The Ravens nearly overcame a big deficit to come back and win in New England, but the Patriots pulled away in the end. RSR staff react to the loss here…
Many folks thought the Ravens had a shot in this game, and it came down to two reasons – the healthy, all-cylinders secondary, and the offense that looked like it figured something out against Miami.
Unfortunately, after 30 minutes, it was obvious that the offensive explosion against Miami was just a function of playing an awful defense (12 of the first 14 plays called are passes – REALLY?!), and Jimmy Smith was sidelined once again. Though some costly Ravens miscues (a blocked FG, another awful FAIL CATCH by Devin Hester leading to a safety) gave the Pats an early cushion, they welcomed the Ravens back into the game with two huge special teams blunders of their own.
Still, thanks to the aforementioned injury to Smith, the league’s #1 defense wasn’t up to the task of contributing enough to the comeback. Matt Elam (playing safety because Lardarius Webb was forced to corner with Smith out) got toasted by Chris Hogan (WHO?!) for a 79-yard TD after the Ravens had pulled it to 23-20, and that was all she wrote. (Weddle officially took the blame for that play, but I’m not buying it).
Sprinkle in some more awful clock management from John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco (who both act like a 10-point deficit with under four minutes to go is no cause at all for alarm), and you have yet another loss in Foxboro.
The season again looks like it will come down to Christmas Day in Pittsburgh, though that would have been the case even with a win tonight.
Simple mistakes cost them this game. Penalties. Special teams, especially the lack of returns. And terrible clock management. Just an awful first half that cost them this game.
But it is the same things EVERY GAME. No longer the OCs fault. Either fix it with the players or it is time for Harbaugh to go.
The Ravens certainly made it interesting; however, their loss may have sealed the deal for them to once again miss the postseason. The loss of Jimmy Smith was crucial as Brady joins Eli Manning and Dak Prescott as QBs to put up 300+yards on the secondary with 22 sidelined.
The ugly time management skills have proved costly once again and John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco need to be held accountable for their lack of urgency.
So we have a team that:
-Looked like it just woke up for most of the 1st quarter
-Wouldn’t throw anything beyond 5 yards past the LOS
-Was on the verge of a 3-score deficit in the first half.
And yet, they still made it a close one. And if not for a terrible blown coverage by (probably) Eric Weddle in what was otherwise yet another fantastic performance for the former Charger, this game might have come down to the wire.
But Joe Flacco, CAN YOU PLEASE SHOW ME SOME URGENCY?
I don’t need you yelling and screaming, but damn, get to the line of scrimmage with more than 20 seconds for once. Please.
Fortunately, the Ravens still control their own destiny.
Anybody else mumble to themselves “I can’t believe I stayed up for this crap?”
Sure, the loss of Jimmy Smith didn’t help. Or Jerraud Powers. Or Mike Wallace, Jeremy Zuttah and Ricky Wagner all going down at different points in this game. But let’s not allow that to distract us from the the bigger issue: The Ravens once again were their own worst enemies with their poor game planning, miserable clock management, and stupid penalties.
But once again, I expect John Harbaugh will dodge these bullets all week, claim the team played well, and not take the internal soul search that this team needs.
Also, Flacco has me screaming more than I should. We shouldn’t be watching a Super Bowl MVP quarterback making rookie mistakes in his 30’s. Every. Single. Week.
On to Philly I suppose…
We’ll post more knee-jerk reactions as they roll in…