A year ago the Baltimore Ravens didn’t break the 30-point mark until the ninth week of the season. So far in 2009 they are now two-for-two after defeating the San Diego Chargers 31-26 to remain undefeated on the season.
The Ravens didn’t move up and down the field quite as easily as they did a week ago against Kansas City, but they did take advantage of their scoring chances to pull out their second straight win over an AFC West opponent.
Maximizing their opportunities in the red zone, the Ravens were able to score touchdowns while the defense limited the Chargers to four field goals when they advanced into the red zone.
The Chargers scored early in the first quarter on an 81-yard touchdown pass from Phillip Rivers to Darren Sproles. However, Joe Flacco and the Ravens answered with a nine play, 68-yard drive to tie the score.
Following a field goal by the Chargers, another Baltimore drive resulted in Willis McGahee’s second rushing touchdown of the game and a lead the Ravens would never relinquish.
Baltimore led 21-16 at intermission and increased their advantage to 28-16 early in the third quarter as Flacco tossed his second touchdown pass of the game and fifth of the season.
The Chargers were able to move the ball throughout the game, but the Baltimore defense consistently held tight with their backs to the goal line.
The fourth San Diego field goal of the game trimmed the lead to 28-26 with seven minutes remaining, but an interception by Antwan Barnes led to a Baltimore field goal and a 31-26 lead.
The Chargers again moved into Baltimore territory, but on fourth and two from the 15-yard line, Ray Lewis broke free to stop Sproles and seal the victory.
For the second straight week, Baltimore displayed a balanced attack as they passed for 181 yards and passed for 130. Conversely, San Diego passed for 421 yards, but rushed for only 53 yards.
McGahee finished with 79 yards rushing while Ray Rice added 36. Flacco completed 17 of 26 passes for 190 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
The offensive punch displayed by the Ravens in the opening two weeks has experts wondering if the Ravens have finally found an explosive offense to combine with their traditionally dominant defense.
If that proves to be the case, it could be a tough challenge for the rest of the league as the Ravens look to build on their 11-win season of a year ago.
After hosting winless Cleveland next week, the Ravens will have a three-game stretch that could go a long way toward determining whether they are indeed a contender. Baltimore will play at New England and Minnesota with a home game against Cincinnati sandwiched in between.