Embarrassed and Deflated Ravens
Losing in Pittsburgh is never easy, but it is hard to imagine a more devastating night for Ravens fans. Tonight the Ravens showed everyone what they are, an above average team that is still rebuilding. The Ravens 5-2 start is a distant memory at this point, a flickering of fools gold in a pond of despair. The Ravens have a favorable schedule and a winning record is likely. However, Baltimore put themselves in last place in the best division in football. At this point a playoff spot is far from assured and the Ravens have major problems to address if they want to be contenders. Baltimore’s balloon has popped and John Harbaugh must start to stitch his team back together.
The Ravens got off to a brilliant start. Joe Flacco found Torrey Smith for a gorgeous touchdown toss. The Ravens sacked Big Ben 3 times in a row. Like the 5-2 start it was nothing more than misleading excitement. A Lorenzo Taliaferro fumble sparked a horrible chain of events. A bad Joe Flacco interception turned Hienz field into an inferno of terror, the Ravens slowly cooked until they completely melted down.
The Ravens loss exposed two awful truths. The first problem is an offensive line that struggles against the simplest of stunts. How many times did a defender come flying free through the line in the past two games. When uncovered the guards are clueless as to what they should do. Baltimore’s tackles struggle with speed rushers. The run game may be improved but they still stink in short yardage situations. When Flacco gets hit repeatedly he makes rash decisions. The offensive line is improved but still a major problem area.
The second major problem is the Ravens free safety position. I understand that Jimmy Smith’s injury hurt the Ravens but the safety play was horrendous. Darian Stewart just does not understand his role. On one TD in particular he made me mad. He was responsible for the deep middle third of the field in cover 3. Nobody went to the deep middle. His job therefore was to read the play and help Ladarius Webb on the outside. He diagnosed this slowly and took a hopeless angle.
The Ravens showed no sense of urgency, they took their good old time. They squandered every opportunity. The Ravens played an embarrassing game of football, in the biggest moment of the season. There is no getting around the fact that the Ravens had a bad game. The referees were horrible but that is a conversation for another article.
The Ravens are simply not a team that can win close games. The Ravens have major problems. With a favorable upcoming schedule, Baltimore can turn this season into something positive. It is clear though, that they have a ton of work to do.