If I had told you in advance of Sunday’s game against the San Diego Chargers that Joe Flacco would have a passer rating of 104.9 and throw for 2 TD’s without an interception; that Justin Forsett would run for over 100 yards; that the Ravens would win the turnover battle 2-0 and score 33 points WHILE PLAYING at M&T Bank Stadium, you would bet the farm that all of this would add up to a win, right?
Only once since the Ravens started playing on Russell Street have they ever lost a home game when scoring 30 points or more.
On Sunday they made it twice.
This loss falls completely on the shoulders of the team’s inept secondary and the defensive play caller Dean Pees. More on the secondary in a bit but for now I’ll put the crosshairs one Pees.
Last week against the Saints the Ravens limited Jimmy Graham by marking him with Will Hill. The strategy worked and it seemed a near certainty that the Ravens would do more of the same against Antonio Gates. They didn’t.
The Chargers started their fourth string center who left the game due to injury forcing the Bolts to turn to their fifth string center. Did Pees try to test these deep reserves? Did he try and confuse the inexperienced centers with multiple formations, stunts and a variety of A-gap blitzes?
The immobile Philip Rivers was nicked up a bit entering the game with sore ribs. Did the Ravens dial up pressures to knock the Chargers signal caller around, make him a bit antsy and unload the ball prematurely?
Instead Pees opted to have his corners play closer to Hooters in the Inner Harbor than opposing receivers, allowing Rivers to get rid of the ball quickly, completely mitigating the effectiveness of the rush.
Making matters worse the Ravens too often tipped their hand prematurely, telegraphing their pressures and blitzes enabling Rivers to make the right pre-snap adjustments again and again, resulting in a mind-blowing 9 of 11 (82%) third down conversions.
And shockingly, the Chargers were able to move the ball seemingly at will despite the one-dimensional aspect of their attack. But I guess that doesn’t matter much when your pass defense is no-dimensional.
Back in 2012 despite having a (9-4) record the Ravens fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. That seemed to work out just fine. Maybe they should consider a similar fate for Pees.
Some might argue that you can’t make chicken salad out of chicken you-know-what. But when you consider that the Ravens first draft pick each of the last 5 drafts and their top 6 draft picks from the last 2 drafts have all been defenders, for this defense to look that bad at home is inexcusable and someone needs to take the fall and it won’t be Ozzie Newsome.
DID YOU KNOW?
That the Ravens record under John Harbaugh prior to Sunday’s debacle is:
- 57-10 when leading at halftime
- 63-10 when leading after 3 quarters
- 50-11 when scoring first
- 55-16 with a positive or even turnover ratio
- 31-1 when scoring 30 or more points
Joe Flacco deserved better. He put up solid numbers (19 of 31, 225 yards, 2 TD’s) despite a couple of drops in key situations…Justin Forsett is simply in a zone and his patience and burst are perfect for Gary Kubiak’s offense. His 106 yards took him over 1,000 yards on the season…Torrey Smith has come on strong as of late but his knee injury could set him back…Marlon Brown started strong and could have been a factor in the game had he not left with a concussion…Jacoby Jones averaged 33 yards on 4 returns but choked on his last return when good field position was critical…Terrell Suggs was outstanding in run support and added a sack.
Steve Smith, Sr. seemed out of sorts and in a fog. One catch for 2 yards! Really?…The offense was 3 for 7 in the red zone and 1 for 2 in goal-to-go situations and it cost the Ravens crucial points…Against a less than accomplished center, even without the properly dialed up blitzes, you might think that Haloti Ngata and Brandon Williams could collapse the pocket a bit more and move Rivers towards the edge rushers. They failed…Sam Koch’s only punt was awful, a 39-yard dud that sailed out of bounds…Lardarius Webb’s descent continues. He’s just an average player these days with an elite paycheck…CJ Mosley and Courtney Upshaw trying to cover Antonio Gates was laughable. Roll Tide must’ve had a flat tire…
The Ravens had 14 penalties for 98 yards at home. Let that sink in for a moment…Matt Elam, juggle the letters of his last name a bit and it spells his performance – lame! Sending him on a blitz is just a waste of a defender but he sure can tackle receivers well when they don’t have the ball…Hey Anthony Levine and Danny Gorrer, Mister Softie called and they’re looking for a new head for their trucks…. Oh and Elvis Dumervil, Lens Crafters called. Your new eyeglasses are ready. How do you line up in the neutral zone three times in one game?
Facing a 3rd and 4 from the Chargers 13 with 2:32 to go and the Chargers without a timeout the Ravens opted to throw it (incomplete) taking only 5 seconds off the clock and essentially handing the Chargers a free timeout in the form of the two-minute warning. Making matters worse the Ravens lined up in a fake field goal formation with Owen Daniels flanked wide left but aborted the play taking a timeout. Why waste the timeout? That T.O. could have used productively after Rivers carved them like a fish on the ensuing drive. Just take the delay of game and kick a 36-yard field goal instead of a 31-yarder.
Final stroke of ugly — the Ravens front office needs to take a hard look at themselves for the mess that they call a secondary. Not one of their top corners (Jimmy Smith, Lardarius Webb, Asa Jackson) have ever remained consistently available due to health or PED issues yet the team did nothing to find quality depth. They’re now stuck with a converted safety, a scrap heap corner and a struggling Webb to cover Mike Wallace, Jarvis Landry and Brian Hartline in Miami. Good luck with that!
THE MEGAN FOX
Megan is unfortunately on vacation this week but sends her regards…