A lot of folks will point out how the blabbering and flip-flopping from blatantly bad referee calls impacted the Ravens early on in the game.  I agree to a certain point, but when looking back at this game it is really evident how unprepared the Ravens were and how great New England’s coaching staff really is.  I would love to see Baltimore embrace an offensive scheme similar to that of the Patriots.  They make the most out of what they’ve got and even with three offensive linemen playing out of position (for example, Logan Mankins playing left tackle instead of left guard) and no Rob Gronkowski, Josh McDaniels had the offense firing on all cylinders and taking what Baltimore gave them.

Offensive Grades

The offense was on a mission last night.  And that mission was to get the game over as soon as possible and go home.  Let me just break down how bad the offense was last night and how bad the offensive design has been all season.

1. The offensive line can’t pass block or run block.  Here’s your proof: Flacco is among the top-5 most sacked quarterbacks in the NFL and the Ravens are dead last in yards per carry.

2.  The current route tree being employed by the Ravens’ receivers utilizes long developing routes with on average one outlet underneath.  This type of route tree requires the offensive line hold their blocks.

3.  The Ravens’ receivers don’t scramble and break off routes when Joe is flushed out of the pocket, so Flacco rarely has anyone to throw to when the offensive line breaks down – which is quite often.

4.  Play action passes generally can assist by freeing up one-on-one coverage down the sidelines or in the seam because play action is designed to make the safeties stop their backpedaling and come up towards the line of scrimmage.  The Ravens can’t run the ball, so play action isn’t fooling anyone.

The point is this offensive play design is more of a hindrance for the Ravens than anything and it just exacerbates all of the personnel inadequacies this team has and that is why my grade for the offensive performance yesterday is an F.

Defensive Grades

Against Detroit, Baltimore’s defense played really well.  Even when the Lions scored a late 4th quarter touchdown, the Ravens stood tall and the defense did a fantastic job containing Calvin Johnson (aka Megatron).  Yet, at home, they get roasted by a wounded Patriots offense.  LeGarrett Blount rushed for 76 yards on 16 carries (4.75 yards per carry) and topped it off with two rushing touchdowns.  Stevan Ridley, who has been in the Patriot’s doghouse for much of the year due to fumbling issues, tacked on another 54 yards.  Tom Brady didn’t have to do much either and only completed 53% of his passes for 172 yards and one touchdown.  The Ravens defense was largely undisciplined last night and was called for a number of penalties that put the Patriots in great field position.  An example of this is the pass interference penalty on Jimmy Smith that set the Patriots up with a 1st and goal at the 1 yard line.

In my opinion, last night’s game exemplifies one of my biggest gripes about the team this year.  They may be a top-10 statistical team, but they play soft and they are far too inconsistent.  There is a lot of talent on the defensive side of the ball and two of the highest paid players on the team (Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata) need to make their presence felt every week and they just aren’t.

To make matters worse, guys like Corey Graham are just completely botching certain plays.  How many times does Graham have to get burned on bunch formation/switch-off routes before he figures it out?  An even better question is WHY is that not being conveyed to him during film sessions?  Where is the communication in the secondary?

Overall, the defense turned in an F performance.  There just is no way around that.

Coaching Grades

Going for a field goal when down 20-0 (three scoring possessions)? A successful attempt would have made the score 20-3…which STILL WOULD HAVE BEEN THREE SCORING POSSESSIONS.

Additionally, why does it feel like every game results in the offense needing to go for it on every 4th down?  The Ravens were completely unprepared for this game and the only thing one needs to look at is the passing plays that were being run.  I think Joe’s knee is a lot worse than what the team or Joe are letting on.  That said, why are they calling for plays that require Joe get his feet set and drive the ball down the field on a bum knee?  The whole game plan was just really bad and there is a good possibility that after the season is over, some coaches will be politely asked to leave the building (at least they should, in this fan’s opinion).

Overall, both the offensive game plan and the defensive game plan were a hot mess.  The way the team was embarrassed at home should fall directly at John Harbaugh’s feet.  My final grade for the coaches is a big fat F.

