Street Talk PERCEPTION IS REALITY: Season On the Brink

Posted in Street Talk
6+ Comments Dylman says Flacco should feel the need to play better and work harder having secured his big contract offseason, instead he looks lethargic and lost.
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Reality:  Quarterback Joe Flacco’s accuracy percentage on deep balls is 22.6%… that is the worst in the NFL.

Perception:  The last two weeks, as I watched the Ravens game, I remember saying to myself “throw it down field!!” Yes, I understand Flacco has not been as accurate on the deep balls as he was last year, but you are more likely to get a catch or pass interference on a long throw than just an incomplete pass. With an offense that’s not moving, throwing it down field more often might actually help move the offense, and open up holes for the running game.

Reality: In six games decided by three points or less, the Ravens are 2-4. Last season, they were 5-2 in games that close.

Perception: This is an important stat in any sports league. The 2012 Orioles were great in 1-run games and made the playoffs. The 2013 Orioles were terrible in 1-run games and missed the playoffs. Last season, the Ravens were really good in close games and won the Super Bowl. This season, if the Ravens miss the playoffs, they can blame their record in close games as a major reason for that failure.

Reality: Head Coach John Harbaugh said “We are in the hunt. We can do it and we’re good enough to do it.”

Perception: Are they good enough? Right now, No. But look back at the last few Super Bowl Champions… none of them were “good enough” in the middle of the season. They all got hot at the end of the season and through the playoffs. That’s all it takes in the NFL… get hot in November and December. So are they good enough right now? No – but not many teams are!

Reality: Only the top five teams in the AFC have a winning record.

Perception:  Six teams go to the playoffs. Denver, Indianapolis, New England, Cincinnati, and Kansas City are in the drivers seat for the first five playoff spots. But there are eight teams within one game of each other for the 6th and final AFC playoff spot. Right now, the Jets hold down the 6th playoff spot and have a 1-game lead over eight teams. The Ravens are currently 6th of those eight teams, tied (but losing tie-breakers) with Oakland, Tennessee, and Pittsburgh and tied (but winning tie-breakers) with Cleveland and San Diego.

Looking at those teams fighting for the last AFC playoff spot, I’m not convinced any of them are better than the Ravens. Oakland does not scare me. The Titans and Browns are floundering without their starting QBs. San Diego always falls off at the end of the season. To be honest, Pittsburgh is the scariest team.

If the Ravens beat the Jets Sunday, they move up to a tie for the 6th playoff spot, and hold the edge over the Jets in tie-breaker. If they lose Sunday, they fall two games back of the 6th spot and at 4-7, you can say their playoff hopes would officially be done.

So the Ravens season comes down to the next two games. Win them both (at home) and the Ravens will control their own destiny for making the playoffs. Lose either one (or both) and you can (unofficially) eliminate the Ravens from playoff contention this season.

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Joe Polek

About Joe Polek

Joe Polek was born in Baltimore, MD, and was raised in Bel Air, MD. In 2001, he moved to Portland, Maine for a job in radio. In 2012, he moved to Columbia, SC for another gig in radio, where he currently resides with his wife, Nicole, and their two daughters. Joe is a huge sports fan, but most importantly he lives and breathes Baltimore (and Maryland) sports. He routinely gets back to Baltimore for a Ravens game once a year, and while living in Maine, went to Foxboro and Fenway whenever the Ravens or Orioles came to town. A couple of his highlights were being at the final game at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium, and also sitting in left field for “2130”, and “2131” (Cal Ripken’s consecutive game streak). Find Joe on Twitter at @JPonSports. More from Joe Polek

Flacco should feel the need to play better and work harder having secured his big contract offseason, instead he looks lethargic and lost.


Harbs and coaching staff are a bunch of nit-wits! Joe Fluncko has spread his might wings of playing like a man who is clueless this year.


And people wonder why the defense can't finish these close games...


The offenses inablity to sustain a drive to give the defense rest during the game is a huge contributer to our losses in close games. The offense does not have to score on every drive but three and outs are killing us also.


I completetely agree with RJ. The Coaches are just as much at fault as the players are for the way they are playing. I want to defend Flacco because what would you do if you where him, standing in the pocket with no protection, no running game, no receiver open to throw to. Do you hold the ball and take a sack or try to make something out of nothing and throw the ball and hope the receivers make a play. Unfortunately the group of receivers the ravens have do not posess the skill of Boldin to go up and fight for the ball. I personally believe that Flacco is doing everything he can under the circumstances.


I want nothing more than to say I have complete confidence in this team to make the play-offs, but sadly, to do so would be a lie. More than anything else, it is due to the horrid coaching, specifically when it comes to John "this is MY team now" Harbaugh and his inability to fire his cronies, especially Juan Castillo, and when it comes to clock managment and all the other "little" details a head coach has to handle. It was Harbs that got rid of Q and Pollard the second the ink hit Flacco's contract. It was Harbs that made sure we went for it on all those 4th downs when a field goal would have been the differencemaker in the games. And don't get me started on the playcalling on the last play of regulation against Chicago. Flacco is playnig terrible right now, but given the fact that he is ONLY as good as the personel around him, he is not "wholly" to blame (his record number of interceptions is where he is most personally at fault). Our secondary is also way too suspect at times, and it is a shame to see the once mighty Lardarius Webb whiff on so many crucial plays. The main saving grace of this team is a stout run defense and front seven, but despite them "doing enough" to keep the games close, the offense can't seem to hold up on their end. If we can somehow win the next three games, all of which are at home and "highly" winable, then we just may have a shot at the play-offs at 7-6, but the way we are playing, and more importantly, the total lack of competience from our head coach does not bode well for are chances.


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