Pulling It Together
I’m finally back to being in a mindset to write about this team. How can you screw up two games in a row, in an eerily similar way? It was penalties, terrible short pass defense, not capitalizing on turnovers and bad plays, it was like Foxborough all over again. Flacco was in and out, the receivers were inconsistent, and all in all, it was a great snapshot of the season so far. Inconsistent with some encouraging signs but when it comes down to the important things, they fall short.
First off, the penalties on that last drive cost the team the game, with no argument possible. While I have to agree that knocking Ocho on his ass and knocking his helmet off was great, Ray Lewis did it. One of the greatest linebackers of all time, known for his discipline and seriousness during a game, made one of the most boneheaded plays I have ever seen out of him. I also think that the refs were being way too flag-happy in terms of pass interference on that drive. The Ravens had 10 penalties in the whole game, which is too many, and most of them were on defense.
With a defense that has so much talent and has always been so good, they’ve been dominated by the smallest possible things an offense can do. Shovel passes, QB scrambles and other short-yardage plays have turned into 20 yard gains, and anytime there’s a deep ball thrown, I’m biting my nails that one of these cornerbacks brought in during the offseason don’t push the receiver over and get called for interference. They gave up more than 100 yards to Cedric Benson. Next week they get to defend against the best running back in the NFL, by far. Should be fun.
I know all this may sound harsh on a team over .500 who lost games to very solid squads, but both of those games should have been wins. Coming out flat against a division rival is unacceptable, especially with a team as good as this one. Coming out flat in a game that could have huge playoff implications is unacceptable with a team as good as this one. And coming out flat and staying flat for the whole game after a heart-breaking loss is unacceptable.
Next week it’s at 5-0 Minnesota. Then it’s 5-0 Denver. Then it’s at the Bengals. Time for this team to step it up, or they’ll disappoint themselves, their fans and everyone involved with the organization. Usually I’m 1oo% behind this team, but losing two games in a row the way they did is just terrible.