Nine months ago I was inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome witnessing the Ravens cap a wild season by winning a wild Super Bowl XLVII. It was the realization of a life-long goal for over 100 Ravens players, coaches, executives and staff.
I’ll never forget that game.
Contrarily, I hope to soon forget this game.
Tonight I witnessed a poor output by the Ravens as a whole. Sure, Marlon Brown had a good game (five receptions, 54 yards, two touchdowns) and Terrell Suggs added another solid game to his 2013 campaign. Furthermore, the Ravens did hold the budding combo of Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron to five touches for 58 yards.
But overall, there were just too many painful errors committed by Baltimore.
The offensive line allowed five sacks, bringing the 2013 total to 25 (the Ravens allowed 38 all of last year). There was also the play where Davone Bess put Lardarius Webb on skates, like he was playing NBA 2k14.
Did I mention the Tandon Doss fumble on the Ravens’ own 13-yard line late in the third quarter?
No matter how you slice it, the Browns wanted it more. That’s what it looked like to me, anyway. They were sick and tired of being beaten down by Baltimore and they took advantage of a flawed Ravens team.
Make no mistake—the Ravens aren’t solely losing because of a Super Bowl hangover. It’s not like they aren’t trying at all and teams are steamrolling them every week. Baltimore has lost four of its last five games by a total of 14 points (three of those losses were on the road).
In other words, despite the poor blocking, the inaccurate throws and breakdowns in coverage, the Ravens have still had opportunities to win these games at the end.
Why do they keep making the same mistakes?
It seems like the Ravens know where they want to go but continually get lost and can’t figure out how to head in the right direction.
When was the last time you saw Ray Rice take a handoff and thought he would break through the line and shake multiple defenders on his way to the end zone, like he’s done many times in the past? When is the last time you could say Sam Koch was having a sub-par season?
The only positive I foresee is while the Ravens’ next game is against the first-place Bengals, it’s at home.
The Ravens have played one home game over the last six weeks. Now, they enter a five-game stretch in which they’ll play four of those games at M&T Bank Stadium.
The Bengals game isn’t a must-win game in a literal sense, but honestly, do you think the Ravens have any margin for error at this point?
Earlier this week, John Harbaugh described his outlook on the remainder of the 2013 season:
“I know how hard we work. I know what good people we have – coaches and players – and I really believe in where we’re going schematically. I think we understand how to solve problems. And that’s what football is – it’s a problem-solving business. I’m confident we have the people to solve problems. I believe we’ll catch on fire.”
Coach, we sincerely hope so.