The Ravens can’t afford to blow late game leads this season

BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 02: Michael Crabtree
BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 02: Michael Crabtree /

The Baltimore Ravens blew a number of late game leads last season. That can’t happen this year if they want to make the playoffs

The Baltimore Ravens defense was solid last year. They ranked inside of the top 10 in points, rushing yards, passing yards, and total yards allowed. It was a major step above an injury ridden 2015 season. However, even with this solid performance, there was still one major problem. The defense blew leads at the end of games.

The Ravens blew 3 major leads last season. All which were in the 4th quarter. Week 4 against the Raiders, week 6 against the Giants and week 16 against the Steelers. If it weren’t for an Eagles missed 2-point conversion, it would have happened a 4th time.

If the Ravens win one of these games they would have made the playoffs. At 9-7 they would have owned the tiebreaker over the Dolphins for the #6 seed. But that wasn’t the case. The Ravens were forced to watch the playoffs from home.

The offense was inconsistent last season, but they put the Ravens in a position to win down the stretch. Prevent defense and lack of pass rush then let opposing teams drive down the field and score right after. It was a painful thing to watch.

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This season has to be different and it will be. It’s clear that this is a major issues and Ozzie and company have already addressed it this offseason.

How They’ve Addressed It

Defense, defense and more defense. That’s what has been the focus for the Ravens this offseason. Through free agency and the draft, they have loaded up on talent to make this defense even better than it was last season.

A secondary that featured Shareece Wright and Jerraud Powers now has Tony Jefferson, Brandon Carr and Marlon Humphrey. Not to mention, Ozzie Newsome spent 3 of his 4 picks in the draft on front-seven players. Tim Williams, Tyus Bowser and Chris Wormley all come in to help the pass rush this season.

Ozzie has been on a mission this offseason and that’s apparent. The Ravens have been a team built on defense and they want to get back to that style of play. We know it’s been their bread and butter in the past. The 2000 defense allowed only 10.3 points on the way to a Super Bowl win.

The Bottom Line

Giving up those 4th quarter leads had to do with a number of factors, but it all stems from the defense. I love the moves the Ravens have made this offseason. It’s turned this unit from a great to elite. I think we will see miles of difference towards the end of games. Instead of playing preventive, they will be looking to end games. That’s the kind of killer instinct that this defense needs this season.

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A Super Bowl caliber team can’t be blowing leads late in the 4th quarter. As we saw last season, it can be the difference between making the playoffs. For the Ravens, they can’t afford to miss the playoffs for a 3rd straight season.