Beat-Up, Picked Off and Done. Ugly Season Ends in Ugly Fashion. Now What?

Featured, Sports and Bets — December 30, 2013 at 1:46 pm by

It’s over babes.  The Ravens won’t be able to defend their 2012 Super Bowl title after getting thumped by the Bengals 34-17.  Frankly, they don’t deserve the chance,as their season was mired in offensive woes and overall team inconsistency.  What the Ravens were was a gutsy team who showed toughness and resiliency to remain in the playoff hunt up until the last week of the season, but a terrible offense led by a talented but struggling quarterback ultimately limited this team to mediocre status.  The same things that plagued the Ravens all year long reared their ugly heads again yesterday in defeat.  A sputtering running game, a limited and awful offensive line, and a quarterback who continued to make bad decisions and throws, doomed our Baltimore squad to the golf course in December for the first time in six seasons.  For an organization coming off of a Super Bowl win and five straight playoff appearances, an 8-8 season is a lost season, and you can bet it will be an active off-season for the purple and black.

The blame will mostly fall on Baltimore’s $100 million quarterback, and Joe Flacco deserves part of the blame.  Flacco’s final line looked like this:

362 completions.  612 attempts.  59% Completion Percentage.  3912 Yards Passing. 19 Touchdowns.  22 Interceptions.  73.1 QB Rating.

These are obviously not good numbers.  Flacco struggled for much of the season.  He had several games with multiple turnovers and he made several poor decisions in key moments throughout the year.  Joe missed open receivers at critical times (see 4th and 3 vs Pats), threw into double coverage consistently, and failed to find the consistent play that carried this team through last year’s playoffs.

But Flacco was playing from a disadvantage all season.  His offensive line is one of the worst in the NFL.  Flacco was sacked 48 times, or three times a game.  Flacco was hit and hurried a gazillion times, and it’s amazing that he survived all 16 games.  Joe was without a productive running game all year.  The Ravens were awful running the football.  Ray Rice had an injury plagued and miserable season behind an offensive line that consistently allowed defenders in the backfield.  Horrendous.  Rice only rushed for 660 yards with a 3.1 yard per carry average.  Those are Terry Allen numbers.  It’s hard to do anything, especially in this system, when your offense is always in 2nd and 11 and 3rd and 10.  Games are won and lost in the trenches, and on offense the Ravens lost many a game up front.  Major changes are coming.  There is no way that Gino Gradkowski, Michael Oher, and A.Q. Shipley are all back next year.  In fact, I’ll say that none of those guys will start next year for this team.  While I’m talking about this line, how absurd is it that Marshall Yanda has to tap Gino Gradkowski to let him know that Joe Flacco is ready for the snap.  These are pros were talking about?  C’mon man.

As far as Flacco goes, he engineered four game winning drives this year and made a lot of clutch throws late in games.  Without him, this team maybe has 3 wins.  The Ravens did nothing this off-season, or in season, to help him.  I have a feeling that changes this up coming year.

Meanwhile yesterday the left end for the Bengals had a free path to the quarterback at least 4 times.  How does that happen?   Does Michael Oher think he has help or does he think that end is just going to sit on a running play?  Where’s the block?  Instead Oher doubled the tackle at least twice, allowing for a free pass rusher, which of course caused Flacco to either get killed or throw an incomplete.  And this was a recurring problem.  Doesn’t the coaching staff recognize this issue?  Incredible.

And speaking of the coaching staff, the offensive coaches may be in trouble here. The offense finished 29th in the league, averaging a paltry 307 yards per game.  This offense never got on track and the coaching staff never seemed to get a feel for their personnel, or adjust to their teams weaknesses.  Yesterday, for example, in short yardage the Ravens finally used Vonta Leach in two short yardage situations, lead blocking for Bernard Pierce.  Both plays led to big gains and first downs.  The Ravens never went back to it again .  Nor did they use their fullback properly all season.  The Ravens instead continuously ran out of the pistol formation without a running quarterback threat.  Am I missing something?  The Ravens also continued to use deep drops and deep route first passing plays with a banged up quarterback and an offensive line that had big problems picking up blitzes and that got dominated by speed rushers.  Bottom line, the coaching staff didn’t seem to know their personnel.  Flacco is a nice pocket passer with a laser arm and good ball skills.  An up tempo, short passing system would have suited him fine.  When the Ravens did feature that, Flacco excelled.  When the run game isn’t respected, deep play action based plays don’t work, and they didn’t work all season.  As much as I hate calling for coaches’ heads, it’s time for a change here in Baltimore.  Jim Caldwell was great, and got us a ring, but this whole system needs an overhaul.  If he can do it, fine.  But if he can’t, it’s time for some new, innovative blood here.   The personnel needs an upgrade, but so does the offensive mindset.

It will also be interesting to see who remains on this team next year.  The Ravens have $71 million tied up into these players next season. (per

Haloti Ngata: $16 million

Joe Flacco: $14.8 million

Terrell Suggs: $12.4 million

Lardarius Webb: $10.5 million

Ray Rice: $8.75 million

Marshall Yanda: $8.45 million

Ugh.  No way they pay Suggs and Ngata that much money.  Both may be cut or restructured.  Ray Rice $9 mill?  Not with 660 yards rushing.  This team may look very different in just a few months.

Other facts:

The Ravens had 4 interceptions yesterday and lost by two touchdowns.  Think about that a minute.

Dennis Pitta caught 8 passes yesterday.  He had 20 catches in only 4 games.  Ed Dickson had 25 catches in 16 games, and Dallas Clark caught 31 in 12.

James Ihedigbo had 7 tackles Sunday giving him 101 total tackles on the season.

Oh well, at least the Steelers didn’t make it either.  Hahahahahahahahahahhahahahahaha…..the miss hear round P-Burgh.





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