Texans 43, Ravens 13
Well it’s a good thing that the standings in the NFL aren’t determined by the BCS.
Yesterday’s bloody mess on Battle Red Sunday at Reliant Stadium in Houston was so bad that it’s almost inconceivable that the Ravens could be considered in the mix to represent the AFC in February in New Orleans. But at the end of the day, it was just another digit in the loss column, not unlike the one the Ravens earned in Philadelphia during week 2.
The silver lining in Bloody Sunday’s debacle lies in the fact that the Ravens remain more than a full game ahead of the second place Steelers and two ahead of the Bengals. Also after this week’s bye the Ravens travel to Cleveland to take on the Browns who are currently (1-6) and then they host the Raiders who are currently (2-4) after beating the (1-5) Jaguars in overtime.
Meanwhile the Steelers host RGIII and the Redskins this coming Sunday and then travel to Met Life Stadium to take on the World Champion New York Giants followed by a Monday Night match up at Heinz Field against the Chiefs.
So it’s conceivable, even likely that heading into Pittsburgh on November 18, the Ravens could be (7-2) and the Steelers (5-4).
Ok, the silver lining aside, the only way the Ravens can get better is to pick through the carnage and engineer an effective clean up plan and this one could use the National Guard. We’ll leave the planning to geniuses like Cam Cameron and Dean Pees while we assess yesterday’s excessive debris…
THE GOOD: The only unit that came to play was Jerry Rosburg’s special teams crew. Sam Koch averaged 50.6 yards on 5 punts and combined with the stout coverage unit Koch’s punts netted 48.8 yards. Justin Tucker had 4 kickoffs (excluding the failed onsides attempt), three of which were touchbacks and one returned just 17 yards. Tucker also connected from 51 and 54 yards on his two FGA’s making him 4 for 4 on the season from 50+. To put that in perspective, Billy Cundiff was 1 for 9 from 50+ during his 2+ seasons in Baltimore…Jacoby Jones averaged 28.7 yards on 7 returns…Dannell Ellerbe was solid filling in for Ray Lewis. He was active at the line of scrimmage and his burst into the backfield when blitzing had to be accounted for by the Texans. He led the team with 12 tackles and was very good in pass coverage…Courtney Upshaw continues to improve, each week making an impactful play.
THE BAD: Bernard Pollard had 2 costly penalties and his demonstrative disapproval of the personal foul call following his hit on Kevin Walter should have led to an ejection. A fine could be on its way. His amped up determination to show well in front of Texans fans forced him to over pursue too often which left him out of position to complete his assignments…The Cary Williams slide continues. Asking him to play man with the Ravens pass rush is like asking Spud Webb to blanket LeBron James…Another Williams, Bobbie was dreadful and was schooled on successive plays by Antonio Smith leading to two sacks. How Williams fit into Ozzie’s equation of “right player, right price” is a mystery…Jameel McClain was invisible and almost always seems to be late to “the party.” I’m not sure why the Ravens were so afraid to lose him.
THE UGLY: Jimmy Smith bites on a double move more frequently than Charlie Brown falls for the same kicking trick from Lucy. There’s a reason he never supplanted Cary Williams as the starter prior to Lardarius Webb’s injury. They can sell us on his great measurables until they are purple in the face but either one of two things is happening: 1) Smith doesn’t care enough to prepare well because he falls for the same playground stop-and-go or; 2) he’s just not very smart. Either way he is beginning to smell like a first round bust…
Joe Flacco’s road woes continue and while Cam Cameron deserves a ton of the blame for No. 5’s wretched performance, this game is unquestionably a black mark on the QB’s resume. Talk about telegraphing where you are going with the football! Joe’s new nickname should be “Morse.” Here’s a staggering number – Flacco’s QB Rating at home this season is 106.5 while on the road, he’s at 55.8. The Ravens average 32.3 points per game at home; 15.1 on the road…
The Ravens were 4 of 15 on third down conversions while allowing the Texans to convert 8 of 15. Total net yards: 176. And you know it’s bad when you think the defense was better against the run yet they still surrendered 181 yards of real estate on the ground.
Cam Cameron, are you kidding me? This guy is such a sucker for a double man zone defense; refuses to throw the ball to the middle of the field; ignores his best offensive player (9 rushes for Ray Rice); continually throws to the right outside the numbers despite double coverage and despite the fact that Wade Phillips rolled defenders into Flacco’s throwing lane time and again, batting down passes over and over and over.
Too often the Ravens didn’t have enough blockers to account for the Texans blitz even leaving Conner Barwin UNTOUCHED when dropping back into the end zone to throw. Cameron’s offense is a dinosaur and the only time it shines is when Flacco is on fire and that only happens at M&T Bank Stadium. There’s little reason to think this will change because as much as they want to say how much more dynamic the Ravens offense is, it’s still skippered by a guy who does the same things the same way over and over while expecting different results. That is defined as insanity and keeping this guy around is exactly that!
Here’s more ugly…
THE MEGAN FOX: Terrell Suggs remarkable recovery from a partially torn Achilles is shocking enough. But to be out on the field making plays and seemingly picking up right where he left off during his DPOY season in 2011 is amazing. Here’s to you Sizzle! Lord knows the Ravens need a whole lot more of it on your side of the ball.