Ravens Fall to Browns 33-30
Who are these Baltimore Ravens?
Since when do the Cleveland Browns score 33 points in Baltimore?
Since when do the Ravens score 30 at home and lose?
Since when do you watch a Ravens defense and hope that they aren’t the last unit on the field?
It’s just one of those seasons – a season that in some ways feels like it hasn’t started and in other ways lingering like the stench of Back River.
We can discuss the extreme odds of teams advancing to the postseason after a (1-4) start. But what’s the point? Seven losses will probably bump a team from the playoff picture and does anyone really think the Ravens can go (9-2) the rest of the way?
Clearly injuries play a role. The Ravens were banged up last season and this season is no different. And like a Led Zeppelin song, it makes me wonder. Is there something that the Ravens do differently in their physical preparation that makes them more susceptible to injury than other teams?
Questions abound for sure with few acceptable answers. There are many organizational issues that the Ravens will need to correct before they can be considered among the league’s best again beginning with the way they draft, to the way they manage the cap to their inability to land playmakers to the way they are coached. No one is recused from accountability.
The balance of 2015 will be important to the team going forward and they should approach it in a self-assessing way to get a clear picture of what they have going into 2016 and what they’ll need to get back to January football next season. Players like Arthur Brown, Terrence Brooks, Will Davis and Tray Walker should see plenty of action so that the team can determine if players like Daryl Smith, Kendrick Lewis, Kyle Arrington and Lardarius Webb will remain part of the team’s landscape.
2015 is a lost season but let’s not lose the opportunity to begin building for 2016.
Great looking naked boot for the game’s first TD. Nice call by Marc Trestman and an even better sales job by Joe Flacco…Despite the immense pressure placed upon them given the lack of a vertical presence, a redundant cadence and the Browns commitment to stopping the run, the Ravens offensive line performed extremely well save for Jeremy Zuttah. The standouts against the Browns were Eugene Monroe (welcome back) and Kelechi Osemele. Want proof? Try 181 yards rushing on 31 carries (5.8 ypc)…Jeremy Ross had a productive debut with 2 catches for 24 yards while averaging 10.5 yards on punt returns and 27.2 yards on kick returns…Kamar Aiken had a solid first half (4 catches, 78 yards) but disappeared like Jimmy Hoffa in the second…Kyle Juszczyk was a solid lead blocker and was productive in the passing game (3 catches, 31 yards, 1 TD)
Elvis Dumervil was menacing and even held up decently defending the run. He was missed down the stretch after leaving the game with an injury…Lawrence Guy is another example of the Ravens finding value with second-tier free agents. He had two sacks BUT a very costly roughing the passer penalty (a bit marginal) that negated a Lardarius Webb interception…Prior to his injury Webb’s play was circa 2011. He was aggressive in run support, effective as a blitzer and solid in coverage…Brandon Williams was stout, contributing a sack and had another taken away thanks to Za’Darius Smith’s offsides penalty…Sam Koch was outstanding averaging 49.2 net yards on 6 punts…Props to Brynden Trawick on coverage teams.
Joe Flacco’s completions percentage was 54% against the league’s 32nd ranked defense…Marlon Brown was on the field for 52 plays, was targeted 4 times and had 1 catch for 0 yards. Did I say the Browns were the league’s 32nd ranked defense? Why exactly is Marlon on the 53-man roster?…Darren Waller’s block in the back late in the second quarter was unnecessary and costly. It helped thwart the Ravens chances of a TD drive and contributed to a longer (and unsuccessful) FGA…Zuttah as previously mentioned was the O-Line’s weak link…
Jason Babin, 23 snaps, 3 penalties, one of which was a costly hands to the face (albeit very debatable…Joe Thomas looked like the guilty party) on a 3rd and 9 play that was incomplete. The first down gave the Browns a new set of downs at the Ravens 10. The two offsides penalties, inexcusable…Za’Darius Smith regularly took himself out of plays and failed to contain too often…It’s pretty obvious why the Patriots gave up on Kyle Arrington.
The Ravens very first series started with a holding penalty (Orr) on the kick return followed by a Forsett run that lost 3, an aborted screen and then a run of 3 yards. 3 plays, 0 yards, 46 seconds…CJ Mosley had his worst game as a pro. It was so bad that I had to wonder if he was out too late on Saturday night. He looked slow and was regularly torched by Duke Johnson and Gary Barnidge…Dean Pees had no answer for the Browns short passing game. I get that you can’t make chicken salad with chicken s*** but 457 yards passing from Josh McCown to Barnidge-Johnson-Gabriel-Hawkins-Benjamin? C’mon man!…12 penalties for 98 yards…Browns converted 63% on third down. Meanwhile the Ravens were just 5 of 14 on third down against the league’s 25th ranked third down defense.
Will Hill had his worst game as a Raven. He was awful in coverage and contributed a bone-headed late hit out of bounds that cost the team 15 yards…Gary Barnidge had 8 catches for 139 yards and a TD. GARY BARNIDGE!!!
THE MEGAN FOX AWARD
The Browns committed to stopping the run given the Ravens less than imposing vertical threats yet Justin Forsett still managed to gain 121 yards on 21 carries (5.8 ypc) and he added 49 yards receiving. Unfortunately he left with a sprained ankle leaving us to wonder if he’ll be another key performer who will be unavailable in San Francisco.