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A Few Thoughts About the Ravens Game, in no particular order


Virgil
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If I'm being completely honest, I didn't expect the Bills to win this game for most of the week.  Like many others, I bought into the hype of the surging Ravens who were playing like the 14-2 team they were last season with the MVP at the helm.  With the playoff win monkey off their back, their defense back at full strength, and windy conditions that favored the running game, I expected a close game where the Bills game up just short.  However, when I woke up Saturday morning, all of that went away and for some reason, expected them to win.  I didn't care about their depth at defensive back or Lamar's scrambling ability.  I thought about the entire season from when we were able to contain Kyler Murray and what we've done against top rated defenses, and I found myself incredibly calm for the rest of the day.  Win or lose, I was incredibly proud of the season we've had.

 

1 - The Play - Let me set the scene leading up to the pick six.  The game was tied at 3 going into the half, where most would argue the Bills should have been up by more.  It was the kind of first half where the BBFS reminded you of previous teams that couldn't take advantage of early opportunities and it would come back to bite them.  The Bills did come out of the half and drove downfield for a touchdown, continuing their 3rd quarter resurgence.  However, not to be outdone, the Ravens put together a drive of their own and made it into the Bills red zone.  On the play before, Marquise Brown was wide open on a crossing route and Lamar missed him as Hughes was right in his face.  The next snap occurs, Lamar drops back, and my eyes are all on Mark Andrews.  Lamar slings it in his direction, and I honestly can't see who caught the ball, as Milano and Hyde were also anticipating the throw.  I jumped up and yelled, scaring my unsuspecting daughter, as I saw a blue jersey emerge from the crowd.  In that split second, before he crossed the goal line, my cowardliness mentally screamed out for him to take the knee so that we could get the ball at the 20 and not be pinned against the end zone.  However, this is a team that plays for each other, so Milano knocks Andrews out of the way, and Tre takes off downfield to block Lamar out of the way.  And just like that, we are up 17-3 on the pick six after Taron Johnson returns the interception 101 yards.  On the replay, TJ played this ball perfectly, sitting in the underneath zone, watching Lamar's eyes, knowing he could take off at any moment, and staying just out of his field of vision.  As Lamar released the pass, TJ broke on the ball immediately and cleanly picked it off.  While he had a lot of great pressures in the backfield and was solid in coverage, this may very well be the defining play of his career.

 

2 - Frazier - Besides the broken coverage play against Hurst last year, Frazier had a pretty good game plan against Lamar and the Ravens last season; enough to give you hope against them going into this game.  Even early in the week, the Bills defenders talked about how they had a good game plan and were ready for the Ravens.  But, this was a defense that turned over major components of their defensive line and a Ravens offense that finally got over the playoffs first round hump.  The result?  An absolute masterful performance in one of the most dominating defensive showings we've seen in a very long time.  The Bills defense completely shut down the Ravens high powered college-style (sorry, couldn't help myself) RPO offense in a way that I don't think anyone saw coming.  Frazier bunched 4 at the line to cover the gaps and had them rush from the inside out, taking away a scrambling lanes and creating pressure at the same time.  When he did send an extra rusher, it was a DB from the blindside who usually got home clean.  Outside of the two drives, the first and almost TD drive, the Ravens were only able to make gains on broken plays.  All week you kept hearing about how physical the Ravens played and how their defense was going to be the star of the show.  Frazier; he took that personally.

 

3 - Wind - The 3rd most important factor in this game had to be the wind.  Watching on TV, you could see some of the flags in the stadium not moving at all, while others were completely blowing sideways.  For those who weren't around in the earlier days when they talked about the swirling winds in January, this is what we were talking about.  The wind wreaked havoc on both kickers, leading to a 2 for 6 performance.  Both QB's missed wide open deep shots that are believed to have been lost in the jet stream.  There were even a few shotgun snaps that you could see the wind affect it's path.  The strong legged Bojo punted one into a wall of wind.  It affected both teams, so that advantage was neutralized, but it did make me think about one thing.  If this is going to be the Bills offense for the next 15 years, do I dare say we want a stadium that isn't going to slow us down?  We aren't a Thurman led team that can rely on our rushing attack in these conditions.  If it truly were the wind, wouldn't you rather have a dome and have Allen hit Diggs early on that touchdown bomb?

