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Ravens Fail to Finish…AGAIN!

Giants win 24-20
Photo Credit: Phil Hoffmann, Baltimore Ravens
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The Ravens fall to the Giants 24-20 at MetLife Stadium, dropping their record to (3-3) yet still atop the AFC North by virtue of the head-to-head advantage the team enjoys (for now) over the Bengals. But after 6 games, a substantive sample size, we still don’t know who this Ravens team is. And maybe they don’t know either.

“Making the plays that need to be made, and not making the errors that cost you an opportunity to win the game. We’ll regroup, we’ll go to work, and we’re going to find ourselves as a football team. That’s what we have to do right now: find ourselves as a football team. We have an opportunity to be a very good football team. We can be as good as we want to be and decide to be, and we’re going to go to work with everything we’ve got to get that done.” ~ John Harbaugh after the game on Sunday.

So they need to find themselves, eh? And while the rescue team is out there searching for an identity, maybe they should also look for a few players willing to play four full quarters. How does a team out-gain another 406 to 238 and still lose? How does a team rush for 211 yards 8.8 yards per carry and still lose? How does a team bottle up the league’s second best running back and still manage to give up 24 points to the league’s 23rd-ranked offense?

The Ravens aren’t a bad team mind you. They are actually a good team but one that obviously lacks a killer instinct and one that in this particular game beat itself with costly and untimely penalties and carelessness with the football thanks in large part to their franchise quarterback.

The Good

The Ravens rushed for 211 yards on 24 carries…Mark Andrews hauled in 7 passes for 106 yards and a score. It marks the 9th time Andrews has eclipsed the 100-yard mark in his career, tying him with Mark Clayton for the franchise lead…The Ravens offensive line did a tremendous job on their pulls and traps, finishing off defenders in space to give the team’s RB’s and Lamar Jackson, more than ample space to navigate…Ronnie Stanley looks like he’s close to being a full go, forced to take more snaps as a result of the heel injury suffered by Morgan MosesJosh Oliver made a couple athletic catches on off-target throws from Lamar. He nearly had a third although the catch was overturned. Great effort on the tail end of a garbage throw.

The Ravens interior defensive linemen collectively had their best game of the season with very productive contributions from Justin Madubuike, Calais Campbell, Broderick Washington and the rookie Travis JonesMalik Harrison had a solid outing with 5 tackles all at or near the line of scrimmage…On whole the defense allowed just 83 yards rushing (2.7 YPC).

 

The Bad

DeMarcus Robinson and Andrews had key drops. Robinson’s miscue came at the 1:43 mark of the 4th quarter and could have provided a mild spark to the team’s 2-minute offense. Instead the drop set up disaster on the next play when Lamar was strip-sacked by Kayvon Thibodeaux. Game over! Andrews drop occurred at the 1:53 mark of the second quarter with the Ravens facing a 3rd-and-10 at the Giants 16. Had he made the catch it very well could have given the Ravens a fresh set of downs at the Giants 5 yard line…

Odafe Oweh and Kyle Hamilton, first round picks from 2021 and 2022 respectively, just don’t impact the game in a consistently positive way. That’s a lot of draft capital invested in players who aren’t performing to the level of their draft status. Mix in the inconsistencies of Patrick Queen and that’s three No. 1 picks that for the moment look like misses…Entering the game the Giants converted just 35.9% of their third down opportunities. In this game the Giants converted 7 of 14 third-down chances, including attempts from 14 and 12 yards from the sticks. On the 14-yard conversion Marlon Humphrey got twisted up showing bad technique and on the 12 yard connection at the 5:20 mark of the second quarter, Hamilton was so flat-footed it looked like his shoes were tied together…Three plays later Wan’Dale Robinson scored on a well-executed pick play from the Ravens 5 yard line. It’s a play that the Ravens are quite vulnerable to far too regularly.

As great as Tucker is, he hasn’t developed a touch when the Ravens try to hit a kickoff high in an attempt to force a return and allow their coverage unit to bring the ball carrier down deep in the opponent’s territory. Immediately after taking a 7-0 lead the Ravens employed such a strategy and it backfired as the Giants returned it to their 47. Ten plays later it was a tie ballgame. If you can’t execute the play, just kick it through the end zone!… The Ravens had 9 snaps inside the red zone. Only two were runs (11, 2) despite running the ball at an 8.8 YPC clip. There were 6 incomplete passes and then the 12 yard scoring strike to Andrews. Roman had the running game pumping on all cylinders and abandoned it at the most important times.

The Ugly

This was the third consecutive poor performance from Lamar. Over the course of those games he has a 68.75 passer rating. His decision to throw the game-altering interception was reminiscent of a preseason rookie mistake. You have to throw that pass away and try to manage field position when your opponent isn’t exactly an offensive juggernaut – a team that would have been pinned deep in their territory with under 3 minutes to play. Lamar just hasn’t shown very good game awareness during his last three outings. Taking his team out of field goal range in the first quarter was another of his mental blunders. He still flirts with the play clock far too often and the Ravens were fortunate that a violation didn’t take Andrews’ touchdown grab off the board. Lamar’s passing was wildly inconsistent. He had an opportunity to put Justin Tucker in a better position with a successful 3rd-down swing pass to Kenyan Drake in Q1 but bounced it at Drake’s feet. The ensuing FGA from 56 yards caroming off the left upright. Lamar also missed an open Devin Duvernay in the end zone. On another attempt to Duvernay, a slant from the left slot, Lamar threw another bounce pass. Just an ugly performance from a player seeking the league’s biggest contract ever. Some thought that Lamar’s price was only going to go up as the season progressed. If these last three games are indicative of what’s to come, Lamar is losing money each week.

