For the second straight week, the Ravens (4-6, 1-5 on the road) played an overtime game in which they only scored three points in the second half and overtime.
Two big differences this week were that they got the ball to begin overtime but lost.
Another difference was not just the progression but the dominance of Baltimore’s running game. After the Ravens gained 85 yards last week, they more than doubled that effort (174 yards) today.
Ray Rice spoke about the team’s success on the ground after the game.
“We’re getting better. We showed a lot of improvement–drastic improvement–in the run game today.”
Go figure. When the Ravens get their run game going strong, they can’t punch it in at the end of regulation.
Something that hindered Baltimore’s renewed running momentum was a severe weather delay that lasted almost two hours.
Let me say this about the weather: both teams played in the same stadium with the same conditions, so it’s not an excuse.
The Ravens had one in Super Bowl XLVII and another in Week 1 at Denver. Today’s delay was about four times as long.
“I think we lead the league in delays,” Harbaugh said during the post-game press conference.
Sure they tried like heck to correct their mistakes and win back-to-back games for the first time since Week 3, but it didn’t happen. Call it bad luck, call it whatever you want, but the Ravens didn’t get the job done today.
Although the Bears were at home and played well, they also helped the Ravens out to the tune of 13 penalties for 111 yards. On one of Chicago’s 4th quarter drives, one of Baltimore’s five penalties came on a very questionable roughing the passer call against Elvis Dumervil after a third down stop. That penalty allowed the Bears to gain 24 more yards before they were forced to punt.
On the ensuing drive, the Ravens had 1st and goal to go at the 5-yard line. They were forced to kick a field goal as time expired.
I’m not saying the penalty against Dumervil cost the Ravens the game. I’m saying it was an iffy call at best and put the Ravens at a disadvantage.
But you know what? This game, and life for that matter, is all about how you respond to adversity. Every team has to deal with it and the Ravens are simply not dealing with it well enough in 2013.
With the Steelers winning today, the Ravens will enter Week 12 in last place in the AFC North. Fortunately their next three games are at home, where they are 2-1 this season.
Unfortunately Baltimore’s remaining home schedule includes games on short weeks against the Steelers and the Patriots, with a Monday night game at Detroit in-between.
Be honest. You knew a post-Super Bowl struggle was coming. You knew things wouldn’t be the same without No. 52. You knew it would take time for the new players to gel with their coaches and with each other.
But right now it’s tough.
Even if the Ravens were able to retain Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta didn’t get hurt, there’s no guarantee they would be a winning team. It goes to show you how special and rare Super Bowl championships are.
If you thought the cliché that crazier things have happened wasn’t true, consider this: the Jets (5-5) are currently the 6th seed in the AFC playoffs.
The Ravens (4-6) host the Jets next week.
What a sport.
GIF courtesy of Gordon Dixon