The third-year starter took a hellacious beating. Boller tipped off his
intentions, staring down his reads and misfiring for three interceptions. One of
his picks hurt a lot as it was in the red zone. His final one was returned for a
touchdown by middle linebacker Mike Peterson. He completed only 19 of 33 passes
for 142 yards for a horrendous 30.1 passer rating. Boller nearly got receiver
Derrick Mason decapitated on one telegraphed lob. He looked rusty, appearing to
commit the same type of mistakes he did in an alarming preseason.
2. Playing without linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed, the second-ranked defense in the NFL faltered markedly. They allowed 6-foot-6 rookie wide receiver Matt Jones, the ultra-athletic former Arkansas quarterback, to do whatever he wanted. He caught five passes for 117 yards, including a 32 yard touchdown behind cornerback Chris McAlister. Safety Will Demps was nowhere to be found, seeming to bite on Byron Leftwich's play-action fake. Later, Jones victimized 38-year-old cornerback Deion "Prime Time" Sanders for a 36-yard catch that set up Greg Jones' 1-yard touchdown run.
3. The Ravens couldn't run the football (53 net yards) and abandoned that tactic once they fell behind. Jamal Lewis was held to 44 yards on 14 carries, below his season average of 54 yards. The Ravens converted only 4 of 14 third downs, a 29-percent clip. The offense had 163 net yards, eight first downs and hasn't scored a touchdown in 11 quarters.
4. Now, the run defense is suspect without Lewis. They allowed Jones, a backup who normally plays fullback, to run roughshod over them for 106 yards on 25 carries. It's a trend since Baltimore gave up 97 yards to Cincinnati's Rudi Johnson last week and 139 yards to Chicago's Thomas Jones three weeks ago. Tommy Polley was roughed up in the middle, making his eight tackles downfield. The defensive line didn't create penetration.
5. Leftwich was only sacked once and took his time picking out his receivers to complete 16 of 30 passes for 211 yards and no interceptions.
In addition to being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.
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