The Ravens did not show up for their game against the Patriots, and subsequently got their tails whipped at home on Sunday, losing 41-7. It was the worst Ravens loss since they were shut-out in Week 11 of the 1997 season at Pittsburgh (37-0).
Baltimore did not fire off the ball and allowed New England to dictate tempo all game long. The Ravens were not sharp, and though the Patriots weren’t perfect, they were effective.
New England didn’t run complicated schemes. They frequently ran between the tackles, to the tune of 142 yards on 34 rushes.
Then there was the play of Joe Flacco, which was simply futile. He threw two interceptions, bringing his season total to a whopping 19. He had never thrown more than 12 interceptions in one season until this season.
Baltimore was in the spirit of the holiday season tonight, as they gave the Patriots four turnovers and 83 yards via penalties.
It was an all-around poor performance. Even Justin Tucker missed a field goal (his lone attempt, from a mere 37 yards out), breaking his streak of 33 consecutive makes.
As I sat in the stadium, and even as I write this, I can’t pick out one good thing the Ravens did.
The kicker is that Tom Brady didn’t have a good game either. He threw for 88 fewer yards and had a lower completion percentage than Flacco. When Brady is out-done by the opposing quarterback, which isn’t often, that team should expect to win.
To make matters worse, the Chargers and the Steelers both won, convoluting the pursuit of the final AFC playoff spot even more. The Ravens are now in the No. 7 slot, in-between the Dolphins (who have a better conference record) and the Chargers.
Although the Bengals clinched the AFC North today, don’t expect them to lay down next Sunday, as they would clinch the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye with a win and a Patriots loss (versus Buffalo).
Now the Ravens look ahead to what certainly is a must-win game at Cincinnati next week, where they are 7-10 all-time.
Baltimore lost plenty of close games in 2013—games in which they had plenty of chances to win. Now that their season is on the brink, they shouldn’t make excuses. Opportunities were there, and those opportunities, by and large, have gone unrealized.
Whatever their playoff fate turns out to be, the Ravens will have earned it.