The Bengals already have the division wrapped up and have secured a playoff spot, so it is possible that they will sit their starters for some or most of the game. On the other hand, Marvin’s squad can still potentially secure a #2 seed and a bye, so one has to assume that they’ll be playing to win (plus, why wouldn’t they want to eliminate the Ravens, given the chance?).

It won’t be easy for the Ravens. If Baltimore wins and either Miami or San Diego loses, then the Ravens get the 6th and final playoff seed.   However, San Diego is playing the Chiefs who are guaranteed a trip to the playoffs, so the likelihood that they’ll rest their starters is pretty high.  That means the Chargers have a good shot at winning, which means the Ravens will likely need to cross their fingers and hope that Good Ol’Sexy Rexy up in New York will pull out all of the stops to try and save his job and beat the brakes off of Miami.

Either way, Baltimore needs to pray to the NFL gods this coming weekend and hope they answer the black-n-purple prayers by dishing out losses to San Diego and/or Miami.

This entry was posted in Blog View, Featured, Report Card by Paul Lukoskie. Bookmark the permalink.

About Paul Lukoskie

Paul Lukoskie
Paul (aka WickedSolo) has been an avid football fan since he was a little kid. As former player himself (through college only...turning pro and having million dollar contracts and fame just sounded too overwhelming...or he's just a 5'11" 200lb guy who was only good enough to play D-3 ball...but who's...more

12 Raves on “RAVENS REPORT CARD: Everybody Fails

  1. Hut Guy on said:

    The only defeat I can remotely compare to yesterday’s atrocity was in 1998 when the Jaguars has us down 42-0 at half time and the upper deck section where I was sitting was singing “Goodbye Teddy ” Even then the Ravens at least played a second 7-0 edge. WE JUST GAVE UP !! Paul, this time needs a miracle and quite frankly, they don’t deserve it !!

  2. Ashton VSG on said:

    The problem is that some coaches will not be asked to leave. Harbaugh likes to talk about “accountability” but that only seems to apply to players in his doghouse. It never applies to coaches who unit under performs.

    This is on Harbaugh – he got the coaches he wanted and got rid of the players that he didn’t like. The result is a .500 team that can’t score TDs and that is soft on defense. Great job coach

  3. ravensean509@gmail.com on said:

    yeah, the bad trends you mentioned from unimaginative schemes and questionable coaching all culminated by playing the worst game of the season at the most critical time. At home, no less. I’ve thought all year that both sides of the ball have more talent than they are allowed to display. The “D” is talented with movable chess pieces up front and a talented secondary but they haven’t held a lead. I’ve wondered if that’s due to a very predictable scheme in those situations. All i want for christmas is two new coordinators and a revamped offensive line. Funny that after all of the big name defections from the roster, Matt Birk’s loss might be the most crucial.

  4. Lionel on said:

    No way in heck the defense deserves an F. I know you are still hurting about the game, but get real.

    The last 3 TDs can be ignored since the game was over and two were scored with our offense on the field.

    The score of the game was basically 20-7.

    New England is a top 10 offense that is well-coached.

    They also started drives at:

    their 22 (3 and out)
    their 36 (TD with long PI as catalyst)
    their 47 (after Flacco pick, drive resulted in TD)
    their 36 (37-yard FG drive)
    their 19 (14 yard drive and punt)
    their 20 (38 yard drive and punt)
    their 39 (after our offense turns over on downs, NE goes 3 and out)
    our 43 (after Flacco pick, they kick FG)
    their 4 (3 and out which starts us at their 38 after punt, we miss FG)
    their 27 (18 yards and punt)
    their 20 (3 and out)
    our 48 after we turn over on downs and lose any shot of winning

    Versus a top 10 offense with those starting field positions, letting up 20 points over 55 minutes while the game still was in a bit of doubt, is nowhere approaching an F. Sorry, but true. More like a B.

    • Paul on said:

      It doesn’t have anything to do with “hurting” about the game. The defense was not good yesterday. The offense was worse, but the D was bad too.

