The Ravens jumped out on top of the Panthers early, and they hold a 14-point lead at the half.
Here are a few quick-hit notes after the first 30 minutes of play:
- I expected the Ravens to come out and pound the ball on the ground against a Carolina run defense that allows over 130 yards per game, but offensive coordinator Cam Cameron has elected to attack the Panthers through the air, and it's proven to be a wise decision. Joe Flacco is a near-perfect 16-of-18 for 213 yards and a touchdown so far today, and he's already hit eight receivers on the afternoon. Flacco is picking apart a fairly solid Carolina secondary, and this might be as good as I've seen him look at any point in his three-year career.
- Yes, the Ravens are up by 14 at the half and have completely dominated the Panthers so far today. But this game could be completely out of reach right now if not for two Baltimore turnovers. A fumble on an exchange between Joe Flacco and Ray Rice and then another fumble by Anquan Boldin took two legitimate scoring opportunities away, and have Carolina only down by two possessions. John Harbaugh cannot be happy with the way his team has put the ball on the ground today.
- Getting his first start since 2008, Tony Moll has been impressive filling in for the injured Chris Chester at right guard. He's gotten good push in the run game, and has held his own in pass protection, creating a nice pocket for Flacco to step up into.
- The Ravens went to their no-huddle offense often throughout the first half, and it looks like it's really wearing down the Carolina front-seven. Don't know why they don't turn to the no-huddle more often, especially when Flacco hits a rough patch. He seems really comfortable running the hurry-up, and it seems to help get him into a rhythm.
- Panthers QB Brian St. Pierre has 36 passing yards at halftime of his first NFL start. He's lucky he has that many, to be honest.
- Baltimore is getting a big-time pass rush against a beat up Carolina offensive line, and they're finally starting to get sack contributions from someone other than Terrell Suggs or Haloti Ngata. Defensive end Paul Kruger got the first sack of his career late in the second quarter, and inside linebacker Jameel McClain notched his first sack since 2008 earlier in the game as well. The pass rush has been much improved today, albeit against a weak Panthers' front.
- I like the way that Josh Wilson has played at corner since stepping into the starting lineup ahead of Fabian Washington. Wilson is a much better open field tackler than Washington, and seems to play with more of a physical edge to him. He's looked sharp today.
- Sam Koch could probably grab a pillow and get some shut-eye on the sideline. The Ravens' punter hasn't been needed at all so far today, and given the way the Baltimore offense is either scoring or turning the ball over, he might be able to chill the rest of the game as well.