 

4 - Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to do.

Nothin' ain't worth nothin' but it's free.

Feelin' good was easy Lord, when Bobby sang the blues.

Feelin' good was good enough for me, good enough for me and Bobby McGee.

 

5 - Milano - Pay that man his money.  I have a lot of respect for Mark Andrews and thinks he will command a solid contract this off-season.  He's got the speed, hands, and physicality of an elite tight end and has been a focal point of this Ravens offense.  While all of that is true, Matt Milano beat the absolute ***** out of him.  Milano was a man possessed on the field in both run protection and pass coverage.  He didn't just cover Andrews, he leveled him the moment the ball touched his hands.  He played fast, he played hard, and he was consistent all game.  I've always been a Milano fan and really don't want to lose him in this cap-reduced off-season, and this game was a perfect resume for his extension.

 

6 - Hughes - Against the Chargers, I kept wondering what it would be like to have a Bosa on our team.  A guy that would absolutely dominate an opposing teams offensive line when only sending four.  Against the Ravens, Hughes answered that question.  I don't know if he was drinking a Code Red Mountain Dew while applying his Old Spice before the game, but Hughes was an absolute man on the field.  He was credited with 2 sacks, but was in on another and was chasing Lamar all over the field.   You want your stars to show up in the biggest games and that's exactly what Jerry did, he showed up and he shined bright.

 

7 - Tip of the Cap - There's two players I've been incredibly hard on this season and mainly because of the expectations I have of them due to their draft status.  Edmunds and Oliver are guys far enough in their careers where they should be making a consistent impact on the field being top 15 picks.  In this game, both of them made significant contributions and had a strong impact on the game.  Oliver was fast this game and made some great pursuit tackles.  Edmunds was fast with his decision making and wrapped up all of his tackles.  He played his role in the defense exactly how he should have.  Both were fundamentally sound and allowed others to play more aggressive because of it

 

8 - Smoke - After the game against the Colts, I was curious was Brown's role in this offense was going to be.  With Humphries and Peters covering Diggs and Davis (right?!) most of the game, Smoke stepped up in a big way by becoming the safety net Allen needed and used in the first half of the season.  I'm not sure if Beasley was hobbled out there, but Smoke was our clear number two in this game and contributed on numerous first downs.  Brown also gave us our traditional "Allen scramble and finding a toe tapping receiver downfield" play.  If nothing else, any team planning for the Bills have four legitimize receivers they need to plan for.  Good luck with that.

 

9 - Allen - How would Allen handle the cold, windy conditions against a often-blitzing Ravens defense?  First off, the ice in Allen's veins makes the cold air seem like a warm ocean breeze.  The Blitzing Ravens dropped 4 into coverage on most plays trying to keep Allen underneath only to find Allen taking shot after shot downfield.  When they did blitz, they got to him a few times, but it didn't shake him at all.  Unlike the opposing QB on the other sideline who didn't know what to do when his gimmick was shut down, Allen kept his focus on the game, took what was given to him, and walked off the field a winner.  Allen didn't have a flashy game, but he also didn't make any mistakes.  He made adjustments and worked through his progressions.  Just an overall solid game, but I'm not quite sure how I feel about the flops.  I hate them in the NBA and MLS.

 

10 - McD - Coach has been the butt of many jokes for his sideline clapping, cliche' post-game speeches, and overall vanilla personality to the media.  However, if you haven't been paying attention the past few weeks, we are seeing a very different side of McD lately.  If one thing's been made clear to me, it's that McD had a very specific goal in mind with this team and he wasn't going to celebrate the little victories along the way.  When they won the division, he got emotional in the locker room.  When they won last week, he got loud in his post-game speech. In this game, you could see him bursting on the sidelines.   McD was going to be happy until he had a Super Bowl contending squad, and as that vision has started to become a reality, I think we are finally seeing the real McD.   With a 17-3 win, it's a beautiful thing. 

