Two weeks ago it was Cam Cameron’s fault that Ray Rice didn’t get the ball enough. Last week it was a depleted defense that couldn’t come up with a stop in the waning seconds. What is it this week?
The interception Joe Flacco threw at the goal line was the last straw. You’re looking at making it a 10-7 game at the half. A 10-10 game after the ensuing Tucker FG. Instead, 17-0. Giving Peyton Manning seven extra points is never a good idea. It wasn’t like the defender had to even make a great play. Flacco pretty much stared at him, and lobbed it over there with no conviction. This miscue completely changed the game. The defense came out strong holding Peyton manning to only 10 points. Then the momentum shifted and teams demeanor changed to one of a lost football team.
I saw something I haven’t seen around here in a long time. The Ravens broke. They snapped. Ultimately, they quit. A few things tell me that this team has mentally checked out.
1. This group of players hasn’t been pushed around like this in the John Harbaugh era. This is easily the lowest of lows for the Ravens since he has taken over. They always have had a way of rallying in the face of adversity. Have a bad game, rebound with a good one. All of sudden, their best isn’t good enough anymore. Everything they try to do is resulting in failure. When you’re best isn’t good enough, you’ve already accepted defeat. Accepted that this is who you are. Can’t beat anybody.
2. No ones head is in the game anymore. Someone please take the red challenge flag away from Harbaugh. He is the worst. He challenged the Torrey Smith catch that wasn’t when 3/4 of his body landed out of bounds. What is he watching? Is someone telling him in his ear to challenge these ridiculously easy calls? Then, Ravens players took the field after receiving a punt, before the play was even over! They started coming on the field while the return was still going on resulting in a penalty! Who does this? A team not paying attention. Players with their heads in the clouds. The defense couldn’t even stop a run when they knew it was coming. 10 straight Broncos runs, and 13 runs out of 14 plays en route to a field goal after a 10 minute drive. Three straight games where the defense is completely absent in the fourth quarter. They are just out there going through the motions like it’s a no pads practice.
3. Emotions are taking over. Emotions get in the way of playing smart football. Ed Reed seen slamming his helmet down multiple times after Cary Williams gave up on a TD pass to Eric Decker. Anquan Boldin took a cheap shot at a defensive player late in the game. Not even close to the play and he blind sided a guy after the whistle. That’s not Ravens football. That’s not classy what so ever. A good coach would have taken Boldin by the face mask and yanked him down to the bench where he should have been for the rest of the game. That is unacceptable behavior by anyone. Boldin is not special.
I’m pretty much un-inspired by everything this team did in the second half of that loss. The hanging heads. The unsportsmanlike play. The stupid challenges. The lack of doing anything on defense. The way the o-line pretty much let Denver have two free runs at Flacco to end the game.
If it doesn’t feel like the Ravens earned a playoff berth, it’s because they didn’t “earn” it. Better to be lucky than good. Lucky that Pittsburgh lost a few games they normally wouldn’t have.