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Baltimore Ravens: Playoff Rock Turns to Sand


The Baltimore Ravens held their destiny in their own hands, but it has turned to sand and slipped away. The momentum the Ravens had disappeared rather quickly.

The Ravens no longer control their destiny, because they could do absolutely nothing on offense in their final home game of the season, leading to their worst loss in the John Harbaugh era and the worst home loss since 1999. I will expand upon the new playoff scenarios later, but be prepared, it gets pretty complicated now.

Just remember one thing, the Ravens are not out of the playoffs. I repeat, the Ravens are not out of the playoffs. Dwell on this as you try to make it through the week after a horrible loss.

Let’s look at the game now. Every problem in the game stemmed from the offense. The lack of offensive movement allowed the New England Patriots to have great field position most of the game.

Joe Flacco barely had 50 yards passing by halftime, and the Ravens as a team had more yards than that in penalties. By the end of the game, the Ravens had nine penalties for 83 yards, along with four turnovers. And Flacco may have had more yards, but made terrible decisions.

Everything the offense and defense had to do to win this game, they didn’t do. Even though the offense didn’t help the defense with field position, the defense needed to step up, but it didn’t. Yes, the defense did give the offense a chance, but the bottom line is the entire team struggled, and couldn’t do anything when the time came for it.

With the exception of the snow game against the Minnesota Vikings, Flacco only threw three interceptions at home this season. Flacco threw two in this game, and it shows his struggles that continue to grow.

The poor beginnings of games earlier in the season combined and snowballed against the Patriots. Flacco didn’t have his deep ball, which he tried on one of the first offensive plays of the game. And when he did get the deep ball, he overthrew it nearly for another interception.

Flacco has been able to overcome his struggles in these recent games with clutch endings, but that was not the case this game. The first interception was poorly thrown allowing it to be tipped and intercepted.

The better decision would have been to dump off to Bernard Pierce for the underneath route with the Patriots under-coverage on Jacoby Jones. This is just one example of poor decisions made by Flacco. Though a good pass would have worked, Flacco made a rookie mistake.

On a fourth down, Flacco chose the deep pass rather than the almost-certain first down to Dennis Pitta. I don’t know what was wrong with Flacco, but he made many terrible decisions in this game, and could not seem to redeem himself.

On second or third down, the deep pass is acceptable and Flacco should have known this. But on a fourth down pass, the goal is to move the sticks, not go for the deep ball with man-to-man coverage and a defender moving underneath.

Flacco made a couple good plays, but did not exploit his wide receivers early in the game. It was not until the sixth pass into the game by Flacco that connected with a wide receiver. Torrey Smith only had three receptions in the game.

This was all at home, so when the Ravens visit Cincinnati next week, Flacco needs to play extraordinarily or the Ravens will lose.  Hopefully the injury and limited practice led to this all and Flacco can play well next week.

There were many, many more things the Ravens did terribly that led to the loss, but that would take a book to analyze it all in a single post, but we’ll analyze that again before the game against the Bengals.

Right now, the Ravens need to regroup and figure out how they are going to win next week. Hopefully the only dwelling the Ravens will do is on the tapes to not repeat this type of play next week. Other than that, they need to forget quickly.

Tags: Baltimore Ravens