First we’ll start with the news: Steven “Not Matt Stover” Hauschka has been released. The kicker has been struggling and has missed two key kicks, one that would have won the Vikings game, and one that would have gotten the Ravens within one possession against the Bengals. The fans have lost all faith in him, the media had and finally, the coaches had. I’ve always defended him, but missing again last night was just too much. I said on WNST’s live game chat that I had supported him for a while, but after his consistent missing the last few weeks, I was off the bandwagon. I also commented that it seemed like he had an inconsistent kicking motion and seemed afraid to line up for a kick with his job on the line. Once you take a kicker’s confidence, similar to a relief pitcher in baseball, a shooter in basketball or a goalkeeper in soccer, their level of play falls, almost 100% of the time. It’s sad to see him go, but it was time for a change. The most likely candidate to be brought in is Mike Nugent, former Jets kicker and star at Ohio State. He’s got an incredible foot, but has always been inconsistent. Whoever is signed will be announced on Wednesday.
That game last night made me fall asleep, I’m not going to lie. I saw the score on SportsCenter, and really didn’t care. After seeing them play so lazily and uninspired, I pretty much wrote the game off as a legitimate contest. Ray Rice showed up like he does every game, and that was really the only plus you can take from the offense last night. The defense had a shutout, but it’s the Browns, and Brady Quinn is just horrible, so it’s expected. Haroki Nakamura broke his leg, that’s just dandy. There goes our depth at safety and a very good special teams player. Joe Flacco’s numbers were impressive, but again, it’s the Browns. He should have put up at least a touchdown and many more yards. I did like that Cam Cameron seemed to emphasize the power running game more, but it did seem like the team did not know what to do if yards were being gained slowly. They seemed not used to gaining it all in small chunks.
Again, this is all from one half of watching, and seeing some stats. Not a great judgement of the game, but when it’s that boring, does it really deserve being judged? In every game, even every win, the Ravens have started slow (ex. Broncos win, only 6-0 at halftime). They need to score first multiple times to beat the Colts, especially after seeing the incredible 2nd half comeback they had against the Pats on Sunday night. If not, it might be a very long Sunday afternoon.