Ravens fall in Philly: Put this one on bad coaching and horrible pass coverage

September 16, 2012 | Drew Forrester

Let the second-guessing begin.

I don’t know any other way to say it, so I won’t mince words or try to come up with some creative way of putting it.

If you have two time-outs remaining and it’s 3rd and 1 and 4th and 1, one of those plays must be a run play to get the first down and extend the game.

You have a red-hot field goal kicker, booting it with the wind.  Honestly, all you might have needed there was to get to the Eagles 42 yard line and Justin Tucker would have been a fair bet to kick a 59-yarder to win the game.

Instead, Cam Cameron sent in two passing plays to end the game.

And Joe Flacco didn’t change them at the line of scrimmage.

Two plays later, with two time-outs still on the clock, the Ravens turned the ball over on downs and the Eagles won, 24-23.

Now, in fairness, Philadelphia deserved to win.

Michael Vick, Brent Celek and DeSean Jackson torched the Ravens linebackers and secondary all afternoon.  I don’t think the great Chicago fire of 1871 was as damaging.  If not for three red-zone turnovers, Philadelphia would have won the game with ease.  The Eagles, as the saying goes, hung around long enough to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.  Credit to them.

The Ravens, meanwhile, essentially put Ray Rice on hiatus for most of the second half, that is until their penultimate drive when Rice accounted for 60 yards as the Ravens used Tucker’s third field goal of the day to go up 24-23.  I’m not quite sure how it happens that one of the best all-purpose backs in the entire league goes 20 minutes or so and touches the ball three times, but that’s what happened on Sunday.  When Rice got the ball in the first half, he was deadly.  When he finally touched it late in the 4th quarter, he was again a wrecking ball.  When he didn’t factor in the game-plan, the Ravens offense stalled.  You figure it out.

Flacco’s performance was as puzzling as the late game play calling. He was sharp in the first half, going 14-for-17 for just 92 yards and a TD throw to Jacoby Jones.  He looked a lot like the Flacco who carved apart the Bengals last Monday night.  In the second half, he looked more like – gasp! – Kyle Boller.  Following an ill-advised throw that was picked off by DeMeco Ryans on the first series of the second half, Flacco went into what we formerly referred to “affectionately” as the Boller-shell.  He was off on his throws, looked unsure of himself and was apparently rattled by the Eagles pass rush and the pick he threw to Ryans.  It didn’t help, of course, that Michael Oher was so ineffective on the left side that Harbaugh and Cameron had to go with Bryant McKinnie for a couple of series’ just to try and keep their quarterback from getting pounded.

(This is also the spot where I could rake the officials over the coals, but in all honesty, they were horrible on both sides of the ball all day, so writing about their influence on the game is moot.  They stink, as we’ve all seen, and the league should be embarrassed beyond belief for having them out there.  They’re just in over their head, period.  Enough said on that topic.  And as far as I could tell, none of the refs called two passing plays on 3rd and 1 and 4th and 1 to end the game.)

In a league where every game counts – mostly at the end of the season when you’re scraping for every piece of daylight in the standings you can get – this one might very well come back to haunt the Ravens later on down the road.  With Tucker’s dynamic leg, Baltimore was literally only about 15 yards from a very reasonable field goal attempt when they approached their own 46 yard line with 57 seconds left to play.

I was in the press box at Lincoln Financial Field saying, “Run the ball here…get the first-down…and call a time-out.”

They threw it.  Incomplete to Dennis Pitta.

With two time-outs remaining, another pass play was sent in on 4th and 1 and that, too, fell incomplete.

I’m a dummy from Glen Burnie, admittedly, but you just can’t lose a game like that when you only need one yard to keep a drive going and you have two time-outs to burn.

This one shouldn’t sit well with John Harbaugh, Cam Cameron and Joe Flacco.  I know Joe likes to air it out and I realize he’s trying to “announce his presence with authority” (Bull Durham reference, thank you very much), but the number one goal on the agenda in the final two plays was easy — get a first down.  That gives you four more plays, at least.

Not getting a first down there is just unacceptable.  Period.