The Ravens were penalized 10 times for 74 yards. The offensive struggled with the Giants’ pre-snap movements across the defensive front leading to four false starts, two each from Morgan Moses and Patrick Ricard. They then had a very costly penalty on a successful 3rd-and-1 sneak by Lamar at the 3:06 mark of the 4th that was negated when Drake covered Ronnie Stanley on the left edge. On the next play disaster would unfold.

 

The Ravens relative dearth of wide receiver talent was on full display. Beyond the injured Rashod Bateman and Duvernay, the rest are JAGs – insignificant players who just don’t impact games at all. The Ravens WR’s caught a combined 5 passes for 45 yards…A.J. Klein’s welcome to Baltimore moment took place at the 0:18 mark of Q2. He delivered a bone-headed hit out of bounds that gave the Giants the ball at their own 49 with 8 seconds left in the half. A more accomplished offense probably gets off a FGA before the half. Fortunately, Daniel Jones and the Giants offense failed…With the Ravens leading 13-7 at the 5:03 mark of Q3, the Ravens stopped Saquon Barkley short of the first down mark at the Ravens 40. While the Giants were deciding whether to go for the 4th down attempt, some pushing and shoving took place on the field during which Oweh was flagged 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct. It gave the Giants a fresh set of downs on the Ravens 25. A solid red zone stand minimized the damage to a field goal.

The Margot Robbie Award

Kenyan Drake looked a bit like the player we’ve seen in the past when he wore the colors of the Dolphins and Cardinals. Escorted by some very nicely executed blocking up front, Drake had 119 yards on just 10 carries – TEN, including a 30 yard scamper for the game’s first points.

 

Final Thought

During the height of the Ravens v. Steelers rivalry, the Flacco years, there was a time when the Steelers would win close games late in said games – games that the Ravens were in control of but let slip away. Legend has it that some outside of the Steelers locker room at The Bank overheard Mike Tomlin imploring his team to play hard in the second half despite their halftime deficit. He ended his pep talk by reminding his team that the Ravens don’t play four quarters.

Sound familiar?

9 Responses

  1. Well said Mr. Lombardi. Let’s start at the top and work our way down. This team has issues. It’s nice to be a friendly coach but at what expense? With all the mental mistakes, miscues, and softness, where is this team headed? Time to make some changes. Coaches lead the team and have been here long enough. Sometimes change is good.

  2. Harbaugh’s old school offensive philosophy is obviously not working in the pass oriented NFL! But, change and adjusting appear to be anathema to the HC, so don’t expect different results! Lamar’s real forte is running the ball, but they seem determined to prove that he is a prototype pocket passer despite the fact that he’s obviously not! I keep stressing how much better Flacco and the offense performed when Gary Kubiak was OC, but Harbaugh wasn’t consulted about his hiring and he brought his own assistants and, apparently answered to no one! In the final analysis, if Harbaugh doesn’t change, it’s just a matter of time until he’s…..gone! Sean Payton is waiting in the wings……

  3. AJ Klein should go the way of EJ Korvettes. Get rid of the bum and put everyone else on notice that if you can’t line up and if you don’t know the count you will be unemployed. That’s how you establish pro football discipline. While your at it clear out the training room of the eternally injured. Maybe Harbaugh should read When Pride Still Mattered by coach Lombardi. I believe there is a whole chapter about getting rid of the culture of losing on a football team in there.

  4. Sounds like nonsense….Ravens always played 4 quarters. …until choke job in NE in 2014. Since then. …. Not so much

  5. This current dreck is organizational failure. No money spent on WRs, pass rushers or LBs and plenty of draft misses. LaClownfora was right for once….Elias running circles around EDC. EDC inherited quality QB on cheap contract and has failed to support him.

  6. Sick and Tired of watching the same 💩💩💩. This team should be 5-1 atleast yet bc all parties involved, 💩💩 coaching , poor execution by players and FAILURE by Ravens organization to get Lamar &this offense a damn no.1 WR!! So when Bateman injury prone butt inevitable goes down the offense isn’t just 8&89 show which isn’t sustainable!! On a weekly basis! Greg Roman refusing to run the ball/Lamar designed runs in RZ are unacceptable. When the only passing option is 89&every defense know it

  7. As I read the comments, the usual “string up Harbs” resounds. I did not read that in the article. What I did see was some good and a lot of bad an ug. The lotta bad/ug here is due to the Ravens putting together the opposite of what you want. They did all the wrong things at all the right times. Hard to do but they did it! The Rosetta stone here is the QB. When Lamar sucks, and he did, the team will fail and does. In the great Patriot years was it Belichick or was it Brady? I think Belichick is an excellent coach, but those rings were just as much or more on that drive, spirit, and demanding “you play better, prepare better” from somebody that actually plays. Did you notice Mike Evans thanking Brady when they had won the SB? So coaching is a big deal but just a part of the whole.

    1. My guess is that he would have to “lose” the team similar to Brian Billick who was fired after receiving a lucrative 5 year extension of his contract! And, from the rumblings being reported, that’s a distinct possibility!

Comments are closed.

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