Podcast Episode 20: The Ravens lay an egg in Cleveland

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The Charm City Bird Watch Podcast is brought to you by Seven Sports Bar & Grille in New Freedom, PA. For a limited time early on behalf of Charm City Bird Watch, you can get a 10% discount on any entree at Seven by staying the promo code ‘Charm City’ to your server! One possible entree combination above – Crabcake, Sweet Potato Fries, and side vegetable! 

Welcome to Episode 20 of the Charm City Bird Watch Podcast with site owner Jake McDonnell, editor Nolan McGraw, and author Ian Schultz.

Unfortunately, we have to open up the show by dishing out our initial reactions to the Ravens’ heartbreaking 12-9 defeat in overtime to the Cleveland Browns from this past Sunday (4:46). We do our weekly Who’s Trending segment (21:42) and dive into some things to watch for in the Ravens’ next game – a third straight road test against the Tennessee Titans (33:22).

Since Nolan and Ian’s portion of Episode 19 was recorded before the official Orioles departures of Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette, the baseball portion of this week’s show gives the guys a platform to voice their thoughts on this huge development in Birdland (39:55).

To wrap up the show, we dive into our weekly numbers segment, taking a look at the best Baltimore sports athletes to wear the number 20 (46:22).

You can find the Charm City Bird Watch Podcast on SoundCloudiTunes, and Google Play. Please leave us a review on iTunes, we love to hear your feedback and may read it on a future episode. Thank you for listening!

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Five thoughts from Ravens frustrating 12-9 loss in Cleveland

After picking up their biggest win of the season this past Sunday in Pittsburgh, the Baltimore Ravens played their ugliest game of the season in Cleveland and lost to the Browns for the first time since 2015.

A lot if crazy and questionable stuff happened leading up the Browns’ 12-9 win, but here are my five key takeaways.

1. Worst game of the year for Ravens offense

There was nothing good about the offense’s performance on Sunday and it all starts with Joe Flacco. The veteran quarterback threw the ball 56 times and failed to reach the 300-yard threshold. Throw in an ugly interception and it was easily the worst game of the year for Flacco. I don’t care if the interception was tipped by a defender. The ball should have never been thrown in the first place since Flacco’s intended target was double covered.

While Flacco did not have his best game, the blame is not entirely on him. The rest of the offense was just as unreliable, resulting in an ugly afternoon all around. Michael Crabtree led the team in receptions and receiving yards but those are deceptive stats considering he also dropped three catchable passes, including the potential game-winner late in the fourth quarter.

I also have to regretfully call out the run game. Alex Collins excited us early on by picking up 42 yards on his first six carries but he quickly became less involved in the game. Even when he did see action Collins was not very productive, picking up just 17 yards on his final six carries. To make things worse, Buck Allen was not on his game either. Allen finished the game with 34 yards and had a crucial fumble that stifled the Ravens first drive of the second half.

2. Third down efficiency one of many issues for offense

Coming into Sunday’s game the Ravens offense had done a good job of converting in third down situations with a 46% success rate (29/63) on the season. That changed pretty quickly this week when the Ravens went 0-for-6 on third down in the first half. Baltimore would end up finishing the game 4-for-16 on third down.

3. Pass rush gets more involved

The Ravens defense found a lot of success last week against Pittsburgh despite only picking up one sack in garbage time. This week Baltimore made their life a little easier by bringing Baker Mayfield down five times. The return of the pass rush helped force the Browns rookie quarterback into some long yardage situations.

In some instances coach Martindale drew up some more creative blitz packages to get his defense rolling. Eric Weddle’s first quarter sack stands out as a good example of this. The veteran safety was able to hide behind a pair of edge rushers at the line and get to Mayfield untouched for the easy blind side sack.

4. Ravens avoid a few injury scares

After getting some key players back from injury this week the Ravens were looking stronger than ever. However, throughout the course of Sunday’s game there were some plays that made you hold your breath. Both Tavon Young and Mark Andrews had to exit the game for concussion protocol but neither one was permanently sidelined.

Young was shaken up after diving for an incredible interception in the first quarter. The third-year cornerback was quickly tackled by a pair of Browns players but was hit in the head in the process. Getting Young back was a huge relief for the defense since the Ravens only had four cornerbacks activated for the game.

