Everything falls into place for Ravens against rebuilt Bills
ABS-CBN Sports on Sep 10, 2018 02:24 PM
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) celebrates his touchdown pass to wide receiver John Brown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018 in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
By David Ginsburg, Associated Press
BALTIMORE (AP) — The manner in which Baltimore manhandled Buffalo in the season opener seemingly validates the Ravens' effort to address their shortcomings of a year ago.
Joe Flacco threw touchdown passes to each of his three new wide receivers, the defense was relentless in its debut for coordinator Don Martindale and special teams chipped in with a pair of field goals and a 51-yard punt return in a 47-3 rout Sunday.
For one day, at least, everything went according to plan.
"It's great to see it unfold," running back Javorius Allen said. "It's like a flower, and it blossomed."
The Bills, on the other hand, had virtually all of their fears come true. They got nothing from the quarterback position, couldn't move on the ground and never recovered after falling behind 14-0 in the rain before the game was 14 minutes old.
"We got off to a very bad start. It seemed like we came out flat," running back and team captain LeSean McCoy said. "Collectively, we didn't play well. It wasn't one guy's fault, it was all of us."
Most of the scrutiny fell on starting quarterback Nathan Peterman, who went 5 for 18 for 24 yards and two interceptions before being replaced by rookie Josh Allen in the third quarter.
And now, one game into the season, there's a quarterback controversy. Coach Sean McDermott will consider his options carefully leading up to Sunday's home opener against the Los Angeles Chargers.
"I'm going to look at everything," he said. "It's too early to go one way or another."
There was plenty of blame to throw around after Buffalo failed to make a first down until the third quarter and was penalized 10 times for 100 yards.
"It was a full, total team effort there," he said.
Some things we learned about the Ravens and Bills:
Although the Ravens have always had a reputation for an aggressive defense, their new-look offense helped pave the way for a lopsided win.
Six players scored touchdowns, including receivers John Brown , Michael Crabtree and Willie Snead, who were signed as free agents to upgrade an ineffective passing game.
"It's just awesome because, in my opinion, we have one of the best defenses in the league," Snead said. "Nobody really expects us to put up those kind of points and be as dominant on defense as we are."
The defense appreciated the assist.
"To be a good team you need a good special teams, a good offense and a good defense," linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "You can't have one without the other two."
After losing veteran center Eric Wood and Pro Bowl left guard Richie Incognito, as well as trading away left tackle Cordy Glenn, the Bills hoped their revamped offensive line could jell in a hurry.
It did not. The ground game sputtered and Buffalo yielded six sacks.
"There were times when I thought we could have been better up front," McDermott said.
ONE DOWN, 15 TO GO
Lest anyone forget, the Ravens blanked Cincinnati on the road in last year's opener, a victory that ultimately proved meaningless in a 9-7 season.
"You can't tell anything by one game," Suggs said. "We got one in the can on our home field. It's only one game. We think we can get better."
Despite playing without suspended cornerback Jimmy Smith and injured tackle Willie Henry, the Ravens were dominant on defense.
"The guys that played did a phenomenal job," Suggs said. "We have a couple of pieces out and we're looking forward to getting those pieces back."
Buffalo was banking on a newly configured defensive line to limit the run, but the Ravens crossed up the Bills on a wet field by throwing the ball early.
"We thought they were going to try to run the ball more than they did, especially with the weather conditions," said defensive end Trent Murphy, an offseason free agent addition. "That was the biggest surprise."
Cornerback Tavon Young became the first Ravens defensive back to get two sacks in a game since Bennie Thompson in 1996.
Young revealed that he hadn't had a sack since his freshman year at Temple.
"That's crazy, isn't it?" he said with a grin.