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Ravens - Stillers.....World War Palmer Sucks

January 16, 2009 by Guest

World War III


�Sucks Says

Random Rantings by PalmerSucks


So this is it -- round 3 in what they�re billing as the nastiest, dirtiest, hard-hittingest game around. Ray-Ray and Harrison, Suggs and Troy, hits galore, all snot-blowing and gut-busting and eye-gouging. World War III in cleats.


Don't buy it for a minute. Oh sure, there'll be hits, and knowing the Ravens, some late ones -- but this time things should be different. Because World War 3 should be more like Murder 1. This time it shouldn't come down to the wire -- this time the Pittsburgh Steelers should play their brand of football, and kick these purple pretenders� asses all the way back to Crabtown.


Why? Because the Baltimore Ravens are a mirage, a fraud, a three-dollar bill, running on fumes and smoke to go with the mirrors on the sides of their helmets. Just separate the hype from the facts, and you�ll see.


Take all the arguments for Baltimore winning, and you get this: myth.


MYTH: You can't beat a team three times in one season.


Oh yeah? Go ask a Cleveland fan that question, 'cause that's what those dudes claimed a few years ago before losing to these same Stillers in the playoffs. Statistics show that the team that's swept the season series actually has a better shot of winning the third time around -- maybe because it's the better team that's able (duh) to complete the sweep in first place.


MYTH: Baltimore's defense is big and bad enough to carry the team by itself.


That may have been true back in '00, but this year's unit doesn't compare. Lost in all the media hoopla is the fact that Tennessee rolled over the vaunted Ravens' D, both passing and rushing. Fact is, we'd all be discussing whether the Stillers could win in Tennessee, had super-rook Chris Johnson not left the game early with an injury.


MYTH: The Ravens can win with a rookie QB provided he keeps on playing the way he has.


You can read all the lengthy match up analysis you want, but really, this game comes down to one simple concept: making the Ravens pay for sending a rookie quarterback into the playoffs.


Week after week, I mock the Ravens for playing Hide the Quarterback, and week after week they make me look bad. But how? How have they pulled off this trick?


Part of it is the luck of the draw. By placing last in the playoffs, the Ravens got to face Miami, the weakest team in the entire AFC bracket. The self-destructing Dolphins allowed the Ravens' defense to pick them clean, negating Joke Flacco's rather stinky playoff debut (9 for 23 and a 59 rating).


Game 2 with the tough Titans should have been a problem for Joke, but instead the Tennessee offense handled the ball like a hot greasy potato, coughing it up three times well into Ravens' territory. (In all the Titans wasted a total of six -- SIX!! -- scoring opportunities in a 13-10 game, where every single point is golden.) In typically lucky fashion, Joke even escaped stepping out of the end zone for a safety by an inch or two ("I almost pulled an Orlovsky," he admitted after the game, yuk yuk!). Once again, the Ravens got to pass the tollbooth without throwing the cash into the basket (with an assist by the time-clock attendant).


Likewise, once again Flacco got the gushy post-game praise, much to my disgust. Crediting Flacco for that win is like throwing a ticker-tape parade for the PX sergeant. I wouldn't even call Joke a "game manager" after that one -- more like a game gawker, watching the other team shoot itself in the foot once again.


And the more you look at what the Ravens have pulled off, the more amazing it gets:


Joe Flacco (2 playoff games)

0 fumbles

0 interceptions

0 sacks


That last number is even more startling: for 2 entire playoff games Flacco's been safer than a termite in a redwood forest. That's beyond incredible -- that's absurd! The Ravens can't be allowed to coddle and cuddle their rookie QB like this again; not if the Stillers want to find themselves playing again in a couple weeks.


You've no doubt heard all the media drooling over Flacco. Now look at the numbers:



WK Game Date Opp Result G GS Comp Att Pct Yds Avg TD Int Sck SckY Rate Att Yds Avg TD FUM Lost

18 01/04   @ MIA  W   27-9  1 1 9 23 39.1 135 5.9 0 0 0 0 59.1 5 8 1.6 1 -- --

19 01/10   @ TEN  W   13-10 1 1 11 22 50.0 161 7.3 1 0 0 0 89.4 5 5 1.0 0 -- --

TOTALS                        2 2 20 45 44.4 296 6.6 1 0 0 0 73.9 10 13 1.3 1 0 0


The two key stats: Flacco is completing a whopping 44 percent of his passes, for a sickly 6.6 YPA. His 73.9 rating should be good enough to lose most games -- yet here are the Ravens, one game away from the Super Bowl. Joke REALLY lamed it up against Miami, going 9 for 23 and a lousy 5.9 YPA, but lack of pressure (and turnovers) rendered him harmless. That can't be permitted to happen again this Sunday.


