Just a few quick observations after a closer than anticipated Thursday Night Football contest between Cleveland and Baltimore…
Ray Rice: Rice was bottled up in the running game (18 carries for 49 yards), but showed why he is a fantasy force by hauling in 8 catches for 47 yards to salvage a solid fantasy night. Ray Ray is truly an all-around stud and demonstrated his abilities Thursday night.
Dennis Pitta: After 3 glorious weeks of production, Dennis Pitta tied you, me, and all other couch-bound football watching Americans with a grand total of zero receptions on Thursday night. A recipient of 2 targets, Pitta was not involved in the Baltimore passing game for the first time in 2012. This should only be a small bump in the road, as I expect Pitta to get back in business next week at Kansas City.
Greg Little: 4 catches for 77 yards seems decent in the box score from this game, but Little continued his disturbing knack for dropping passes throughout the night. Little’s shelf life in the NFL will be short if he keeps watching Jermichael Finley’s Instructional Pass Catching DVD.
Brandon Weeden: Weeden finished up with 320 yards passing and a pick, but looked decent throughout the game. His stat line could have been far better with some help from his receivers.
Joe Flacco: 356 yards and 2 touchdowns (1 rushing) highlighted another strong effort from Flacco. Besides not getting the ball to Pitta (grrrr), Flacco looked good, using his best weapons to move the ball through the rain. Flacco continues his creep up the QB rankings.
Trent Richardson: The rookie had a mediocre game on the ground, but did punch in a touchdown and added some contributions through the passing game. I like what I see from Richardson, who will remain a solid fantasy play despite the struggles of his team.
Anquan Boldin: Boldin racked up 9 grabs for 131 yards on Thursday, in by FAR his best effort of the young season. Boldin is still a risky play from week to week, but showed that he can be a decent WR play if Flacco continues his hot start. I need to see more to be convinced 2009 Boldin is back and fully expect Pitta to regain his role in the Raven passing game soon, lowering Boldin’s output.