Too early for Ravens fans to make Super Bowl plans?

The Kickoff

October 30, 2006|By PETER SCHMUCK

Somebody wake me up and buy me a plane ticket to Miami. The Ravens have figured out what ailed their offensive attack, which means that there can be little doubt about their final destination this season.

How's that for a knee-jerk reaction to the Ravens' 35-22 victory over the New Orleans Saints yesterday at the Louisiana Superdome?

Steve McNair was perfectly in tune with his new offensive coordinator, something that became apparent when he scored the first touchdown of the game untouched on a quarterback draw. There would be other signs along the way, but the season-high point total ought to be proof enough, especially after the Ravens matched this season's previous single-game scoring high (28) in the first half.

The ball is bouncing their way, too, as evidenced by a tipped touchdown pass by McNair and the defensive touchdown that rookie cornerback Ronnie Prude scored off a batted throw from Drew Brees in the first half. If you're keeping score at home, the Ravens have scored four touchdowns in the past two games on deflected balls, which means that fate is smiling on them at a pivotal juncture in the season.

No social conscience

The only thing that was missing from this Ravens performance was a social conscience. They apparently didn't realize - or they flat-out disregarded - how important this game was to the beleaguered city of New Orleans.

I'm pretty sure the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will do a better job of looking at the big picture when they host the Saints next week.

Double standard

The 4 p.m. game in Fox's regional coverage featured the San Diego Chargers, starring linebacker Shawne Merriman, who's playing while he appeals his four-game suspension for a positive steroid test.

That is his right under the rules, but it just illustrates the great double standard applied to baseball and football with regard to the abuse of performance-enhancing drugs.

The broadcast crew did make several references to the situation, including the revelation that Merriman plans to spend part of the suspension working for the United Way in New Orleans, but there also was a great deal of talk about how inconvenient his absence will be for the Chargers.

When a player of the same stature as Merriman tests positive in baseball, the discussion tends to lean more toward the decline of western civilization. National pastime or not, it's the same issue in both sports and should be viewed that way.

It's not my truck

Gotta admit the new John Mellencamp song "This Is Our Country" is a catchy tune, now that I've heard it 48 times during the World Series and several times during yesterday's NFL coverage.

Note to the former John Cougar: We get the whole Woody Guthrie thing, but don't you think debuting the song as a Chevrolet truck commercial ("This is our country ... this is our truck") cheapens it just a little?

Classic fall

The St. Louis Cardinals proved just about everybody wrong with their resounding victory over the Detroit Tigers in the 102nd World Series, so you've got to take your hat off to them. They showed incredible toughness during the first two playoff series, which should have sent up a red flag for everyone who underestimated them.

It's hard to believe, in hindsight, that anyone could have considered the Tigers a "lock" to win the world title - I mean, how stupid is that - but who could have predicted that they would all forget how to field a routine bunt during the weeklong layoff between the American League Championship Series and the Fall Classic?

I'm the man

I hope I don't pull a muscle patting myself on the back, but I clearly have my finger on the pulse of this Miami-bound Ravens ballclub. I predicted that they would "carve up" the Saints' defense to improve my record to 6-1 against the spread in games involving the Ravens. You can look it up.

Leave it to Beavers

What a horrible week to be a Southern California fan. Not only did the Trojans get knocked off by (ugh) Oregon State, but Matt Leinart also had a terrible day in Green Bay and Reggie Bush sprained his ankle in the Saints' loss to the Ravens. I haven't given up on the Bowl Championship Series title game, but I'd settle for a 30-point victory over Notre Dame.

Wouldn't anybody? peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

"The Peter Schmuck Show" airs on WBAL (1090 AM) at noon on Saturdays.

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