      Logan Mankins started at LT in place of Nate Solder. Mankins has been a guard his entire NFL career.
      Josh Kline, a rookie out of Kent State started at left guard.
      Dan Connolly, normally a center, started at right guard.
      Marcus Cannon is filling in at RT for Sebastian Vollmer and Cannon has given up a lot of pressure on Brady.

      Other than Daryl Smith blitzing up the middle and a bullshit sack where Brady gave up for Suggs, the defensive line did jack today and they also gave up nearly 5 yards per carry to Blount.

      That isn’t even taking into considerations the poor coverage (Graham), poor tackling (Ihedigbo) and the penalties.

      • Lionel on said:

        Telling me who was playing where for the Pats is a meaningless exercise. They are a well-coached team and obviously good at evaluating talent.

        The results are the results. That you seem to be implying that these O-line shuffles mean we should have held them scoreless or to 14 points instead of 20 or whatever is not supported by any evidence.

        Sure, it would have been nice to get more pressure, or to tackle better or commit less penalties. But failing to do these things while holding the Pats to effectively 20 points for the game, despite getting absolutely zero support from your offense, does not equal an “F” to a fair evaluator, I am sorry. If it did, then our defense deserves an F in about half or more of our games, and since it ranks in basically the top 6-8 in the major categories, adjusted for our offense (drives stats), that means you are saying that most defenses in most games would get an “F” from you, which again, is simply unfair.

        • Russ on said:

          Lionel, I agree with you. I have had this argument with a few folks. But all season I have been saying to myself and friends, why do we have Corey Graham? Sure he has an occasional good play or game but typically he plays way off and can’t cover. Other teams exploit him. Someone suggested Ngata has to step up to the plate, it seems to me he and Arthur Jones have been the two shining stars on that line. As Haloti continues to get healthier he has been making great pass deflections and shedding blocks for tackles. This comes down to crappy play calling, and yesterday I saw crappy attitude from our team during and after the game. Suggs’

  5. Anonymous on said:

    Coaching: F-

    (1) “Going for a field goal when down 20-0 (three scoring possessions)? A successful attempt would have made the score 20-3…which STILL WOULD HAVE BEEN THREE SCORING POSSESSIONS.” Seriously, this is 2nd grade math (at best). How can the owner condone a 2nd grade math failure by the coach??

    (2) The 3rd and goal and 4th and goal play calling. OK, we are running the ball great. It is 3rd and 1 and we know we are going for it on 4th down… so let’s run a pass play since they are blitzing every down, then let’s call a TO and then rush on the last minute and run behind our center who can’t block.

  6. purpleneonexpress on said:

    As bad as the players were in this game, the coaching was even worse. What the heck were Harbaugh and Pees and Caldwell doing this past week?

    Very weak game plan that played right into hands of the Pats.

    The Pats coaching staff must have been laughing there arses off on the plane ride home with how easily and thoroughly they out coached the Ravens staff.

    Your at home, huge loud crowd has got your back, your playing for the right to go to the post season, your playing an opponent that you can beat and have beaten in the past, your playing a team with a banged up offensive line and a weak defense and you come out and lay a giant turd?

    100% on John Harbaugh. This team was totally unprepared to play, from the atrocious coaching before and during the game, to the lackadaisical play of his players.

    Difficult to understand and explain.

    Harbaugh’s got some splainin to do……

  7. Bruce_Almty on said:

    Ravens have 24 coaches, that’s 5 coaches more than most NFL teams and, counting PS, abt 2.5 players per coach. No wonder the players don’t know what they are doing, they have so many coaches “helping” them it’s impossible to get clear direction.
    The Players are fine ,,, The Coaches need to go.

  8. RinoBambino on said:

    When will Terrell Suggs shut his big overrated mouth and actually perform half as well on the field? Suggs talks tough and Brady kicks his ass. Watch Suggs make up more immature excuses!

  9. RinoBambino on said:

    Flacco is ELITE? Just ask the Patriots! They will praise him in public and laugh their tails off thanking God that Flacco plays for the Ravens.

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