Ravens Surrender Two More Fourth Quarter Leads While Falling To 0-3

Sports and Bets — September 28, 2015 at 12:24 pm by

Remember the days when a four point lead in the second half felt like a guaranteed victory? Teams trying to come back on the Ravens vaunted defense of past years had a better chance of ransacking Fort Knox than coming back and winning games. But times have changed, babes, and not for the better. This current Ravens defense has surrendered three fourth quarter leads in the past two games. What the hell has happened to this team?!

To be honest I don’t want to recount the game because it’s too painful. Its the third straight game that we should have won. One or two plays go the other way, and this team is 3-0. But the problem is when crunch time comes, the Ravens aren’t making those plays. If Steve Smith catches the ball in the end zone against Denver, and if Will Hill keeps his hands off the receiver in Oakland before making the interception, then this team would have come home 2-0 from a tough road trip. If Maxx Williams comes down with that ball from Flacco on fourth and seventeen, chances are very good the Ravens go down and score the winning touchdown. Granted, it was a tough catch, and granter it seemed Flacco had other open targets on the play, but that’s a catch that a true playmaker comes down with.

One aspect of yesterday’s game that I especially want to touch on is the penalties. Thirteen penalties for 116 yards is inexcusable, and I blame the coaching staff. This is the most undisciplined team I’ve seen under John Harbaugh. You simply can’t win games in the NFL committing over a football field worth of penalties. The most egregious penalty was the KO face mask penalty on the final drive. It negated a fourth down conversion, and backed the offense up to an insurmountable 4th and 17. I don’t know what coach ever taught him to blindly stick both arms out to either side of him in an attempt to block two people, but that is bad technique, babes. News flash, no offensive lineman is going to block a pass rushing defender by sticking his arm out at him. You pick one or the other because you can’t block both. At least block one of them though. By sticking your arm out, you’ll accomplish nothing but drawing a penalty, or worse yet, whiffing, which usually gets a quarterbak killed. Usually it’s a holding penalty that would be called, because with one arm, all a lineman can do is hook the guy to stop him. Or like in KO’s case, his flailing arms had to attach to something, and that something was the opposing player’s face mask.

Listening to local talk radio this morning, everyone is blaming the front office for this teams’ lack of playmakers. Are people really questioning the great Wizard of Oz? That’s blasphemy in this town. Or is it warranted this time around? I don’t have the answer to this, but one thing I can’t blame Ozzie for is the fact that he thought he addressed the playmaker situation by taking Breshad Perriman in the first round, and Maxx Williams in the second round, of this year’s draft. It’s not his fault Perriman got hurt. He was supposed to come in and give this offense the element it so severely lacks in speed. I’ll leave it with this because I’m a believer in Ozzie, but maybe it’s time to stop zeroing in on gaining compensatory picks, and start bringing in more playmakers.

Something that needs to dramatically improve is the running game. The Ravens basically didn’t have one on Sunday. The running backs collectively carried 16 times for 25 yards, and that’s not getting the job done. Part of that past magic of the Ravens protecting leads late in the game was the team’s ability to run the football with the game on the line. By not sustaining any kind of running game, the Ravens have set themselves up for a style of play that can’t consistently win. Shootouts are not going to end well most of the time for the Ravens, because they lack the firepower to win them. By running the ball, your protecting that vulnerable defense, and more specifically that secondary.

The secondary continues to be a problem. Let’s not even mention what AJ Green posted on his stat line, everyone knows those numbers are unacceptable for any defense. The front seven did a better job of getting pressure this week, yet the secondary couldn’t keep up their end of the bargin. I’m beginning to see why the Pats let Kyle Arrington walk, as he is the king of being right there with good coverage, but still allowing the catch to be made. The safety play is still very poor, as they constantly blow zone coverages. I was wrong in thinking this secondary was in decent shape, as they need another corner and a safety next year.

I’m not writing off the season though, as the Ravens caught a huge break with Big Ben going down. They need to get this win in Pittsburgh this week, along with the home game next week against the Browns. I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility that this team can still go 10-6 and make the playoffs. A 3-4 start to the season would be what they would need going into the bye to get this done. Hopefully John Harbaugh can right this listing ship and get this team into the win column Thursday night. Because if not, Friday will certainly be panic time.

pic Ravens