Ravens Blow A Major Opportunity. Babes Breaks Down The Denver Debacle

Sports and Bets — September 14, 2015 at 9:34 pm by

Ravens Blow A Major Opportunity

It’s because of games like this one that the Ravens are always traveling to play games in January, instead of hosting playoff games. A spectacular effort from the defense, where they held a good team on the road without a touchdown, and they still can’t win the game. A golden opportunity to steal one of the toughest road games on their schedule, and they can’t execute.

Let’s face it, the offense was downright anemic. No running game, no time to throw, and certainly no separation from the receivers. Every player on that offense is accountable for that dogshit performance. Yet they still had a chance to win the game. The Ravens had first and ten in the red zone, their first trip there of the day, with time winding down on the clock, but couldn’t make a play. Our number one receiver couldn’t haul in a very catchable ball in the end zone on second down, and Crockett Gilmore has the ball snatched from him in mid-air for an interception on third down to seal the game.

I really want to break down these two plays that weren’t made to win the game. On second down, the Ravens actually got good protection to the point where Joe was able to throw the ball twenty yards down the field. It’s amazing what happens to a defense when the offense puts a drive together, as the ferocious pass rushes seem to slow down drastically due to fatigue. The play design was good, as Kamar Aiken and Steve Smith ran a man-beating crossing route. Smith was lined up slot left, and Aiken was flanked out wide left, and Aiken drew the most attention while running a post into the end zone. Smith cut off Aiken’s route to the corner of the end zone and was open. Joe put the ball right on the money over the trailing defender, at eye level for Smith, once he leaped off the ground to snatch it. It’s unclear whether the defender grazed the ball a hair or not, but Smith couldn’t adjust to the ball’s trajectory to haul it in. Perhaps his line of sight to the football was not totally clear either, but regardless that’s a pass your number one receiver needs to bring in. He admitted so himself after the game, and owned his mistake. Chance one to win the game.

The very next play was third and ten from the 19 yard line. The Broncos lined up showing pressure, so Joe knew he had to get rid of the ball quickly, as the Ravens were spread out. The Broncos were in man free which means they have five defenders playing man coverage on five eligible receivers, and one player free. That free player was former Ravens safety Darian Stewart, who ended up making the game saving play. Joe knew the matchup he wanted pre-snap with Crockett Gilmore matched up against a linebacker. He had a noticeable height advantage, so Joe chose to loft the ball down the seam to Gilmore in the end zone. I put this play on Joe because he put way too much air on the ball for a man free defense. The way he lofted the ball up in the air, it took forever for the ball to come down, therefore giving Stewart time to react to the pass and snatch the ball. The ball needed to be lofted further towards the back of the end zone, and on more of a line to avoid what happened. This would have given Gilmore a more true one-on-one chance to use his size to make the catch. Gilmore had no chance to leap and make the play over the defender, while a streaking free safety barreled into him from the blindside to steal the ball before Gilmore had any chance to secure it to his body. Once again, it’s just a missed opportunity.

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Joe Flacco had a tough day being under constant duress as he was, but he is far from fault free either. The same thing that always haunts Flacco in the regular season is his lack of consistent mechanics. Way too often, Flacco will get flustered by the pass rush, and throw passes with his footwork totally off. Yes, many times a quarterback has to get rid of the football when his footwork can’t be perfect, but Flacco makes it a habit. That’s why you saw him miss Steve Smith on a very make-able throw on a drag route. Good footwork leads to good accuracy and Flacco forgets his too often. Even sometimes when he is not under duress he forgets his footwork. Toward the end of the first half, the Ravens had a wide receiver screen called. Flacco got the snap in the shotgun, and didn’t set his feet to throw out wide to the receiver on the smoke route. Therefore, the ball was low and on the wrong side off the receiver, to where he had to bend down to catch the low pass on his backfield side off his body. That throw needs to be chest level on the upfield side of the receivers body, so that he can catch the ball in stride and hit the small seam that the other receivers and pulling lineman create with their blocks. Instead, the timing of the play got disrupted, and the play gained minimal yards as a result. Better mechanics from Joe would result in more consistent accuracy.

joe

The offensive line got abused by the Broncos pass rush. Granted, it’s one of the best in the league, but that has to improve. I’m beginning to think Eugene Monroe is the offensive lineman version of Darren McFadden because the guy can’t stay healthy for shit. Hurst did what he could in relief of Monroe, but I thought the coaches could have schemed a bit more to help him out. A tight end staying in, or a chipping back, goes a long way in helping a left tackle on an island with a speed rusher.

The line also did nothing in the way of creating running lanes. Twenty three carries for seventy-three yards is not going to win you games. That stat is even misleading, because if you take away Forsett’s twenty yard run late in the game on a third and two when the Ravens caught the Broncos in a blitz,  Baltimore had twenty-two carries for fifty-three yards. That’s barely over two yards a carry and completely unacceptable.  It’s a vicious cycle, especially when you can’t pass protect long enough to get receivers down the field to scare any pass defense.

The Ravens had zero threat of a downfield passing game, and that’s the most alarming thing about this offense. Without Breshad Perriman and his speed, this offense will scare nobody. Did you see the way our defense clamped down on Peyton Manning because he couldn’t get the ball downfield? Well, other teams are going to do the same to us. Steve Smith couldn’t shake loose of pro bowl corner Aquib Talib, and nobody stepped up to pick up the slack. I’m really disappointed in how much of a non-factor Kamar Aiken was yesterday. He has to get open and make plays on intermediate routes to make this offense go.

APTOPIX Ravens Broncos Football

The Ravens suffered a huge loss with outside linebacker Terrell Suggs going down. Suggs was a three down player that was essential to the success of the defense. I’m hearing people calling out names of players on the street to come in, but that’s not the answer. The Ravens have carried linebacker Albert McClellan for three years now, and it’s time for him to get his shot at playing the Suggs role. I see no point in paying for a has been, when a young athletic player is already on the roster. It’s next man up time for this defense.

It’s not time to throw in the towel on this team despite the deficiencies. We all remember how bad New England looked the first month of the season last year, and we all remember how that turned out. It’s time to rally around the leaders and bring this team back to Baltimore at 1-1.

cover pic: cbs

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