Baltimore Ravens: A Bad Loss from Every Angle


Nov 30, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; San Diego Chargers wide receiver Malcolm Floyd (80) catches a pass over Baltimore Ravens cornerback Anthony Levine (41) at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

No matter how you look at it, the Baltimore Ravens’ 34-33 loss to the San Diego Chargers on Sunday is a bad one to have suffered in the midst of a crammed AFC playoffs picture. It is especially painful when it is a game that not only could have been won, but should have been won.

Final. 33. 26. 34. 13

Where to begin?

It is bad enough when the other team simply beats you, and without doubt, the Chargers are a team with many quality players. Overall, their line play was excellent. Philip Rivers had a very fine day, going 34-for-45 for 383 yards and three touchdowns. Eleven of his passes landed in the arms of Keenan Allen for 121 yards and two touchdowns.

But beating oneself with poor penalties is quite another thing. Elvis Dumervil was inexplicably in the neutral zone over and over – called on it several times, including an unfortunate infraction in the final game-winning drive. He could have been flagged multiple more times. I never played outside linebacker, but it would seem to me that standing still on the appropriate side of the line of scrimmage is not a difficult skill to master. Overall, the Ravens gave up 98 yards on 14 penalties.

There is no doubt that the Baltimore Ravens offense is improved over last year. But a major concentration and focus needs to be applied to red zone situations, particularly when inside the 10 yard line … heck, particularly within the two yard line! The brain trust on this team should be able to figure out some creative ways of maximizing these opportunites. We all love Justin Tucker; we just don’t need to see him quite as frequently kicking from the 15 to 35 yard lines.

This game may well have been lost weeks ago when Jimmy Smith went down. Anthony Levine was simply no match for Rivers and Allen. He was burned short, middle, and long.

What a frustrating loss. Just when it looked like Jacoby Jones had done it again by returning a kickoff to the Chargers 31, the offense could not consummate the opportunity and run time off the clock or score more than a chip-shot field goal.

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Choose your adage:  A. The Ravens snatched defeat from the jaws of victory; or B. A good team finds a way to win, while a bad team finds a way to lose; or C. both A + B above.

Well, I’m the baseball guy around here, and I’ll let the football boys come along this week and break it down some more. But this was a difficult lose … gotta say the truth. And I don’t think it had to happen.