The Ravens have an interesting way of protecting Flacco; rather than just give him safe dump offs, they often let him throw deep, on non-pressure downs. The TD he threw against the Titans was a prime example. Reviewing the play, I saw the Ravens send 4 guys on go routes -- Flacco only had to read the safety, and throw it where he wasn't. Not only that, but the Ravens' WR, Mason, practically jogged downfield in order to give Flacco as much margin of error as possible.

This butt-basic play paid off big, and the Steelers can't afford to get caught by the same training-wheels tactics.


As much as people make of Flacco's big arm, the fact is his pass was underthrown: it was Mason's slow-up that made the play work. Not only that, but the safety looked like a geriatric in his wheel chair getting over to help. Again, the Ravens get away with murder!


�Joe Cool�


The big compliment for Flacco is "he doesn't make mistakes." That's EXACTLY why the Ravens should get bounced this week. You win in the playoffs by making hero plays, rather than not merely screwing up. Of all people, Stillers fans should know this. How painfully ironic would it be to watch the Stillers get beat by the same Cowher playoff ball we suffered through for years?


No team should get to the Super Bowl by going into a shell and counting on the other guys to make mistakes.  The rookie QB and his rookie head coach must pay the price for their inexperience. This is the Stillers� mission, should they choose to accept.


By the way, am I the only one not impressed by Joke and the Baltimore offense? Apparently not:


From the profootballtalk site --


Count Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth as officially frustrated and angry after being dismissed from the playoffs by the Baltimore Ravens, a team whose offense he ripped in the wake of their 13-10 AFC divisional playoff victory Saturday in Nashville.

Haynesworth took a few shots at the Ravens� offense.  Plus, he�s not too happy with how the Titans� offense played.


�I think their offense is weak,� Haynesworth told Tim Graham of  �I don�t think they have much of an offense.  We shut down the run.  We shut down pretty much the pass.  They had about two or three pass plays and that�s it.  We gave them a lot of stuff.  The offense gave the ball away and kept them in the game.�


Note his point: guard against the 2 or 3 big pass plays Flacco's capable of making per game, and you can pretty much shut down the Baltimore pass attack. As I said, the Ravens actually use the deep ball to protect Flacco; it's as if they almost don't care if he throws the pick, as cock-sure as they are about the abilities of their own defense.


So what will it take for Joke to finally choke? For starters, we have this little item from the Baltimore Sun:


Chilly practice

Ravens coach John Harbaugh decided to practice outdoors yesterday in Owings Mills in the 28-degree weather. According to, the forecast for Sunday evening's game at Heinz Field is temperatures in the low 20s, with light winds reaching up to 7mph. The Ravens will "play it by ear" on whether to continue practicing outside or in their indoor field house this week, Harbaugh said.  "It's a beautiful day out there right now," Harbaugh said. "So, we're looking forward to getting out there and running around a little bit."  Said quarterback Joe Flacco: "I've never played in weather that cold, but I'm not really planning on it being too much of a factor."


Is it me, or does he sound a lot like Tony Romo here? We'll know Sunday, should Joe do the same kind of dash to the hot-fan the first chance he gets.


Making Them Pay


A few years ago, the New England Patriots made the Steelers pay for having a rookie QB play in the AFC Championship Game. It's up to the Stillers now to return the favor, this time to the Baltimore Ravens.


The first two games have been played Ravens' style: low-scoring brawls that have kept Flacco from having to play as big a part as a QB should. This time the Steelers' need to play it their way: hard hitting yes, but making use of their more explosive offense. In other words, take the scoring at least into the 20s rather than down into the teens.


