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The Setup
Cards came off a surprise comeback tie with Detroit. Ravens scored more than a 50-burger in their lopsided win over Miami. The only factor that could give the Cardinals the thinnest possibility of beating Baltimore would be overconfidence by the navy and black.

Lede
Baltimore hangs on to preserve a 6-point win over the Cardinals.


The Bottom Line:
Conventional wisdom pointed to the margin of the Baltimore pounding of Miami with the so-called "experts" predicting a blow-out of the Cardinals similar to what Baltimore did to the Dolphs.

But the Cards kept it close - keeping within a TD and 2-pointer of the lead for most of the game. Ravens led by just 7 -3 by the end of the 1st quarter, expanded its lead t to17- 6 at halftime and eked out an 8 pt (17 - 9) lead at the end of the 3rd quarter to wind up winning by 6.

Our concern heading into this game was that the Cardinals not embarrass themselves - on either side of the ball. Although the Cards displayed a handful of (hopefully fixable) weaknesses, they stayed within a touchdown and a 2-pointer for nearly the entire game and actually pulled within 3-ponts fairly late in the game.

Common knowlege suggested that Baltimore "would kill us." But the Cards hung in there, with a few chronic weaknesses dioing them in - including (a) their inability to corrall the Raven TE (Mark Andrews who caught 8 passes for 112 yds (b) letting Hollywood Brown (41 yd TD catch) run amok and (c) repeatedly giving Lamar Jackson a new lease on life to break outside contain (& then being outrun when attempting to keep up with the speedy Raven QB).

Main speed-bump leading to the Cardinal loss was their inablity to finish drives and score TDs in the red zone.

Key moments:

Unusual Defensive Look
Cards started in a "2 - 4 - 5" (Not so sure if it worked all that well).

K Murray
Kyler Murray had his good (& not-so-good) moments. He only rushed three times for a whopping four yards, bit also threw 25 times for 349 yards.

Fitz
Has emerged as Murray's go-to receiver - 5 catches for 104 yards (including a signature 54-yarder. That gives him two back-to-back 100+ yd games

David Johnson
Hurt his wrist, missed much if the 1H and and gained only 14 yds on 7 carries

Miscues
Byrd fielded a KO to close to the sideline and prematurely stepped out of bounds at his own 6...Marsh's double horsecollar of Jackson...McDonald roughed the Raven long snapper...Ravens had 11 plays of 10+ yds in the 1H but only had 2 FGs in the second half. .

Bright Spots
The Cards showed for the second straight week that they can move the ball...The only other rookie QB to throw for 300+ yds in his first 2 games was Cam Newton...Kirk caught 6 passes for 114 yds...Fitz caught 5 for 104.

Murph
Looking better and better. Hard hitter - a good fit opposite PP21 but may have to wait his turn in a crowded CB room.

Linebackers
C Jones and T-Sizzle are a super-human force. Their presence helps the secondary do their jobs with less risk. Saw a little bit of Reddick - nothing especially impressive.

Secondary
Started off out of synch (i.e. left receivers uncovered, allowed Hockenson to be wide open in the back of the end zone). But they tightened up - ironically at the same time our offense became more potent. We had suspected that the absence of both starting corners - Patrick Peterson and Alford - would leave Cardinal coverage extremably vulnerable, but three backups (Brock, C Jones and Murphy) played like starters on a capable unit). Brock dropped the pick that would have likely scored the winning TD or at least put us in chip-shot range, but he otherwise played a solld game

Gonzalez
"Old Reliable." We'd rather score TD's, but "we'll take it."

Cards play the Panteras at home next Sunday, and we should have a better-than-even shot at winning our first one.

Game Log
We've had trouble locating play-by-play logs worth posting here so please bear with us. When we find it, we'll post it here.


