Baltimore Ravens vs San Diego Chargers: What We Learned


Nov 30, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; San Diego Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen (13) catches a pass in the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

A last-minute loss, like what the Baltimore Ravens just experienced against the San Diego Chargers, requires a little time before good analysis can be made. Emotions run high, there is ambiguity in what happened and things aren’t always easy to figure out.

After some time to think over what happened, here are some lessons we learned Sunday.

The Ravens can’t win a Super Bowl this year

I predicted (wrongly) that the Ravens would win a statement game against the Chargers. They did make a statement: the wrong kind.

Some may be remembering 2012 and how bad the Ravens looked at times that season. Why can’t this year’s Ravens pull of the impossible just like the 2012 version did?

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The 2012 Ravens were not making the same mistakes over and over. They were mired in inconsistency on both sides of the ball for much of the regular season, but there was no glaring weakness.

This year is different. The Ravens secondary is arguably the worst in the NFL, ranking 31st in pass defense. Making that even more ridiculously bad is the Ravens’ stout pass rush. Last year, the Ravens’ secondary struggled at times when the pass rush was ineffective. They don’t have that excuse this year.

The past two weeks, the Ravens have given up an average of 401.5 yards and three touchdowns (not counting yards taken off for sacks). Good luck winning a Super Bowl giving up 400 yards through the air on a week to week basis.

Maybe the Ravens can make the playoffs, but there is no world in which the Ravens’ secondary can defend Andrew Luck, Tom Brady or Peyton Manning well enough to beat them in the playoffs. Better luck next year, Ravens.

Eugene Monroe is a problem

Eugene Monroe has been a shell of himself this year, struggling with injuries for much of the year. His injuries are showing up on the field, as Monroe looks unathletic. He gave up three hurries against the Chargers and generated no push in the ground game. It was arguably his worst game in what has been a rough year for him.

Don’t worry about Monroe long-term. He remains technically sound, and by all accounts is a true professional. He will improve if healthy next year, but this year looks to be a wash for the big tackle.

Joe Flacco is not the problem

When a team is struggling, there is a natural inclination to throw the quarterback under the bus. After all, he has more impact on the game than any player on the team. Don’t fall into that trap. Don’t blame Joe Flacco for this loss.

Let’s start with this fact: Flacco was under pressure on 13 of his 31 passes according to Pro Football Focus (subscription needed). That Flacco functioned while under pressure on 42 percent of his dropbacks is impressive considering his occasional struggles in that area.

Now let’s talk drops. The Ravens’ receivers had three of them according to Pro Football Focus.

Flacco has been avoiding mistakes and leading a quality offense. Since their bye, the Ravens have averaged 33.5 points per game. The sample size is small, but there is a lot of reason for optimism on offense. Flacco’s improved play is a big reason why.