 

**Notable Call-outs:

--Harrison Phillips was great against the run and in penetration

--Trent Murphy is the Lamar's scrambling kryptonite.  His containment in this game was masterful and worth all the cap space sitting on the bench in recent games

--Knox wasn't flashy in his catches, but also didn't make any mistakes.  He was great in pass protection

--Wallace with some great pressure on DB blitzes

--6700 fans really did sound like 75,000 strong

 

 

With that, we are off to the AFC championship game.  It feels surreal to even type that.  We heard people call us Super Bowl contenders, but now that we are in the final four, it's starting to become real.  No matter what happens going forward, this team has proven everyone wrong this year.  Well, except one man.  In the 90's we had Chris Berman.  This Bills team has Kyle Brandt.  The hype and support this man has put towards the Bills has been absolutely amazing and he's created a fan out of me.

 

Go Bills!!!

Edited by Virgil
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Edmunds had a rough start to the game (over/under pursuit, unsure of his keys, etc).  He REALLY picked it up as the game played out.

 

There were a couple of head scratching defensive calls (not pressuring Lamar on the 3rd and longs) but overall it was just a well-conceived and executed game plan by McDermott/Frazier.

 

I'm a bit concerned about Brown's confidence.  He's fighting the ball a bit.

 

 

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Good write up! I love reading these posts.

 

Re: #6 - it was Edmunds and Murphy that laid the hit on Lamar that knocked him out of the game (I believe)

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Taron Johnson showed some very good speed on that return.  Lamar gained a bit but Taron was flying.  Took a peak to see if he had run track in high school and he did.  He ran some 10.7 and 10.8 100 meters and some sub 22-second 200's.  Rockin' times for a high schooler whose primary focus was probably football.

 

https://www.athletic.net/TrackAndField/Athlete.aspx?AID=2906511

 

 

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28 minutes ago, Sig1Hunter said:

Good write up! I love reading these posts.

 

Re: #6 - it was Edmunds and Murphy that laid the hit on Lamar that knocked him out of the game (I believe)


Yeah, you’re right.  I’m editing it.  I had a lot of notes and mixed them up 

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25 minutes ago, Ninety-4 said:

Taron Johnson showed some very good speed on that return.  Lamar gained a bit but Taron was flying.  Took a peak to see if he had run track in high school and he did.  He ran some 10.7 and 10.8 100 meters and some sub 22-second 200's.  Rockin' times for a high schooler whose primary focus was probably football.

 

https://www.athletic.net/TrackAndField/Athlete.aspx?AID=2906511

 

 

Big #61 in blue was right there with him for a hot minute too!

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Last night's game is one I'd like to watch again while not being in the heat of the moment.  It seems as though the Bills pass rush did a fantastic job of not running past Lamar on most passing plays.  You keep him surrounded in the pocket and he doesn't hurt you much from there. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Sig1Hunter said:

Big #61 in blue was right there with him for a hot minute too!

I heard this morning that on that play, Zimmer reached the 2nd highest fastest speed for a DLineman this season.  Only Aaron Donald ran faster.

Edited by Alaska Darin
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2 hours ago, Alaska Darin said:

I heard this morning that on that play, Zimmer reached the 2nd highest fastest speed for a DLineman this season.  Only Aaron Donald ran faster.

 

Tail wind?  He's a fairly large sail. 

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Great write up, Virgil. Like you, I fell into the Ravens hype, and all I kept seeing pre-game was Lamar making that 43-yard TD run vs. the Titans. Then my head goes to the Bills/Titans game and how badly they beat the Bills, so I just settled into my sofa, expecting a lot of what I saw in the Ravens first drive.

 

It's difficult to express the joy of ultimately watching the D fluster the crap out of Lamar. He seemed so used to having an escape route that watching him twist and turn and find nowhere to go helped me be more confident as the game went on.

 

Oh, and in case you've never seen it, probably one of the best remakes of a classic song. Even after she screws up the last refrain, it's tremendous.

 

 

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10 hours ago, Virgil said:


Yeah, you’re right.  I’m editing it.  I had a lot of notes and mixed them up 

Official Meme Thread. [NO POLITICS] - Page 12 - Toyota GR86, 86, FR-S and  Subaru BRZ Forum - FT86CLUB

I kid. Great writ up as always and Kansas city.....Kansas City here I come!

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