Wizard of Oz home after slight health scare
The Ravens confirmed that GM Ozzie Newsome did not return to Baltimore with the rest of the team after the Ravens’ 23-20 loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday. Newsome instead was taken to a local hospital after the game.
The former Hall of Fame tight end was reportedly sweating heavily as he rode the elevator down to the locker room after the game (via WNST) and was then taken to a side exit to leave discreetly. Ozzie did not require a stretcher, but was told by the Doctor that it was recommended he not fly home with the team.
The Ravens reported Monday Morning however, that Ozzie was on his way back to Baltimore and that he was feeling alright, and also joked that he was expected to be back on the treadmill soon.
While it is unlikely that the outcome of the game seriously contributed to Ozzie not feeling well, it’d be tough to blame him for not feeling well after watching the Ravens blow first-and-goal in the final minutes of regulation.
SO YOU’RE SAYING THERE’S A CHANCE
The Ravens’ loss on Sunday dropped them to 4-6 and 2.5 games back of the division-leading Bengals with just six games left.
However, despite the poor performances this far, the Ravens are still alive to make a run for a wild card in the AFC, because they trail the Jets by just one game for the sixth seed, and play them next Sunday in Baltimore.
Even with this good fortune, Don Banks of Sports Illustrated feels that “it’ll be curtains” for the Ravens if they are defeated by the Jets.
The Ravens’ schedule plays to their favor for the next three weeks as well, as they draw three consecutive home games against the Jets, Steelers, and Vikings, all of whom are currently .500 or worse. It is not too much of a stretch to think the Ravens could possibly take all three.
What a weird season it has been.
IS THAT RAY RICE?
After months of underperforming, Ray Rice had easily the best game of his season Sunday against the Bears and their second-worst rush defense, and looked like vintage Ray Rice from the previous five years.
It was an impressive performance for sure, as Rice went over 100 yards for the first time all year, and had an explosive 47-yard run on the Ravens’ first drive before eventually taking the ball in from the goal line himself.
This is a rare bright spot for Rice, who has heard all season from talking heads that he is slow, old, and washed up. Rice even heard head coach John Harbaugh say he may begin losing touches to Bernard Pierce last week.
If the Ravens are going to compete for a wild card, they need this Rice, and not the doppelganger who averaged 2.5 yards a carry before Sunday. Most Ravens fans are hesitant to buy in after only one week however, and count me among them.
DISAPPEARING ACT FOR PASS RUSH
For the first time all season, neither Terrell Suggs nor Elvis Dumervil were able to get consistent pressure on an opposing quarterback. As a tandem they only combined for one tackle, and one quarterback hit.
The pass-rush lost its edge Sunday against a Bears offensive line that entered the game allowing only 14 sacks in the first 9 games of the season, after ranking in the bottom half of the league in 2012.
One of the few times that the Ravens were able to get pressure on McCown, Dumervil was called for roughing the passer, as he pushed the Bears quarterback to the ground after the ball had already been thrown.
On a day where Haloti Ngata was a surprise inactive, the Ravens defense desperately needed impact plays from its star edge rushers, but got nothing. Ravens writer John Eisenberg notes that it was hard to watch the Ravens struggle on a day where Julius Peppers of the Bears had one of the best games of his season, recording 8 tackles and two sacks.
The Ravens defense just couldn’t find an edge Sunday, nor could their edge rushers.