Here’s what the Baltimore Sun staff had to say after the Ravens’ 13-7 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday:
Jeff Zrebiec, Ravens reporter: The Ravens’ first-team offense was barely on the field together this summer, so you had to expect some rust. You still would have liked to see some more crispness and flow, not to mention a bigger commitment to the running game. The defense, meanwhile, exceeded all expectations. Dean Pees’ group did a masterful job containing Tyrod Taylor and keeping the athletic quarterback in the pocket. The Ravens flew to the ball and had only a few breakdowns. The secondary, led by Shareece Wright and Eric Weddle, played brilliantly. It’s too early to make any conclusions about the Ravens defense, but this was an impressive first act.
Mark Selig, Ravens editor: Can’t complain with 1-0, but this was a bad Bills team the Ravens beat. Had the Ravens played a bit better, the game could have been over in the third quarter. The defense was stout, aside from allowing a pair of fourth-down conversions; the offense, showing little faith in the running game, failed in similar short-yardage situations. And special teams were uncharacteristically sloppy. The Bills made critical errors, including a dropped interception that would have been a game-changing pick-six. The Ravens can probably get away with a C-plus effort again next week in Cleveland.
Ron Fritz, sports editor: As expected, with quarterback Joe Flacco playing just a half of preseason football, the Ravens offense was not in sync or crisp. Fortunately, the defense was. Time and time again, the different looks and blitzes the Ravens sent at Taylor confused him. This early in the season, any win is a good one.
Childs Walker, sports reporter: If you’re going to open the season with a sloppy slog, you might as well win. Flacco handled contact well and hooked up with his new deep threats, Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman, for big gains. But the Ravens struggled to run the ball, especially in the second half, when they’d normally expect to wear an opponent down. On defense, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, coming off a second torn Achilles tendon, did not play with his old explosiveness. A strong all-around effort by the secondary compensated for the lack of a pass rush. If you believe the Ravens are a team in transition without a clear path to the playoffs, this performance probably did not change your mind. But again, 1-0 is better than the alternative.
Ed Lee, Ravens reporter: The Ravens should be grateful for their defense, because they didn’t wow anyone with their offensive showing. They also got considerable help from a Bills offense that seemed to be stuck in mud and couldn’t figure out a way to get the ball to Sammy Watkins. Ravens coaches and players will say a win is a win, and facing the hapless Browns on Sunday is a nice way to begin the season, but the Ravens can’t keep this up for another 15 games.
Mike Preston, columnist: It’s always great to win the first game of the season because it at least points you in the right direction and gives you some confidence. But there are still a lot of questions surrounding this team, if only because there weren’t a lot of answers in the Ravens’ win over Buffalo.
Peter Schmuck, columnist: There were some hiccups, but the Ravens defense shut down Taylor and the Bills offense so well that Flacco could feel his way around in his first game in 10 months. Despite their lack of scoring, the Ravens got big plays from newcomer receiver Wallace and comeback receiver Perriman, as well as some big runs from Justin Forsett and Terrance West. All in all, a nice way to start.