After falling behind 7-0 early, the Ravens ran off 21-straight points, and despite a late Saints touchdown, Baltimore takes a 21-14 lead into the half.
Here are some quick-hit notes on the first 30 minutes of play:
- Wide receiver/kickoff returner David Reed is out for the rest of the game with a concussion. Jalen Parmele will take over returning kicks for now.
- We're seeing the return of the Ravens' run game today, and it's been incredibly effective. Ray Rice has 16 carries for 66 yards and a touchdown and the Ravens have 83 rushing yards overall. They're dominating the Saints up front, especially on the edges, and that's allowed them to work the play action passing game as well. The run game hasn't been incredibly effective this season, but it's rollin' today.
- Coming into the game, I mentioned the importance of the Ravens converting on third downs and maintaining long drive, if for no other reason that it would keep the Saints' offense off the field. Well, Baltimore is 5-for-8 on third downs today, and they controlled the ball for nearly 18 minutes in the first half.
- The Ravens have gotten much better pressure out of their front-seven today, and while they only have registered one sack of Drew Brees on the afternoon, they've made him uncomfortable in the pocket throughout the game. Tavares Gooden has done well in a pass rush role, and fellow linebackers Ray Lewis and Dannell Ellerbe have also gotten a good push up the middle. The more the Ravens can force Brees to move around and get out of his comfort zone, they better shot they have at slowing this dangerous Saints offense.
- The Ravens haven't scored an offensive touchdown in the second half in four straight games, but they'll need to carry this momentum into the final two quarters today and continue to put points on the board. The way the New Orleans' offense has been rolling this season, 21 points won't be enough - and it might not be nearly enough - for the Ravens to earn a win here today.
- If I had told you that the Ravens would have two catches out of their wide receivers through the first half but they'd have 21 points, you might think I was crazy. But no, I'm not crazy. Those numbers are accurate.
- The Ravens have been flagged six times already for 40 yards. That can't continue in the second half. The false starts and untimely defensive penalties need to stop.