5. Same old Ravens

There is no other way for me to sum this game up. The offense was given an insane amount of opportunities throughout the game, especially in the fourth quarter and overtime, but failed to get into the end zone just once. Between the Ravens defense picking up six stops in the last two quarters and the Browns shooting themselves in the foot with ten penalties, there is just no excuse for the Ravens offense.

At the end of the day this was the same old Ravens that Weddle has been joking about in his recent post game press conferences. I give the team all the credit in the world for making the necessary adjustments against Denver and Pittsburgh but they disappointed this week. Nothing screams same old Ravens more than playing down to your competition a week after a big win.

Image credit: John Kuntz / Cleveland.com

Keys to Victory – Maryland Terrapins Vs. #15 Michigan Wolverines

Ann Arbor- After a much-needed bye week, the Maryland football team charges into the teeth of the BIG10 elite. The Terps are walking in to the “Big House” for Michigan’s homecoming game. Both teams bolster hard-nosed, run stopping defenses, and elite running back groups. But the Michigan Wolverines are easily the toughest opponent the Terps have faced this season, and things could quickly get out of hand.

The Maryland Terps (3-1, 1-0 BIG10) are 1-6 all time against the Wolverines (4-1, 2-0 BIG10) . Including a 35-10 drubbing in College Park last season. Maryland won their first BIG10 game against the Wolverines, in Brady Hoke’s last game as head coach back in 2014. Since then the Wolverines have ripped off 3 straight.

Key To Victory

Establish the run – Although the Terps average more than 250 yards on the ground per game (258.5ypg), they are facing a top 10 rush defense. Anthony McFarland and Ty Johnson can strike from any spot on the field behind a stout offensive line. McFarland is averaging a huge 10.8 yards per carry on 27 carries. The Maryland offensive line needs to start fast and dominate at the point of attack. The offensive line led by Damian Prince and Derwin Gray should be back to full speed after the bye week, both having missed sometime due to nagging injuries. The Wolverines defense allows a little more than 86 yards a game on the ground (86.4ypg), so this will be no easy feat.

Play mistake free football – At times the Terps have certainly looked sloppy, averaging more than nine penalties, and 90.5 penalty yards per game, the second-most in the Big Ten. With a top 10 defense like Wolverines the Terps will not be able to afford these types of mistakes.

“We can’t have penalties,” Canada said. “You can’t beat yourselves, and certainly we’ve had that happen in a couple games where we’ve cost ourselves some opportunities.”

Kasim Hill has to show up – For as explosive as the Terps offense has been the weakest link is certainly the play of sophomore quarterback Kasim Hill. The Terps offense is a feast or famine type offense they have had 15 plays for 25 or more yards, but have struggled to sustain drives. Luckily, the Terps haven’t needed to call on Hill much, with the shear dominance the run game has been able to accomplish. Back in week three the Temple Owls came into College Park with a simple yet effective game plan, STOP THE RUN. Quarterback Kasim Hill went 7 for 17 for 56 yards, and backup Tyrrell Pigrome was 1 for 4 for 7 yards. Both threw an interception. The Wolverines are going to have the same exact game plan, stop the run, and make Hill beat us. The Terps are going to need more from Kasim Hill if they want to be victorious at the Big House.

Slow down Karan HigdonKaran Higdon has been an absolute mauler for the Wolverines this season, with 76 carries for 479 yards and five touchdowns on the year. Higdon is coming off a solid game, ripping off 31 carries for 115 yards and two touchdowns against Northwestern. But, the Terps have a solid run defense, led upfront by transfers Tre Watson and Byron Cowart. The run defense ranks fourth in the Big Ten at 104 yards allowed per game and just 2.7 per rush. The Terrapins defense should come in with similar game plan to the Wolverines, stop the run, and make the quarterback beat you. Unfortunately i think the Wolverines have the advantage with transfer junior Shea Patterson. Much like Kasim Hill, Patterson has not been asked to do much as the offense is centered around the run game.

Prediction

Michigan 33 Maryland 17

The Details:

  • When: Saturday October 6th, 12:00pm
  • Where: Michigan Stadium, “THE BIG HOUSE”, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Radio: 105.7TheFan
  • TV: ABC

Image Credit: The Baltimore Sun