Ravens Loss Was Par For The Course

Sports and Bets — December 1, 2014 at 4:40 pm by

Yesterday’s loss was tough. Another heart breaking last minute loss that just ruins your day and maybe your week if you’re a complete football lunatic. All over social media, Ravens fans were blasting the officiating, especially that last pass interference call. But I have news folks, that play will get called every time, and we can’t pin this loss on the refs.

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If you just glance at the box score, you would think the Ravens cruised to an easy victory. They ran the ball thirty times, only punted once, and made some big plays in the passing game. But when you look a little deeper, you’ll see that the Ravens had to settle for field goals four times in Charger territory. Realistically, you would like to see them turn at least one or two of those opportunities into touchdowns. Especially when playing someone the caliber of Phillip Rivers.

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When you flip over to the Chargers box score, you see exactly why the Ravens lost the game. Phillip Rivers carved up the Ravens secondary for 383 yards and three touchdowns. Add onto that the fact that the Ravens committed 14 penalties for 98 yards, and the picture becomes much clearer. Elvis Dumervil himself had three penalties for either lining up in the neutral zone or jumping the snap too early. Really? All day the Ravens committed dumb penalties. They get a big play down the field to Crockett Gilmore, but it comes back because KO was downfield. Numerous times Charger drives were continued because of defensive holding or illegal contact, and then of course there was the pass interference on Anthony Levine at the end of the game. Bottom line is Levine has to get his head turned around for the ball. If he does, the refs will let the players play more. Both players had their hands all over each other, but if Levine gets his head around, that penalty probably doesn’t get called. But that is what happens when you’re forced to play a bunch of safeties at corner. They don’t have the cover skills, like the ability to get their head around for the ball, because at safety they’re more focused on playing the man and separating him from the ball. Yesterday I saw Matt Elam, Anthony Levine, and Brynden Trawick all in man coverage against receivers, and all are safeties by trade. The Chargers receivers ate up the Ravens secondary all day. Rivers knew he wasn’t going to have much time with the Ravens relentless pass rush. So the Chargers attacked the Ravens underneath all day with curls and short dig routes. Then Rivers would wait until he saw one on one coverage on the outside, and throw the nine route.

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The Chargers are a playoff caliber team, and what they did to the Ravens secondary is what any playoff team will do- abuse it. It was clear the Chargers receivers were better then the Ravens corners. Unless the front seven gets immense pressure on the quarterback, the secondary is going to get worked over all day. Maybe when Asa Jackson comes back it will help, but right now it’s a mess back there.
I can’t remember the last time the Ravens surrendered a two score fourth quarter lead. It’s hard to fault the offense when they put up 33 points, but like I mentioned before, they didn’t finish four drives that ended in field goals. If they had just managed to save just one more timeout in the second half, Justin Tucker would have had a shot at a last second 60 yard field goal. I understand sometimes taking a timeout to zero in on the best play is necessary, but the Ravens burned a second timeout unnecessarily at the end of their second to last drive before a field goal attempt. It looks as if they had a fake field goal attempt set up but the Chargers sniffed it out. In that instance, take the five yard delay of game penalty and save the much more precious timeout. It’s not like five yards for Justin Tucker is a big deal when you’re talking about a 35 or a 40 yard field goal. Another problem I had on the last drive was with the play calling. If you only have one timeout, you must work the sidelines. Joe threw a crossing route on first down that by a miracle, Jacoby Jones was able to stretch out to get out of bounds, and the play gained four yards. After a second down incompletion, Joe scrambled around, wasting precious time, to complete a 15 yard pass to get them to the 33 yard line. With only 9 seconds left, Joe makes a great 24 yard completion to Kamar Aiken, but he was touched down before he rolled out of bounds. The Ravens could only watch as the last three seconds ticked away. If they just would have saved one more timeout, Justin Tucker could have attempted a 60 yard field goal to win it.
The Ravens missed a huge opportunity to get a leg up on the rest of the AFC in the wild card race. With the Browns and Steelers losing, they could have secured sole possession of the fifth seed with a win. Now the Ravens are almost certainly going to have to win out to sneak into the playoffs. You can say goodbye to the division because the Bengals now have essentially a two and a half game lead over the Ravens with four games to play. So guess what Ravens fans, the playoffs start for us this week. It’s win or go home time.

 

cover: blotfromtheblue

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