The only cure for a “Case of the Mondays” is having such an awful Sunday that, in contrast, Monday seems slightly less awful.
Thanks in large part to the Ravens’ putrid showing versus the Steelers in a 26-9 loss yesterday, this Monday is relatively less awful…
Ugh-fense Overall Grade: D for Definitely Disgusting
Joe Flacco was exactly who we’ve expected him to be on a weekly basis: a quarterback who is a check-down machine, can’t lead receivers, will make 1 or 2 awful passes right at a defender for a pick, and maybe squeeze in touchdown for good showing.
This was Flacco to a T this week.
And what’s worse is the offense reverted back to an uber-pass happy team, with an offensive line that can’t hold up long enough for a 3-step drop. Joe threw the ball 49 times.
FORTY. NINE. TIMES.
That should never be for a quarterback who is showing us that lackluster has become his norm.
Running Back: C+
I would’ve given this unit a better grade, had Alex Collins (9 carries, 81 yards) done a better job holding onto the ball. His fumble in the 2nd quarter proved costly, as the Steelers recovered on the Ravens 32, and turned it into 7 points, stretching the lead to 13-0.
Picking up on a trend, it seems Collins only fumbles on his attempt to grab extra yards, typically on his little spin move. He gets hit from behind with 1 hand on the ball and gets it knocked out. Unfortunately, he is the best back on this Ravens roster, hands down. If he wants to avoid the Harbaugh Dog House he needs to right the ship with the fumble issues, and fast.
Oh, and Terrance West/Buck Allen combined for 6 carries & 0 yards.
Again, back to the play selection on offense…
Wide Receiver/Tight End: C
Yea, these units didn’t wow anybody.
The tight ends, Ben Watson & Nick Boyle, combined for 10 receptions, 79 yards; however, all of Boyle’s work came in junk time. Watson in particular was able to rip down some great catches in heavy traffic. In one instance in the second half, Watson grabbed a pass with 2 defenders closing on him. The pass was low (shocking!) and the entire stadium believed Watson had dropped the pass… until he stood up with the ball in hand and the stadium erupted in ‘wow!’ and ‘how did he catch that?’ So on and so forth.
As for the wide receivers, we got a mixed bag once again. Mike Wallace reeled in a great touchdown, but also dropped a great deep ball thrown by Flacco (a rarity). Jeremy Maclin was relatively quiet again, catching 3 passes for 21 yards, while Breshad Perriman had a single 6-yard catch. I won’t blame him for the missed touchdown opportunity in the 3rd quarter, as Perriman was headed to the end zone with plenty of green in front of him, only to have Flacco throw behind him (shocking again!).
Camp caught 4 balls in junk time too. Woo hoo.
Offensive Line: D+
Ronnie Stanley was really the only player who I was impressed with, as he stood his ground for the better part of the game.
Otherwise? Joe Flacco was under constant duress, had no time to let routes develop, leading to forced throws, lack of production in the running game other than Collins getting to the edge, and really just exactly what you’d expect from a unit that’s comprised primarily of retreads and backups.
Then again, what can they really do at this point? The NFL is lacking in O Line talent, so this isn’t exactly an isolated issue. But it’s not like there’s available starters on the market.
Defense Overall Grade: C- for Can’t Clamp down _____
Defensive Line: C-
Le’Veon Bell is known to be an extremely patient back, if not the most patient in the league. He follows his blockers and waits for the hole. And with the lack of penetration and pressure from the Ravens line, he was able to literally slow down to a walk behind the line just waiting for a hole to open up.
All. Day. Long.
The Steelers managed 170 yards on 39 carries from the duo of Bell & Conner, and that all starts up front for the Ravens, who were flat out embarrassed.
C.J. Mosley led the Ravens in tackles (12) and added 2 tackles for losses.
Patrick Onwuasor had a phenomenal pursuit of Bell sweeping left behind his line, while Onwausor came around the far side, turned on the burners, and caught Bell by the ankles for the tackle.
Then there’s the outside linebackers, who couldn’t set an edge to save their life this week. Not once. Bell ran at them all day with ease, which is exactly why the Steelers opted to tote the rock as much as they did, while letting Ben throw much less than he could have (successfully too).
Defensive Backs: C
The narrative will be that the Ravens held the Steelers to 218 passing yards and only a single touchdown, while picking off Ben once, while holding Antonio Brown to 34 yards on 4 catches.
That’s all crap.
The reality is, the Steelers only tossed it up when they needed to, typically in 3rd and long situations, or in the drive following a Ravens score where the gap had been temporarily narrowed.
And just like the running game, they got exactly what they wanted when Ben dropped back. The only interception came when Jimmy Smith basically ripped the ball from Antonio Brown’s hands before it could be completed. Otherwise, Marlon Humphrey was owned by JuJu Smith-Schuster, Lardarius Webb looked flat out awful, and nobody really did anything noteworthy.
Oh, and only 2 passes defended by the Ravens secondary. Both via Eric Weddle. That tells you plenty right there.
Special Teams Overall Grade: B
Yes, Justin Tucker missed a 62-yard field goal attempt – and it wasn’t even close – but that was really the biggest issue. Sam Koch landed a few great punts, Tucker hit his other field goal, and coverage was great downfield on kickoff and punt teams.
Coaching Overall Grade: D
The Steelers had their way from the opening kickoff in all facets of the game. And guess what?
NO ADJUSTMENTS MADE.
In fact, the offense went pass heavy (49 pass attempts to 15 carries), despite only being down 2 scores for the better part of the game. They’ve never instilled a sense of urgency on the offense, regardless of who the offensive coordinator is, and while Flacco is the likely suspect for that (and partially to blame, no doubt), don’t you think in all these years of no hurry up, the head coach would’ve tried to help fix that issue, or hire folks to help push him?
On defense, Dean Pees stayed vanilla as always. Every once in a while we saw added pressure outside of his usual 4-man rush that was unable to get to Big Ben at all. When they did blitz? It was effective. So naturally, Pees kept it to a minimum, and a great QB in Roethlisberger had literally all day to sit in the pocket and toss it around.
This is not only the 2nd consecutive loss by the Ravens, but the 2nd game they’ve been easily out-coached.
Something needs to change, and fast, if they want to see another win this season…