I was asked by Chris to pinch hit on the game analysis today so I’m giving my own spin to it.
Dime Coverage is simple enough, it’s ten thoughts I had about today’s game. Hope you enjoy it.
I feel like we’ve been here before. Probably because we have.
The Baltimore Ravens held the lead into the Fourth Quarter only to let the opposition back into the game and eventually fall to defeat.
Once again the Ravens squander an opportunity to close out the AFC North title.
Once again the defense falters in crunch time.
Today’s game also marks the first time the team has lost consecutive games since 2009 and it snaps a 15 game winning streak of taking the next game after a loss.
I’m sure you can feel the frustration coming through the screen. It’s tough to feel so down about a team that’s 9-4 but it feels like the Ravens let another one get away this week.
More thoughts below and I promise to stay as upbeat as I can.
- First off, I must credit the Redskins for making enough plays to notch their fourth straight win and to keep things very interesting in a mediocre NFC Eastern division. But, I can’t get past the fact that the Ravens helped blow this one. Baltimore was up eight with under a minute to go in regulation, Haloti Ngata’s big splash had just sent cover boy Robert Grifffin III to the sidelines for the afternoon, and most of us fans in purple had to feel good about Kirk Cousins coming out to direct the Redskins offense. So of course Cousins directs a game tying drive and then waltzes into the endzone on a draw for a two point conversion to tie the game with under thirty seconds remaining. Unbelievable. I should hardly be surprised as the previous week Charlie Batch turned back the clock to 1998 to split the season series. When it comes to the 2012 Ravens, expect the unexpected.
- Joe Flacco looked much better on the stat sheet but was turnover prone once again. He was excellent in the first half as he delivered three touchdown strikes to help put the Ravens up 21-14 at halftime. His second to Anquan Boldin showed a good look off of the Safety and a perfectly thrown pass to Boldin in stride. The second half was a different story as two turnovers by Flacco (fumble,interception) led to Washington points. Flacco could have used better protection, especially from Michael Oher at times, but he also needs to be aware of blitzers and protect the ball better. Poor protection schemes and adjustments caused problems for the offense as they could only muster seven points after the break. The interception proved costly, as the offense had rushed themselves from their own 35 to the Washington 11. A score there or any points helps keep the momentum. The question is who do you blame on that play; Cameron for going empty backfield, Flacco for not sliding the coverage and recognizing 6 on 5? I’ll go with both.
- The Baltimore ground attack was formidable today as Ray Rice had 120 yds. on 20 carries while Bernard Pierce had 53 yds. on 8 attempts. They combined for about 6 yds a carry and let’s hope that the rush attack continues to be a point of emphasis moving forward.
- Torrey Smith had one catch on three targets. The Ravens need to find a way to take advantage of speed burners like Smith and Jacoby Jones (o catches – 1 target) in the offensive game plan. And that means something besides a post pattern 30 yards downfield. It’s tough watching opponents week after week utilize the middle of the field with crossing routes and huge amounts of YAC after the grab.
- Congratulations to Anquan Boldin on surpassing 10,000 receiving yards for his career. He caught three for 78 and two touchdowns.
- The defense was equally as inconsistent as they got gashed with big plays early and finished surrendering 420 yards of Total Offense to Washington. It was also their second straight game where they failed to protect a lead in the Fourth Quarter. They had trouble bringing down rookie runner Alfred Morris (23 – 122 yds) as the tackling was sloppy at times. Credit Morris’ will but this wasn’t the first time tackling has been an issue with this group.
- That said, did anyone expect guys like Josh Bynes, Albert Mclellan, and Chris Johnson to get major minutes today.
- Arthur Jones and Paul Kruger continue to emerge as part of the solution for this defense. Each registered 1 1/12 sacks and did a nice job helping to contain Griffin on the ground. Speaking of which the defense continued to pound away on the slight Griffin until Ngata delivered what would be the final blow.
- The Ravens continue to keep the trainers busy this season. Marshal Yanda left with a right ankle injury in the Fourth, and Jameel McClain went down with a neck injury. (x-rays were negative) The status for both starters is undetermined at this time. Other injuries to Ray Rice (hip pointer) and Vonta Leach (ankle) were not as serious as both played to the end. Even still the list continues to grow of players who have been knocked out at one point or another this season.
- A few of Coach Harbaugh’s decisions puzzled me today. I’m only guessing that the fake punt attempt was to draw the Redskins offsides but it cost them a time-out. I was hoping that the wasted TO would not come back to bite us as it did last week against Pittsburgh. I also don’t quite understand what he planned to accomplish at the end of the second quarter. The Ravens had the ball around their own Twenty and decided to run a Draw and then call time out. Wouldn’t you want to try and push the ball upfield? The final result didn’t mean much as they took a knee into the locker room up seven. Again the Ravens had the ball with less than thirty seconds and the game now tied. This time Harbaugh played it totally safe and took his chances in the overtime. We know how that worked out. I just don’t see why you wouldn’t a take a shot or two with timeouts in your pocket to at least move into field goal range.
- (EXTRA POINT) The Ravens were helped greatly by losses from both the Steelers and the Bengals today. Baltimore is still in good shape to take the division and at the very least will be home for the next two. However the #2 seed and first round bye appear incredibly unlikely at this stage.