CBS has win­ning tele­cast in Ravens loss

Baltimore Sun - - RAVENS INSIDER - David Zu­rawik david.zu­rawik@balt­ twit­­rawik

The big TV story of the Ravens’ sea­son so far has been the con­sis­tently high qual­ity of the CBS tele­casts.

And while I know how much Bal­ti­more fans like to com­plain about the of­fi­ci­at­ing or TV an­nounc­ers when the Ravens lose, as they did Sun­day to the Raiders, the fact is that CBS turned in its best tele­cast of the year for a Bal­ti­more game.

Di­rec­tor Jim Cor­nell and pro­ducer Steve McKee gave view­ers every shot that mat­tered. And they fol­lowed vir­tu­ally every one of them with two or three more shots in re­play from var­i­ous an­gles to fur­ther en­rich the vi­su­als.

In fact, the vi­su­als were so com­plete, this is one tele­cast you could have watched with­out the au­dio and still been to­tally in the flow of the game.

Typ­i­cal of how McKee and Cor­nell kept of­fer­ing view­ers mul­ti­ple looks at the ac­tion was a play that came with 2:49 left in the third quar­ter. It fea­tured Kyle Juszczyk tak­ing a short pass from Joe Flacco on third down and driv­ing to­ward the goal line.

On a ground-level shot from the side, it looked like Juszczyk might have dragged a pile of tack­lers just into the end zone. But an over­head shot of­fered a few sec­onds later clearly showed that he was about a yard short. It was a big play, and CBS had the over­head shot that in­stantly gave the an­gle needed.

What was so im­pres­sive through­out the tele­cast was the thor­ough­ness with which Cor­nell and McKee gave two re­play an­gles af­ter every big play. I counted only two plays that they missed all day.

If you’re not im­pressed by what you saw Sun­day, try to think back a cou­ple of years ago to the kinds of tele­casts we were get­ting from CBS. Re­mem­ber the Ravens tele­cast when CBS missed the open­ing kick­off? Missed plays were rou­tine, and by the fourth quar­ter, you had to start won­der­ing whether some of the an­a­lysts were still in the booth, their com­ments were so few and far be­tween. When they did talk, they were mix­ing up play­ers and teams and sound­ing as if they were watch­ing a dif­fer­ent game.

There was no short­age of anal­y­sis from com­men­ta­tors Steve Beuer­lein and Steve Tasker on Sun­day. In fact, my big­gest com­plaint about this crew is that they never let the tele­cast breathe. They al­most never stop talk­ing and let the ris­ing crowd noise in the sta­dium or the drama on the field carry big mo­ments. That can be a prob­lem, es­pe­cially in a back-and-forth a con­test like Sun­day’s, when it felt late in the game as if there were a play­off level of in­ten­sity in the stands and on the field.

And I still can’t tell one Steve from the other once the tele­cast starts pop­ping and the au­dio folks crank the sta­dium noise up to the point where it al­most over­whelms the an­a­lysts. But I sus­pect not know­ing which Steve is talk­ing is not such a big deal for fans, so long as the com­men­tary is spot-on.

And much of it was Sun­day. I loved them ques­tion­ing Ravens coach John Har­baugh on two of his calls. That’s not done nearly enough in Bal­ti­more.

Don’t get me wrong, mis­takes were made in the booth — some­times more than once.

With 1:46 left in the third quar­ter, Elvis Dumervil and Eric Wed­dle put a strong pass rush on Raiders quar­ter­back Derek Carr.

One of the Steves iden­ti­fied Carr as Flacco — not once, but twice as a re­play ran. And no one cor­rected him.

That’s poor. But every other mis­take one of the Steves made in in­cor­rectly iden­ti­fy­ing or cred­it­ing a player was quickly straight­ened out. Play-by-play an­nouncer An­drew Cat­alon is good at clean­ing up any small ver­bal messes — or misses — from the two ex-jocks.

Side­line re­porter Chris Fis­cher also de­serves praise for his hus­tle all day. He caught up with Jack Del Rio for a nice half­time in­ter­view in which the Raiders’ coach crit­i­cized the of­fi­cials for not call­ing hold­ing on the Ravens of­ten enough as its patch­work of­fen­sive line tried to slow down Oak­land’s pass rush.

Fis­cher was also on top of the in­juries that mat­tered, with quick re­ports from each bench.

But in the end, it was the images that car­ried the day. I know it won’t make Ravens fans happy to see me sin­gling out a quick shot of Carr jump­ing up and but­tbump­ing with Del Rio once he got to the side­line. But I think it’s kind of rare. I just can’t see Flacco and Har­baugh hav­ing such a mo­ment.

And I loved the un­bri­dled hap­pi­ness on Del Rio’s face once his team locked up the vic­tory. McKee and Cor­nell kept the cam­eras on him as the fi­nal sec­onds rolled off the clock, and you couldn’t help but feel the im­mense sense of ac­com­plish­ment ra­di­at­ing from the for­mer Ravens’ lineback­ers coach.

Sorry, Bal­ti­more. I know we felt only pain look­ing at those images. But the CBS crew wasn’t only do­ing this tele­cast for us. The story they told of Raiders’ joy af­ter a play­off-like dog­fight was the right one.

* Times for th­ese games could change

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