Greg Roman’s play-calling should be questioned after Ravens’ loss to Giants
Last season, the narrative for the Baltimore Ravens was being crippled by injuries. This season, it seems to be failing to close out games.
The Ravens are 3-3 but could easily be 6-0 having blown leads against the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, and now, the New York Giants. After Week 6, Baltimore became the 39th team in NFL history to hold a double-digit lead in each of its first six games, and it is the only one not to have a winning record.
Baltimore’s defense has taken much of the criticism for the team’s fourth-quarter meltdowns, but the offense arguably deserves just as much heat. So far, 40 percent of the Ravens’ fourth-quarter drives have ended in a turnover, whether because of an interception or fumble.
If people are wondering why the Ravens keep blowing big leads, that certainly factors into the equation.
On Sunday against the Giants, Baltimore yet again looked like its own worst enemy as the offense sputtered in the second half.
Baltimore’s first offensive drive of the third quarter ended in a field goal, but it shouldn’t have.
All game long, the Ravens feasted on a lenient Giants run defense that gave up over 200 rushing yards to Baltimore by the end of the game.
At the start of the third, Baltimore arrived at New York’s end zone with the rushing attack in full force, but instead of putting the ball in Lamar Jackson’s or Kenyan Drake’s hands, Romans drew up three consecutive passing plays, all of which fell flat.
Greg Roman and Ravens’ offense shoot themselves in the foot in Week 6
The Ravens had to settle for a field goal, though Roman’s play-calling deserves to be scrutinized for that sequence alone.
After the game, John Harbaugh was asked if he regrets not running the ball at least once in that situation and he replied:
"“Anytime it doesn’t work, you want to go back and look at what you could’ve done. We had opportunities with those passes to score, as well. It goes both ways.”"
Baltimore did score on a passing touchdown at the end of the third quarter to give themselves a 10-point lead, yet the team’s final two offensive drives ended in turnovers.
One was a sloppy Lamar Jackson pass picked off by Julian Love. With a three-point lead, Jackson tried to force a pass downfield rather than throw the ball away, and the Giants would score the game-winning touchdown on the following possession.
Then, with a little less than two minutes to go, Jackson was stripped by Kayvon Thibodeaux in his own half, and the Giants recovered the fumble to effectively secure the victory.
Receiver drops, pre-snap penalties, and Jackson’s poor quarterback play all contributed to the offense’s breakdown in the second half of the game, which in truth places the blame on several members other than Greg Roman.
Baltimore still sits at the top of the AFC North, but Roman and the Ravens must find a solution to fix the team’s late-game turnover-prone performances before it becomes a nasty habit.