“Shit Happens”. Beat Down at Home But Still Alive. And It’s Time For An Offensive Overhaul.

Featured, Sports and Bets — December 23, 2013 at 11:19 am by

“Shit Happens.”  T-Sizzle said it, and never have two words been more on point.  Shit did happen yesterday at M&T Bank Stadium as the Ravens took their worst home beating of the John Harbaugh era.  Mistakes, extremely poor offensive play, and a general lack of focus led to a Baltimore undressing by a banged-up and seemingly vulnerable New England team.  It was ugly.  Yet somehow the Ravens remain in the hunt for a playoff spot.  Man, the AFC is weak this year.

As Ravens fans, we’re not used to our squad looking so lost in a big game.  Win or lose, the Ravens always come to play.  If they lose, fine, at least we know the effort, preparation, and focus were there.  But that’s not how it seemed yesterday. The Ravens came out sleepwalking.  New England moved the ball at will in the first quarter on a strangely flat defense.  The offense was up to their usual tricks.  A dropped ball by Torrey Smith on an underthrown Flacco deep pass on the first possession summed it up.  The Ravens couldn’t move the football effectively, even when opportunities presented themselves. This offense again seemed to have a disjointed game plan and a lack of rhythm.  Flacco played poorly, throwing two costly picks and seemingly not getting comfortable in the pocket until half way through the third quarter.  (Getting sacked and hit constantly due to horrendous offensive line play didn’t help matters.)  In fact, Flacco made several bizarre decisions.  One of the two picks was a bad throw into double coverage.  Joe also chucked a deep ball to Jacoby Jones into double coverage that should have been picked.  But perhaps the most egregious Flacco mistake was in the 3rd quarter on the Ravens first possession of the second half.  Facing 4th and 3 on the New England 39, and trailing 20-0, the Ravens properly decided to go for it.  Flacco dropped back to throw, and instead of throwing to a wide open Torrey Smith over the middle, or an open Dennis Pitta, who was just beyond the stick on the left hash mark, Joe threw to a double covered Jacoby Jones.  The play had no chance.  It was an awful and head scratching decision by a veteran, Super Bowl winning, quarterback.  Flacco had two players open, yet he threw into double coverage.  It was a throw that a pro quarterback should never make, much less a Super Bowl MVP.  Flacco may be hurt and his knee may have affected some of his throws, but the knee had nothing to do with these poor decsions. The fact that Flacco and his receivers failed to take advantage of a banged up New England defense, and the fact that this O-line failed to dominate a poor New England run stopping unit, says a lot about this group.  Many thought this new England defense to be vulnerable because that’s exactly what it is.  The Ravens just proved to it’s fans what they already suspected;  that this offense really needs an overhaul in the offseason, both in personnel and philosophy.

Meanwhile, the defense recovered from its early shock.   The D dominated the New England offense for much of the second half.  (A least until New England’s touchdown drive mid way through the 4th.)  The defense kept the offense in the game, but the offense couldn’t finish.  In fact, up until Flacco took a seat with 2:05 remaining because the game was out of hand, the Raven offense gained 237 yards in the 2nd half, yet only produced 7 points. Dysfunction 101.  Sure the D played terrible in the first quarter, and they failed to pressure Tom Brady with any consistency against a decimated O-Line, but this is still a playoff caliber defense who lays the wood and doesn’t yield a ton of points. Ultimately, this unit probably deserves better.

Crazily enough, our boys are still in this playoff thing.  Does ANYONE want the 6th seed?  It sure doesn’t seem so.  But if the Ravens can go up to Cincinnati and somehow beat the Bengals, they still stand to make the dance.  They just need either the Charger to lose to the Chiefs OR they need the Dolphins to lose to the Jets.  The problem with this is that the Chiefs have absolutely nothing to play for and may rest their starters.  The other problem is that the Jets suck.  An even bigger problem is that the Bengals are undefeated at home this year, and while the Ravens beat the Bengals here in B-Town, going up there after this confidence killer of a game against the Pats will be extremely difficult.  The playoffs are still possible, but the outlook looks quite bleak.  The storm clouds are officially gathering.

It’s strange how Jim Caldwell seems to duck the ire of Ravens fans.  If Cam Cameron were calling these plays the fans would be rioting in the streets.  As good as Caldwell was at recognizing his personnel and finding a flow to his play calling during last year’s Super Bowl run, it’s odd to find his offense without an identity or a rhythm this season.  This offense stinks.  Granted, the O-Line issues and the lack of stellar quarterback play haven’t helped Caldwell, but I think this system needs an overhaul.  Caldwell is well liked and respected, and that’s fine, but it’s time for a change.  Give Caldwell a promotion to the front office, or name him an offensive consultant position if he’s that valued within the organization, no one will blink at that kind of move.  But it’s time for some new, innovative blood here.  Someone with their own system to put into place.  The Ravens have been treading water for years on the offensive side of the ball.   That aforementioned record-setting playoff run was due to Flacco playing at his ceiling, and a talented group finally being set free to perform.  But that group was broken up, and the identity of the offense this season was never set.  The Ravens have a fullback on the roster that gets less than 5 snaps a game.  (Even in short yardage, he isn’t used, which I find completely mysterious.)  They run out of a pistol formation without a quarterback rushing option.  The passing game goes back and forth between a hurry up, short throw based base philosophy, to a deep drop, deep route, deep read, simple passing tree system.  The play calls seem stale, and at times strange.  It just doesn’t look crisp a lot of the time.  Sure, the O-Line personnel needs to be upgraded in several spots, and the execution needs to be better overall, but it’s time for something new.  Ozzie and company are great at scouting talent, they need to go find an innovative coach to run this offense, and they need to do it during this offseason.

Other bits from Sunday:

Ray Rice was seen yelling at Coach Harbs, I believe when Harbs decided try a field goal instead of going for it on 4th and 5.  While I think the kick was a bad idea, Ray Rice shouldn’t be yelling at anyone, especially his coach.  Especially since Rice has played like dog shit all year.    Not cool, Ray.

Legarrette Blount, who is most famous for punching another player in college, and who has never won a big game in his NFL life until yesterday, decide to mock Ray Lewis’ dance here in Baltimore.  He said Ray said he could do it.  Even if true, I doubt he thought you’d do it here in a mocking fashion Legarrette.  Blount = asshole.

 

 

Tom Brady, was left hangin’ yesterday, proving again that everyone, including his own teammates, hate him.

tom brady

 

Ed Dickson played well catching 4 for 44.

Daryl Smith had 11 tackles to lead the team.

Justin Tucker missed his only attempt yesterday.  I still can’t figure out why the Ravens even attempted the kick.  They were down by 20 and and should have gone for it on 4th and 5.  Being down 20-3 that late is pretty much the same as being down 20-0.

The Ravens outgained the Pats 358-300.

The Ravens were 0-3 on 4th down.  Coming into the game they were 6 for 11 on the year.

How is Ron Winter’s crew allowed to work a big game?  They suck.  The first half was a nightmare.  The Ravens would have lost anyway, but man these penalties are brutal.

Speaking of which, the Ravens committed  9 penalties for 83 yards.  (One was one of the worst P.I. calls you’ll ever see.)  They just didn’t look focused.

Still alive in this though, just gotta beat the Bengals. Ugh.

 

 

 

 

One Comment

  1. What an awful game. The team looked horrible. I agree that Flacco’s horrible decision making can’t be blamed on his knee. So bad.

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