The Baltimore Ravens play against the Philadelphia Eagles was as bad as it can get. It was an awful performance in the 40-17 loss filled with turnovers, penalties and injuries. It’s the recipe for disaster for any football game at any level, and especially against a pretty good team in Philadelphia.
The good news is that it is still the preseason and things can only go up from here.
The interceptions by Joe Flacco are a bit worrisome. He has now thrown seven interceptions in last six games dating back to the 2014 regular season. Flacco’s greatest strength might be a weakness also. Flacco possesses one of the best deep balls in the NFL, but his arm might be so strong that he is overthrowing targets.
There are three plays that immediately come to mind. The two interceptions on Saturday and the pass that was picked off in the AFC Divisional Playoff game against the New England Patriots. On each play he seriously overthrew his target. The most concerning of the three was the second interception of the preseason game because the rule is if you’re going to create a turnover, let it be deep down the field.
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Flacco is going to continue to take those deep shots because it is a weapon. Of his 148 career passing touchdowns, 37 of them came on plays of 30 yards or more. Former Raven Torrey Smith caught 30 touchdowns from Flacco, the most Flacco has thrown to any receiver in his career, eight of which were touchdowns of over 30 yards.
It’s something you have to take the good with the bad. There is no good about 22 penalties being called in one game.
Penalties are expected in preseason, but 22 is just absurd. However, there was one particular penalty that has caused some fire around the league as the Ravens were on the wrong end of a roughing the passer penalty.
Everyone has their own view on the play, you can make your own opinion by viewing video of the hit here. Terrell Suggs thinks his play on Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford was a clean one. Eagles offensive tackle Jason Peters thinks it was a cheap shot. Earlier today, the NFL has sided with Suggs on the matter, saying that the hit was legal.
That still doesn’t excuse the other 21 mistakes that came about throughout the game. Backup offensive lineman have always been known to commit more penalties than most positions, and eight of the penalties were called on the O-line.
The more concerning penalties were against the starting defense. Suggs committed three penalties on the Eagles opening drive that ended with a score. On the Eagles’ next drive, it was Kendrick Lewis who was flagged twice as the Eagles once again found the end zone.
Justin Tucker even had to kick a 48-yard extra point try after reserve tight end Konrad Reuland was called for a chop block on a two-point play late in the game. It was that kind of night for the Ravens in regards to miscues.
There was little to be impressed with, but the good thing is the Ravens will rebound. They always do.
The offense will respond. Baltimore was effective when they kept the ball on the ground. Justin Forsett finished with 29 yards on five carries and Terrence Magee had 11 carries for 44 yards. The team finished with 150 yards on 33 carries for an average of 4.5 yards a carry.
The defense will not see a team like Philadelphia all season long. There isn’t another team in the league that runs the tempo that the Eagles use. The closest the Ravens might see to that is in Week One against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. If they can cut down on the penalties, the Ravens have the talent to once again be a top-10 defense.
John Harbaugh made his mark in this league as a special teams coach so you know the Ravens will improve in that area. He will get more hands on with that unit if need be.
This week we will find out a lot about this Ravens team when they take on the Washington Redskins in what is likely the final tuneup before the regular season begins. The starters will play the majority of the game and they need a performance much better than that of Saturday night.
Baltimore did suffer a few injuries, but they have escaped from the catastrophic pains thus far. Let’s just hope the Ravens don’t suffer any crushing injuries like those of Jordy Nelson and Maurice Pouncey this weekend. It’s always tough to see players go down in preseason games.
These games are meaningless in a sense that they do not count for the team’s overall record. They are beneficial to a team that needs to come out on all cylinders against the Redskins. Washington has issues of their own and the Ravens need to use this game as a launching point entering the regular season.
The loss to the Eagles was a disastrous showing, but the Ravens must move on. To steal a common line from Baltimore Orioles star Adam Jones the Ravens need to move onto the next game and keep grinding. This team is too talented to consistently play that bad.
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