I'll be doing a "quick hits" every Sunday night after the Ravens game.
1. A continuous trend with this Baltimore Ravens team is the ability to get many chances to win the game, only to disappoint. This game featured many such instances.
- With a 1st and goal from the FOUR YARD LINE, the Ravens could not get into the endzone. That's sad. Not only that, but on 4th and a yard the Ravens went for the touchdown only to surrender possession on downs. Had we taken the field goal there, the game would have been 3-3.
However, what the tv talkies failed to mention is that until the antics just before the end of the half, the Packers were stuck in bad field position and could barely get it out of their endzone. Starting the rest of the half on the half-yard line definitely helped in that regard.
- Before this, a Ravens punt was blocked, only to be touched by a Packer and not recovered, allowing the Ravens to pick it up and start over with 1st and 10, 10-20 yards farther upfield. A lucky bounce, giving the Ravens a second chance! What does Flacco and Co. do? Three and out.
- Daryl Smith let an interception pass through his fingers.
- The previously mentioned before the end of the half antics. Although I will say this: that gift to the Packers of 2 seconds back on the clock after the fumble recovery was BS. The commentators' reasoning behind the decision (paraphrasing): 'the defense isn't expected to know when the clock is running out...the smart decision would have been to go out of bounds, but he couldn't have known that...'.
That is not a reason to put 2 seconds back on the clock. Ultimately, this fumble recovery and subsequent return of 2 seconds on the clock decided the game.
2. The Ravens offense sucks. And there are plenty of people to blame. A short list and analysis. In a general order of faultiness (making up words with my second post wooo).
- Gino Gradkowski, Center, and the Offensive line: Not only did he get called for at least 1 penalty, but there were several times where the Packers rushed guys up the middle and Gino blocked nobody. For these reasons, he gets a special mention, even though the offensive line was its usual below-average self. Flacco had a rough day. Speaking of Flacco,
- Joe Flacco, QB, and Jim Caldwell: Another combo because it is unclear whose fault this truly is, but the playcalling. Something I noticed in this game and last week against the Dolphins: there is no intermediate passing game whatsoever.
When Flacco throws the ball, it is either a 3-yard dump to the left, right, or center of the field, or a bomb downfield. 7-10 yard passes were non-existent, save for a couple to Dallas Clark. One could claim that this is a personnel issue, but I don't buy that. Every WR (Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones, Tandon Doss, Marlon Brown) does not need to be a burner.
- Ray Rice, RB: Maybe this is an offensive line issue, but Rice never really got going. As soon as he started getting more than 2 yards a carry (somewhere around the beginning of the 4th quarter) the offense started scoring. Huh. So that's how that works.
3. The Defense: We are who we thought they were.
- Strong defense overall, very strong. Pass rush and run defense were incredible after the first drive, in which Eddie Lacey ripped off a 36 yard run. After Rodgers was sacked 3 times early, RB John Kuhn, a long-time Packer who had done little but special teams this year, came in on passing downs to provide a screen outlet and extra blocking. He helped marginally, and Rodgers did the rest. Once Rodgers started scrambling for the first down the pass rush softened up and gave him more time.
The Packers only TD came on a blown coverage by none other than Lardarius Webb, who let Jordy Nelson run past him in man-to-man coverage.
And this, after both James Jones and Randall Cobb were declared out for the game. Rodgers had few viable recieving targets left, and Nelson was the biggest of them. '
Good News for the Losers: Jacoby Jones is back and looked good. Next week the Ravens play the lowly Steelers in Pittsburgh. But don't worry, Baltimore will find a way to lose. Actually, with how the Steelers played today, the Ravens could definitely lose.
Bad News for the Winners: The Packers lost James Jones and Randall Cobb to injury. Both players could be out next week.
Until my next post! Night all, and happy Columbus Day!