing.

The second team: A physical, aggressive team that can dominate the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. This was the team that showed up after that horrendous first quarter, and especially in the second half.

The score doesn’t reflect the beat down the Ravens put on the Titans, but the lessons we learned from the win should better illustrate the Ravens’ dominance.

Danny Gorrer and Anthony Levine have potential

Since this was against a rookie quarterback making his first road start, nobody should try to draw too many conclusions from Danny Gorrer’s and Anthony Levine’s successful debuts. That said, the duo handled themselves well, playing aggressively, confidently and intelligently.

Both corners were rarely out of position, and both broke on passes quickly, either forcing an incompletion or quickly making the tackle.

Gorrer had a defensive highlight with an interception in which he baited a weak throw from Zach Mettenberger, broke on the ball quickly and came down with an interception. That’s the kind of play that had been missing in the secondary.

Levine was more conservative, but he didn’t make any major mistakes and proved to be a sound tackler.

Just based on this performance, the new corners seem to be an upgrade. Before we rush to judgment, though, let’s see them take on the New Orleans Saints’ and San Diego Chargers’ passing games.

The Ravens have the best OLB duo in the NFL

Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil combined for four sacks and made numerous impact plays against the run as well. When the Ravens rush that duo with Pernell McPhee and Haloti Ngata, opposing quarterbacks rarely have a chance.

Both Suggs and Dumervil did their best work with the bull rush, consistently pushing back Michael Oher and Taylor Lewan. With Ngata keeping Mettenberger from stepping up in the pocket, the Ravens were able to terrorize the rookie signal caller.

Dumervil now has 10.5 sacks on the season, while Suggs has five.

Front-seven play will make or break the Ravens

Snipes at the secondary aside, the Ravens’ big guys on both sides of the ball ultimately determined this game, as well as the previous two losses.

For nine consecutive quarters (Bengals game, Steelers game, first quarter of Titans game) the Ravens’ offensive line was pushed around, unable to generate push in the ground game and constantly surrendering pressure in pass protection. Somehow, someone lit a fire underneath that unit midway through this game, as holes started developing in the ground game and Joe Flacco had time to throw.

The defensive front seven was similar. Bishop Sankey was consistently gaining three to five yards in the first quarter, giving the Titans easy third-down conversions. Further, the Titans were stonewalling the Ravens’ pass rush, which allowed Mettenberger to find open receivers with impunity.

After two bad drives to start the game, though, the Ravens defense stepped up, holding the Titans to just three yards per carry for the entire game.

A stat that summarizes the Ravens’ performance: The Titans controlled the ball for over 80 percent of the first quarter, but still lost the time of possession battle. When the Ravens turned around the battle in the trenches, they turned around the entire game. That needs to be a point of emphasis going forward.