This felt like Week 1 all over again.
The early touchdowns, the huge plays in the passing game, the Ravens’ defense ratcheting up the pressure and forcing turnovers ... heck, even the final score almost perfectly mirrored the rout Baltimore put on the Steelers two weeks ago.
All the familiar pieces were present in today’s 37-7 win over the Rams.
Two weeks after overwhelming the Steelers by a final score of 35-7, and a week after turning in a sluggish effort in a 26-13 loss to the Titans, the Ravens got back on track, posting a franchise record 553 yards of total offense - 406 of which came in the first half - and holding St. Louis to a miniscule 81 yards of first half offense.
The Ravens led 21-0 by the time the first quarter had come to a close, had a 30-0 advantage after their first drive of the second half, and didn’t allow the Rams to notch their first points until there were nearly five minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Rookie Torrey Smith had his coming out party after going his first two NFL games without a catch, as he recorded five catches for 152 yards and three touchdowns. Quarterback Joe Flacco recorded a career high with 389 yards passing, Ray Rice had 162 yards from scrimmage on just 13 touches, and Anquan Boldin added seven catches for 74 yards.
Terrell Suggs and the Ravens’ front-seven put pressure on Rams quarterback Sam Bradford all afternoon, recording five sacks and holding the second-year QB to just 16-of-32 passing for 166 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Cornerback Lardarius Webb nabbed his first interception of the season, and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata returned a fumble 28 yards for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, putting the finishing touches on the beatdown.
All of this comes a week after a disappointing effort in Tennessee, in which the Ravens’ offense struggled to find a rhythm and the Baltimore defense let quarterback Matt Hasselbeck throw all over them to the tune of 358 yards.
The energy and intensity was back today, and so were the positive results.
The Ravens improve to 2-1 on the season, and return home to face good old Rex Ryan and the Jets next week.