Like Grains Of Sand: The Ravens Let It Slip Right Through Their Fingers

Featured, Sports and Bets — October 27, 2014 at 9:48 pm by

I’m really tired of the Ravens losing late fourth quarter leads to the Bengals. Twice this season, the Ravens have had a fourth quarter lead  against Cincy- and twice the Ravens have lost. Bottom line is, top-tier, elite teams find ways to win those games, and neither of the two teams playing in this game on Sunday fit into that category.
My biggest problem with this game was that fact that despite the success the Ravens offense was having on the ground, they weren’t running it enough. Both backs, Justin Forsett and Lorenzo Tagliaferro, were averaging four yards a carry. At times it looked as though the Ravens were running with ease. Case in point: both of Tagliaferro’s touchdown runs were runs in which he wasn’t touched. To the contrary, the Bengals couldn’t run the ball, so the Ravens missed a huge opportunity to swing time of possession into their favor.

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Joe Flacco had a tough day. He completed 17 of 34 passes for 195 yards and two picks. The first pick was atrocious on his part, as he simply didn’t see the linebacker sitting right in the hook zone. Flacco tried to hit a curl route, and the linebacker stepped right in front. That is 100% on Joe, as he locked his eyes on his target. When a defense plays zone, they read the quarterbacks eyes, and Joe’s lead made it easy on them.
His second pick was not his fault, as Torrey Smith stopped his slant pattern because he had a helmet to helmet collision that made him stop completely in his tracks. I don’t mean to sound hardcore or insensitive, but I’ll say this, Steve Smith wouldn’t have allowed that to happen. He would have fought through the pain and made a play for the ball. Torrey stopped on the play like a kid playing pee-wee football. Just watch Torrey’s body language out there and it looks defeated most of the time.
Despite all the errors and mishaps, with less than a minute left in the game, the Ravens had a chance to get on the Bengals’ side of the field to give Justin Tucker have a chance to tie the game. Flacco and Steve Smith ended up hooking up on what seems to be their patented improvisation bomb for a touchdown, but Smith got flagged for offensive pass interference. The call was bullshit, plain and simple. The Bengals safety was so off balanced from trying to adjust to the ball, that a simple hand check sent him flopping to the ground. That is all that was, a simple hand check- happens all the time. That play doesn’t get flagged nine times out of ten, but because of the safety falling down, basically on his own, the Ravens lose that game. Let the guys play, zebras.

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Defensively, the Ravens played well, but they really missed Jimmy Smith when he went down. The Bengals’ running backs only averaged 2.3 yards per carry combined. But because of the flow of the game, which the Ravens could have controlled by running more, the Bengals were still able to run a combined 35 times.

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Ngata played his best game of the year- hands down. He recorded a sack and forced a fumble that led to the Ravens go ahead touchdown score. He also knifed in on the goal line to stop a goal-to go-run early in the game. You need your big money players to make big money plays and Ngata did that.
Going forward there is reason to be optimistic. 5-3 is still a good start, with a much softer second half schedule. The Ravens have home games against the Titans, Jags, and Browns which should all be easy wins. But the Ravens need to put their feet on the Steelers’ throats this Sunday night. Let’s keep this a two dog race in the AFC North, rather than three.

cover: yahoo.com

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