Can Ravens Bounce Back vs. Rivals?

Street Talk Can Ravens Bounce Back vs. Rivals?

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Perception is Reality

REALITY: The Baltimore Ravens continue to deal with crushing injuries.

Perception: Brandon Williams did not make the trip to London and he was missed. Corey Grant and Leonard Fournette ran through holes that Williams might have clogged. The Ravens paid Williams this offseason because he is one of the best and they needed him to anchor the D. And how we see what could happen with him not there. But how long will he not be there? The only thing we have heard from Coach John Harbaugh is that it is not a long-term injury. But we heard the same about Breshad Perriman’s his rookie year and we saw how that turned out. Hopefully John learned his lesson on that one.

With games against the Steelers and Raiders on the horizon, Williams will be needed.

Not having Marshal Yanda was killer on Sunday too. Joe Flacco did not have the protection that he needed and it showed.

Brent Urban got injured Sunday and will miss the rest of the season. That puts 17 players on injured reserve, two more players on IR than anyone else in the league, according to ESPN. Our own Brian McFarland reports that the Ravens have 81 players on their Salary Cap (53-man roster, 16 on IR, 10 on practice squad), and that is five more than the next closest team. It’s also more than they had all of last year, and it’s only Week 3.

The question may not be how good can the Ravens be, but will they be able to field a team for a whole season?

REALITY: Flacco threw another interception (two, actually) and now has thrown one in nine straight games.

Perception: I have been a big supporter of Joe Flacco. When you look around the league, Flacco stacks up as a Top 10 QB. When you look at the success he has had over his career, you could say that he is a very good quarterback. In 141 games, Flacco is 85-56, has thrown for over 33,000 yards, has 185 touchdowns, but has 121 interceptions. The playoffs are where he has earned his money, going 10-5 with 25 TDs and 10 INTs and most importantly a Super Bowl win and a Super Bowl MVP award.

There are not many QBs in the league that have that kind of resume… but that is in the past. We need to look at now and the future, and right now, Flacco stinks. Since Flacco led the Ravens to a championship in 2012, he has thrown 70 TD and has 61 INTs. That is NOT good.

It doesn’t get much worse for a quarterback then what Flacco did on Sunday morning. 8-for-18 for just 28 yards, no touchdowns, and two INTs. And as Lorin Cox said… those 28 yards were all receivers. Flacco had -1 yards in the air. That is just awful. So awful that you can’t even comprehend that a starting NFL QB did that.

Flacco admitted after the Week 2 win against the Browns that he is not fully healthy. Flacco has been struggling with injuries over the last few seasons, and missed all of training camp and preseason due to back issues, but he wouldn’t even want to use that as an excuse. Those things happen, and if you are on the field, then you are responsible for your play. If you are hurt, then sit and let someone else do it.

Should the Ravens let someone else lead this team while he rests his back? I guess we’ll find out by how he plays Sunday.

REALITY: It’s Steelers Week in Baltimore.

Perception: The Ravens were not going undefeated, so it really doesn’t matter if they lost by 37 or 1 – it’s just one game, during a week that saw a lot of things we didn’t predict. Steelers losing to the Bears? Broncos losing to Bills? Jets beating the Dolphins? Raiders losing to Washington?

Teams will have a bad day and it’s time to shake it off and beat up on someone else this week, and that team happens to be our arch-rival.

Pittsburgh leads the all-time series 25-21, but Baltimore has won four of the last five meetings. The Steelers are listed as 2.5-point favorites for this game in Charm City, after both teams lost last week.

The Ravens don’t get blown out often, but when John Harbaugh’s team does, they usually bounce back, as they are 7-2 in games following losses by 20 or more points, according to ESPN. And if you need a little encouragement, the Ravens lost in Houston by 30 points in October 2012, but came back and won the Super Bowl a few months later.

Pittsburgh comes into Baltimore struggling on offense, ranking 21st in the league in yards, while the Ravens are 30th. Defensively, the Ravens were great the first two weeks of the season, but after laying an egg last week, they rank 20th in the league, while the Steelers D is 3rd in yards allowed.

The Ravens need to go back to what they did in Week 1 and Week 2 with a concentration on running the ball effectively. Can they do that without Yanda, and against a strong Steeler defense? If not, Baltimore will have to rely on Flacco to throw it downfield, and that hasn’t worked out so well this year.

But the records, stats, and past performances all get thrown out this week. It’s time to beat someone up and the toughest, most aggressive team will win this game. Let’s hope it’s Baltimore… 23-17.

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Joe Polek

About Joe Polek

Joe Polek was born in Baltimore, MD, and was raised in Bel Air, MD. He lived in Maine from 2001-2012, where he met his wife and had two daughters. He now resides in Columbia, SC where he has left TV/Radio and is the South Carolina Marketing Coordinator for Bojangles' Restaurants. Joe is a huge sports fan, but most importantly he lives and breathes Baltimore (and Maryland) sports. He routinely gets back to Baltimore for a Ravens and Orioles game once a year. A couple of his highlights were being at the final game at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium, and also sitting in left field for “2130”, and “2131” (Cal Ripken’s consecutive game streak). Find Joe on Twitter @JoePolek. More from Joe Polek


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