And that’s how you lose football games that you coulda, shoulda, woulda won.



18 Comments For This Post

  1. bill Says:

    You are right. You are a dummy from Glen Burnie. That’s the first time all year you’ve been right about anything. There for a minute, I thought that was you on the field, then I realized I was looking at Andy Reid. You should be glad you don’t play for the Eagles, you’d never been able to fit through the big inflatable Eagles head that their players run through to start the game. You’re worse than Cam Cameron, you have no business criticizing him. (DF: It’s the second time all year I’ve been right. I picked the Eagles to win the game. Twice right in one day, in fact!)

  2. Diablo Says:

    Don’t hold back bill, tell us how you really feel.

    Can someone explain to me how Cam still has a job in the NFL? I was fine with bringing up Falco slowly. But the complete lack of half time adjustments were insane. It was like watching a five year play Madden, not realizing that doing the same damn pass play over and over again doesn’t work.

    I suspect that Cam wants to prove to the world that he can turn Flacco into Marino and if he has to completely abandon the running game to be right, he will do it. When its 3rd and two…YOU GOT RAY RICE! USE HIM DAMN IT!!!

  3. joe of bel air Says:

    You are absolutely right Drew. If you can’t get 1 yard running Ray Rice twice behing Leach then shame on you. This is all on Cam and Harbaugh. It reminded me of the AFC title game last year when it was 2nd and two at he Pats 13 yard line with 40 seconds and a time out. Instead of running to pick up the first down he throws 2 passes and we all know what happened next. The only good thing about the day was watching Gostkowski the Pats kicker pull a Cundiff when he shanked an easy 42 yard FG attempt to win the game. It’s those kind of performances that keeps Flacco from ever being elite. They really gave that pone away

  4. eric Says:

    Don’t know how you overlook the game clinching TD to Jones that was overturned due to incompetence. Even M Periera called it a joke. But as usual the refs never cost you the game when you play well, only when you play like crap can the refs affect the outcome. Nothing wrong with the 2 pass play calls, players just did a crap job of performing.

  5. Jason Says:


    I’m a dummy from Frederick now living in Parkville for 15 years. After second down I was saying, “OK, we have two timeouts. Run the ball then call timeout.” I thought it was an easy decision. My friends and I were looking at each other like “WTF?” Never lose a game like that with two timeouts in your pocket and a kicker banging ’em all day! Horrible way to lose. Nonetheless, great blog!

    Jason from Parkville.

  6. Phil Says:

    Joe’s not going to be great, or even good, every game…he was off in the second half. Play calling was horrible, outcoached definitely, didn’t use Ray enough and stopped blitzing on last drive. However, as bad as calls were on 3rd/4th down, Pitta was open and a good pass gets caught and he gets out of bounds to stop clock with the first down, so Joe’s fault there…4th down call and execution was terrible and that was it. In my opinion the Ravens were as bad as the refs so no excuses there.

  7. Tom Shute Says:

    Brutal play calling by Cam Cameron. Screens work against a defense like the Eagles have use them. Make adjustments once in a while after a half. Didn’t Ray Rice get a new huge new contract use him. The Flacco talk about him being elite can wait another week. I am still not convinced two games make a quarterback. How many comeback and superbowl win does he have. Just ask Eli Manning how its done. Harbaugh and Cameron take the blame for a change and don’t heap it on the officials. We can’t play well for two halves on the road and I blame that on coaching. Accountability is not in either ones vocabulary(can’t spell).
    Game today was brutal all the way around.

  8. Bruce Says:

    Pathetic game plan from the coordinators on both sides of the ball. Cameron, whom I’m still pissed has a job on this team, did his usual “I’ll do it my way in spite of what has worked” play calling. And Pees, while he gets a bit of a break for being new, still thinks it’s a good idea to rush 3 players against a QB like Vick. Through 2 games, he’s starting to remind me too much of Greg Mattison, and that is certainly NOT a good thing.

