Football is known as a “game of inches”; but in Sunday’s 24-23 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, three yards were the deciding factor. It was the Eagles ability to get one, and the Baltimore Ravens inability to get two yards, that ultimately decided the final outcome. In the closing minutes of the game, the Eagles orchestrated a drive that was capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Michael Vick. Vick, who was knocked down on virtually every offensive play he ran, overcame several Eagle turnovers, and ended the game with 371 yards passing.
With 1:46 left on the clock and two time outs remaining, Baltimore was unable to convert two chances for two yards (both passes), to extend their drive. The Ravens. who led 17-7 at halftime, were only able to muster two long Justin Tucker field goals in the second half. Tucker, who tied a Ravens record, with a 56-yard field goal earlier in the game, never got a chance to win it as the Ravens were unable to get the ball across mid-field and into Tucker’s range.
The Ravens game plan on Sunday was less aggressive then that of week 1. They hardly used their no-huddle offensive, and they completely abandoned the run in the second half of the game. Ray Rice, had a successful day with 16 rushes for 99 yards rushing, but the offense went three-and-out three times in the second half, and all but two of those plays were passes.
The offensive line didn’t protect Joe Flacco in the second half has he was hurried and/or sacked frequently; but, as bad as the offense was, the biggest disappointment was the Ravens defense. They allowed Vick to torch the Ravens for 371 yards and the Ravens secondary could not contain TE Brent Celek, who caught 8 passes for 157 yards. The Ravens had a few bright spots as Tucker and Rice led the offense and OLB-Courtney Upshaw got the start and pressured Vick all game long. With a less-mobile QB, he may have even recorded a sack or two.
Up next, are the 1-1 New England Patriots. This game will be a re-match of last seasons AFC Championship Game; but, when the dust settles and Sundays game is over, one of these pre-season favorites will be 1-2. That’s hard to imagine, but both teams have tougher schedules this year, based on last season’s success…welcome to the NFL, the ultimate league of parity. The Ravens must make certain it’s not them, who falls to 1-2. To do so, they must bring back the hurry-up offense and use the shotgun formation that worked so well in week #1. Let’s all hope the Ravens offense still has a few tricks up their sleeve and they can rebound this week at home.