Ea­gle, Fouts, CBS do it good old-fash­ioned way

Baltimore Sun - - RAVENS INSIDER - David Zu­rawik david.zu­rawik@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/davidzu­rawik

This is what a broad­cast team that is in sync sounds like. With 1:13 left in the game, and the Cincin­nati Bengals driv­ing, Ravens de­fen­sive end Brent Ur­ban reached up and de­flected a pass by Andy Dal­ton at the line of scrim­mage.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen this be­fore: Four passes knocked down by de­fen­sive line­men,” an­a­lyst Dan Fouts said ex­cit­edly.

“In the last eight at­tempts,” added an­a­lyst Ian Ea­gle, finishing the thought with­out miss­ing a beat.

“Un­be­liev­able,” Fouts replied, re­spond­ing to the de­fen­sive per­for­mance on the field and the en­ergy in the stands at M&T Bank Sta­dium.

The CBS crew of Ea­gle, Fouts and side­line re­porter Evan Wash­burn de­liv­ered an­other strong tele­cast Sun­day in the Ravens’ 19-14 vic­tory over the Bengals.

I’ve been say­ing a lot of nice things this sea­son about this crew, par­tic­u­larly Ea­gle. But I only re­al­ized Sun­day dur­ing the first half what I truly like about him and Fouts this year: They are do­ing a modern-day ver­sion of an old-school broad­cast.

I mean, old-school like Ray Scott and Jack Buck of the Green Bay Pack­ers golden era. Maybe that’s old enough to qual­ify as Old Tes­ta­ment, rather than just old-school. But what­ever the case, I’m lov­ing it.

Ea­gle is a pro­fes­sional broad­caster who seems to­tally fo­cused on de­liv­er­ing a steady stream of sto­ry­lines, in­for­ma­tion and data to the fans with­out his ego get­ting in the way. And this sea­son, Fouts seems to have ad­justed his game to be a solid com­ple­ment to the play-by-play lead.

They don’t act like best bud­dies. They don’t talk about what they had for Thanks­giv­ing din­ner or what cos­tumes their kids wore for Hal­loween — or how much they love all the CBS series be­ing end­lessly pro­moted be­tween plays. Fouts has even stopped talk­ing about his glory days as an NFL quar­ter­back. Hal­lelu­jah.

They just do their home­work, show up and to­tally en­gage with the play on the field.

Most of all, they don’t keep chat­ter­ing away in the booth, as if they are afraid that three sec­onds of si­lence at the mi­cro­phones is go­ing to drive a mas­sive viewer tune-out. Of all the CBS crews, none is bet­ter when a game is tight in the fi­nal min­utes at let­ting the tele­cast breathe — shut­ting their mouths and let­ting the en­ergy and am­bi­ent sounds of the sta­dium take over.

This is not to say it was a flaw­less per­for­mance.

With 6:47 left in the game, the Ravens were called for a penalty. On third-and-22, line­backer Al­bert McClel­lan was called for hands to the face of the man block­ing him, which gave the Bengals a first down.

View­ers did get one re­play of the in­frac­tion, but it was from the back of the blocker, and you could not see McClel­lan’s hands. All you could see was the blocker’s head com­ing up and snap­ping back.

Fouts tried to make it seem as if that was enough to jus­tify the call, but it wasn’t. And there was time to show an­other re­play af­ter the en­su­ing play — fea­tur­ing a cam­era an­gle from the side or be­hind McClel­lan. But view­ers never got it.

That’s not a huge deal. But if the cam­era work had been as good as the per­for­mance in the booth, CBS would have had bet­ter views and found the time to show them to view­ers.

On the other hand, the pro­duc­tion team had three ex­cel­lent re­plays of the catch in the back of the end zone by Bre­shad Per­ri­man for the Ravens’ only touch­down — each show­ing him get­ting both feet down with an ex­tra toe tap for good mea­sure.

I know this is a lot of love from me for a CBS sports tele­cast. And when I tell you that I smiled at one of Fouts’ jokes, some read­ers will surely be con­vinced the Rus­sians hacked my com­puter and are post­ing fake Zu­rawik re­views. (Come on, if they can hi­jack the vote to­tals in key bat­tle­ground states, why not? I’m kid­ding.)

But I had to laugh at the start of the game when Wash­burn and Ea­gle re­ported that Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said the ham­string in­jury to wide re­ceiver A.J. Green wasn’t nearly as bad on a scale of1to 5 as it was ini­tially thought.

“That’s ac­cord­ing to the coach,” Fouts said dryly, “who can’t feel a thing.”

Of all the CBS crews, none is bet­ter when a game is tight in the fi­nal min­utes at let­ting the tele­cast breathe.

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