1st Quarter


TD Andrews - 27 yd pass from Jackson - Baltimore 7 - Cards 0

FG - 22 yd kick - Gonzalez - Baltimore 7 - Cards 3

1st Quarter Score: Baltimore 7 - Cards 3

2nd Quarter

  • FG - Tucker 33 yards - Baltimore 10 - Cards 3

    FG - Gonzalez 21 yards - Baltimore 10 - Cards 6

    TD - Hurst - 1 yd pass from Jackson - Baltimore 17 - Cards 6

    Halftme Score: Baltimore 17 - Cards 6

3rd Quarter

FG- 42-Yd Kick - Gonzalez - Baltimore 17 - Cards 9

    • Third Quarter Score: Baltimore 17 - Cards 9
4th Quarter

FG - Tucker 28 yds - Baltimore 20 - Cards 9

TD - D Johnson -1 Yd - Lions 20 - Cards 17

TD - Tucker 51 yds - Baltimore 23 - Cards 17

Final Score: Baltimore 23 - Cards 17

.

Notable Game Stats.

  • First Downs: Cards 15 - Ravens 26

    Net Yards Rushing: Cards 11/20 -Ravens 33/182

    Total Net Yards: Cards 349 - Ravens 440

    Passing: Murray 25/40..329 Yds...2 TDs...1 Int
    ................Jackson 24/37...258 Yds...3 TDs...0 Int.

    Passing Yards: Cards 329 - Ravens 258

    Sacked: Cards 3 for minus-20 yds - Ravens 2 for minus 14 yds

    Rushing: D Johnson 7 carries for 14 yds and 1 TD
    ................ Jackson 16 carries for 20 yds.

    Receiving: Byrd 6 of 7 for 45 yds...Kirk 6 of 8 for 114 yds...Fitz 5 fof 11 or 104
    ................:M Brown 8 of 13 for 86...Andrews 8 of 9 for 32

    Tackles - Baker 11...Hicks 11...Swearinger 8...Murphy 7...Reddick 7
    ..............- Carr 7 ...Humphrey 6...Next 4 - 4

    Sacks - Cards - 2 (Peters and Marsh
    .............Ravens 3 (Carr 1.. Judan 1...McPhee 0.5...Ricard 0.5

The "Bright Side"

  • Cards held their own - on the road - against one of the NFDL's top teams, stayed within a TD or so of the Ravens for most of the game (at one point closing the gap to 3 points) and, when the dust settled, lost by less than a TD.

  • Just about every unit improved its play as the game wore on.

Loved the C Jones/T Sizzle pass rushing tandem.

Brock, C Jones and Murphy played better than average backups

The Dark Side

  • D Johnson had a non-productve outing stat-wise (14 yds on 7 carries)
  • Our fleetest defenders couldn't keep up with Lamar Jackson when he'd sidestep the rush and break outside contain. was this strictly due to Jackson's atheticism? Can we correct the weakness via scheming? Or will we just have let our opponents "do iit to us"for 14 more games - or until we're able to bring in faster outside guys?

    Kirk, Byrd and Fitz seem to be settling in nicely

    Despite Hollywood Brown being thrown at 13 times and the time/distance situation hollering "he's going to throw long", the Card DB's failed to prevent Jackson from throwing a 41-yd TD pass to Brown with the game on the line.

    Couldn't stop the TE (Andrews)

    We need to improve our "batting average' fre contested balls.

Last Word:
Last week we said that "How we do against the Ravens will tell us a lot about the Cardinals." What we learned was that we're not a bad as many thought we were, but still have a long ways to go to address some major problems (like not stopping the TE and being unable to consistently run the ball.

One thing we've noticed is the tendency by both fans and media to turn to hyperbole and overreaction when disussing the Cardinals. Truth is: these guys have only played together in 2 games and many weren't on the roster in preseason). We really don't know what we've got - both the good and bad - and probably won't until the second half of the season. Until then, the team and its fans will just have to dig in with their fingernails and watch both the season and the team unfold.

What we don't know is "how high the team's roof is" and "how much it can improve as they get to play together as a team. Cards host a beaten-up Panteras next Sunday. Huge game for us.

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Copyright 1996 Gollin & Associates. Last modified: 11/26/2012