Ravens cope with quick turnaround after big opening victory
OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — Following a victory worth savoring, the Baltimore Ravens whisked through the film of their season-opening rout of Buffalo before turning their full attention toward a Thursday night matchup against AFC North rival Cincinnati.
“The games keep coming,” coach John Harbaugh said after Monday’s practice. “Not as quick as baseball or basketball, I guess. But this is close.”
The Ravens probably wish they could linger a little longer in the aftermath of their 47-3 trouncing of the Bills, mainly because just about everything went well.
The offense got touchdowns from six different players, the defense didn’t yield a first down until the third quarter and special teams contributed two field goals and a 51-yard punt return.
Alas, all those good things were but a memory when the players took the field for Monday’s practice.
“That game is behind us,” strong safety Tony Jefferson said. “Although it’s great to have momentum, it’s over with. It’s a new week. This is a division opponent; they know us very well and we know them very well.”
Yes, indeed. Baltimore opened the 2017 season with a 20-0 victory at Cincinnati, and the Bengals returned the favor in the finale with a 31-27 comeback win that knocked the Ravens out of playoff contention.
Those thoughts will accompany the team to Cincinnati on Thursday night. But the Ravens aren’t going to get caught up in last year, any more than they will be thinking about last Sunday.
“We played a young Buffalo team,” linebacker Terrell Suggs said. “You don’t take any win for granted, but it’s one game. It’s on to Cincinnati.”
One positive facet of the lopsided opener was that Harbaugh pulled his starters in the third quarter with the score 40-0. Quarterback Joe Flacco joked on the sideline while rookie Lamar Jackson took the offense through the motions, and most of the defensive starters were done before Buffalo finally got on the scoreboard.
When you’re playing two games in the span of five days, any respite is welcome. But Harbaugh didn’t perceive that to be much of an advantage against a Bengals team that rallied with a 17-point fourth quarter to beat Indianapolis 34-23.
“You can’t rest too many guys because it’s not the preseason where you have your whole 90-man roster,” Harbaugh noted. “There are still only 46 guys that are playing. A couple of guys got to sit down a little bit early, and that was probably somewhat helpful.”
Playing against two young quarterbacks, Baltimore’s defensive backs picked off two passes and allowed only 11 completions for 98 yards. Harbaugh liked what he saw, but wasn’t about to brand it a perfect game.
“You look at the good stuff and go, fine, but then you look at the things you need to get better at,” he said. “Really, between the first game and the second game, even though it’s a short week, it’s still a great opportunity to improve because you finally know where you’re at. And when you know where you’re at, you can kind of tell what you need to work on to get where you want to go. That’s what we’ll try to do this week and the next couple weeks.”
This week, it all begins with adjusting to a quick turnaround.
“Mentally, you’ve just got to get into the playbook as quick as you can because we’re short on preparation,” linebacker C.J. Mosley said. “Physically, you’ve just got to get training room and into the cold tub. There are no tricks to it from that standpoint.”
Canady and Dixon were hurt against the Bills, but have not been ruled out for Thursday.