The Baltimore Ravens have always been known for having one of the best defenses and a trustworthy special teams unit in their short franchise history. Only in the league since 1996, they’ve put together some of the best team numbers in those years.
Despite their success in those areas, some might argue Baltimore’s offense has been a driving force behind the team’s success in recent years. But what’s always made the Ravens so special is their ability to score from so many facets of the game.
Which facets? — you might ask.
• Kick returns
• Fumble recoveries
Joe Flacco’s uncanny ability to throw the deep ball in the perfect spot has brought the Ravens much success on the passing end. Ray Rice’s ability to break through multiple tackles then use his gifted lateral movement to get into the end zone has covered their success from a running back stand point.
Baltimore has also owned the goal post with the golden foot of Justin Tucker. It’s not crazy to assume he was watching Ravens’ legendary kicker Matt Stover as a lad.
That covers your usual offense in the game of football. However, just like the Seattle Seahawks’ fans are referred to as their 12th man, the Ravens have often had a 12th, 13th or even 14th man on the scoreboard. That’s been their defense as well as their kick and punt return units.
Weapons on defense like “T-Sizzle” and the former Raven, Ed Reed, contributed to scoring on defense. Dancing With The Stars‘ Jacoby Jones has contributed to the extra offense with a highlight reel of kick returns brought to the house.
What brings up this talk of Baltimore’s many ways of scoring? Their last preseason game, of course.
In Baltimore’s second preseason game of the 2014-’15 season, the Ravens showed flashes of a team with the ability to score from many facets. They were victorious in against the Dallas Cowboys 37-30.
21 of those 37 points came from a combined effort from the defense and kick return unit. The first-team offense didn’t even see the field until the last couple minutes of the first quarter. It’s not like they were complaining though, especially not Flacco, who was all smiles on the sideline.
Saturday night, the Ravens brought it to Dallas right out the gate. Ravens’ outside linebacker/defensive lineman Courtney Upshaw recovered a Romo fumble and ran it back for a 26-yard touchdown.
Ravens kick returner Deonte Thompson then followed that up with a 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown from nearly the parking lot. Baltimore led 14-7 before Flacco even took the field.
Thompson wasn’t done though. He added a 50-yard kickoff return later in the game to add to his SportsCenter reel.
The Ravens have had their share of success and brought much excitement to fans when they’ve been able to produce touchdowns and game-changing plays outside of their offense’s “move the chain” drives.
This Ravens team is showing signs reminiscent of teams from the past known for scoring many different ways. If the purple and black get back to that way of playing this season, don’t be surprised if they’re in the hunt to add to their Super Bowl ring collection.