For me, one played summed up this Ravens' playoff run perfectly: a 37-yard "bomb" from Flacco that was so badly underthrown, it made both Tennessee defenders fall down (no doubt laughing) on the play. Instead of a sure interception, the Ravens WR stood there all alone, and hauled in the uncontested catch. A few plays later Baltimore had a field goal. Pardon me while I go throw up now, just remembering this play.


So far, the playoffs have worked out big-time in the Stillers' favor; Mike Tomlin & Co. may never have the table set so perfectly again. The Stillers CANNOT allow some rookie QB to block their way to Tampa. Like the deadbeat who's escaped the check time and again, it's time to make the Ravens pay. You wanted us, big boys? You got us! 


If the Ravens can ugly down another game, keep everyone coughing it up and kicking field goals, they can win and steal their way into Super Bowl XLIII. It says here they won�t: Stillers 24, Baltimore 9. Or something like that.




- I said in the previous commentary the Stillers would "waltz" into the Super Bowl should they muster up a decent running game. Watching Parker operate behind a fullback was a treat -- but the Stillers' TEs did a nice job of blocking too.


I doubt the Stillers run it this week like they did against the Chargers, but my original claim stands: average 3.5 a pop or better, and you've done enough to support your QB to let him make the PASSING plays that win playoff games.


- How'd my "Steelers by at least 2 TDs over the Chargers" dream prediction go? I was one Limas Sweed drop from the roses. Oh well. By the way, take it easy on Sweed; he's simply one of the many rookies who need that first year under their belts before they can function as professionals. I remember a lot of nasty things being said about a rook by the name of Troy Polamalu -- and he turned out all right.


- How'd my nomination of Holmes to be the step-up player of the game turn out? Next time watch out for him to do it at receiver.


- Reviewing the tape of the first Steelers-Chargers tilt, I noticed something extraordinary: Justin Hartwig was taking on Jamal Williams singlehandedly! That's not supposed to happen. However it did -- and if it could happen a second time, the Steelers o-line would be blowing the San Diego d-line off the ball. Sure enough, Hartwig comes out and about plows Williams into the Allegheny River. The running rout was on.


- Will they call holding this time, finally? If so the Ravens are in trouble. Last week James Harrison got held like a drunk girl at a fraternity party, maybe even worse than in the first Chargers� tilt. And got away with it too. That, I think, is all that stood between Philip Rivers and not finishing the game.


- The decison to go for it on 4th and goal was 100 percent the right call. All that lacked was the execution. If Davis doesn't bobble the handoff, he's in easily. Better yet, if they don't call his number and go instead with their short-yardage specialist, Gary �Leg Churn� Russell, he's in. Right call, wrong play call. What�s to lose? Worst case you have the number-one defense ready to take over should the play fail, with the opposition on the one-inch line. And -- more importantly -- you don't just get a field goal then have to kick off to the little burner who nearly brought back the last kickoff for a TD. Things turned out fine anyway when Woodley sacked Rivers at the 1, forced a kick and let the Stillers� offense take over again. That drive, as it turns out, was merely a continuation of the previous one.


- Professor Palmersucks says:  Russell + Fullback = Short-Yardage TD


- Speaking of Hartwig, turns out he's been the star pickup of the season. I'll take the trade-off of Hartwig for Mahan and Kemo for Faneca any day of the week. Word is Hartwig's been hosting some skull sessions at his place for the 0-line; wonder how many times Mahan did that last year?


- Speaking of Davis, there's been a lot of complaining about his sudden appearance in the offense last week. Why use Davis so much, a player we hadn't seen much of all year? Answer: the Stillers sent a message to their next opponent: it's the playoffs, prepare for anything. I wouldn't expect to see Davis much next week, but watch for some other "surprise" player to get the call.


- Lamarr Woodley: two playoff games, four sacks. The real pros get it done in the playoffs.


- Thing to be practicing for Sunday: running downfield and having defenders try to rip the ball out of your hands.


I just wanted to end this with something you may not be thinking about: imagine if Modell had never moved his team out of Cleveland. Right now we'd be jawing it up with Brownies fans -- you don't think things would be 10 times more heated than they are right now? Think you couldn�t hate Ray Lewis any more? Think of him in a Browns uniform instead. This is the turnpike smackdown that could have been. Art Modell, you forever suck.


Until next time, this is PalmerSucks, and this is what I say.


(The views of PalmerSucks are not necessarily those of � but should be.)


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