    If there’s any consolation, losing to an NFC team is the best way to lose, due to the tie-breaker system at the end of the season. Hopefully, this loss will force Harbaugh to put a foot up Cameron’s ass, and let Joe call the plays like he did in Game 1, and to force Pees to step up his game plan and play nasty instead of conservatively. Time will tell.

  9. Vince Fiduccia Says:

    After the Eagles lost two offensive lineman, how do you not blitz and stunt all day long?

  10. PghSteve Says:

    Maybe Mr Harbaugh or Mr. Cameron get paid extra if they have timeouts left at the end of a game? Didn’t they have at least one left in the AFC championship game last year?

    I am obviously no Ravens fan and I was very disappointed when the Eagles scored with 1:55 to go. I figured Flacco and Rice would at least move down close enough for a field goal try. I was delighted that Rice did not get the ball on either of those last 2 plays.

  11. Steve from Sandpoint Says:

    Enough with Joe Flacco saying he is a Elite QB, the way he played in the second half was pitiful. What happened to the up tempo offense that scored over 40 last week, wait a minute it worked last week so we can’t use it 2 weeks in a row. Cameron is back to his lousey play calling and should not have been rehired for this season. With 2 minutes remaining a ELITE QB would have won this game, this loss will come back to haunt them down the road….Just Pitiful !!!

  12. Dan Says:

    That’s always been their problem , (except when we had Dilfer ) they pass when the situation SCREAMS Run.

  13. Tim Says:

    I’m not betting man, but wasn’t the line on this 1 point? Is there a way you can get one of these odds makers on for an interview? After the 1st half, I didn’t think the Ravens were going to blow them out. Philly was moving the ball early, so 10 pts wasn’t enough to make them 1 dimensional. Actually they are probably never 1 dimensional when Vick is the QB . . . but back to the topic, how did the odds makers see this one coming?

  14. unitastoberry Says:

    Missed the game yesterday but like I said to Luke this team needs to put up about 30 to win every week. This is not your 2000 defense anymore. We have to be an offensive machine. The refs always suck its the nature of football. Don’t blame it on the refs even college ones. I love this new kicker his leg is strong. Coaching is also a problem for us. Every year a new DC and the OCs are inconsistant with the play calling going back to Cavanaugh. Too many close game losses where the ball goes to the wrong guy etc. Close games are what separates the men from the boys in the world of coaching and quarterbacking. Right now Harbs record in close games including playoffs is not that good and Joe needs to be more consistant too.

  15. Chuck Says:

    The Baltimore Ravens: a very solid organization with mediocre coaching. It has been this way for a long time.

  16. Timm Rogowski Says:

    Drew is an unabashed “homer” but this was the best article I have seen written about the weekend.

    Not once did he blame it all on the referees or the fact the “league is out to get us” or devote grumblings to the CBS coverage or anything other than exactly that which happened that led to a loss.

    I’m not a Ravens fan.

    I grew up without a team here and some of my family is from Pittsburgh so you can see where I’m going with my allegiance.

    My Dad was a Colts fan, refused to pick another and became a Ravens fan the day we got a team.

    My day does not change because the Ravens win or lose. I am not one of those fans who worries about what the Ravens do when they aren’t playing the Steelers.

    I HATED the buzzing after yesterday’s Ravens loss to the Eagles because all I heard was “I won’t care about this loss to the Eagles as long as the Jets beat the Steelers!”

    So it was a combination of blaming the refs, the league and wanting the Steelers to lose instead of just admitting your team lost and that members of your team are responsible.

    Drew didn’t pull the pinning any hopes on Steelers losses or act like the Ravens’ season is over because of one loss and he certainly didn’t blame everyone but a Raven for the loss.

    For a guy who bleeds purple and black it shows a lot of professionalism to not write an article full of excuses.

    Unlike those at the Sun.

    Excellent stuff.

  17. Jason Manelli Says:

    Agree with Timm form Pittsburgh, Drew’s postgame take was very cogent, and Preston wrote the same in his column today. between the two of them they got it right, we needed to ‘ride our horse’ as Ray52 said this time last year. I thought Ray27 was about as diplomatic as he could be when he said he thought Leach needed to be int he lineuop for more plays – very clever way of saying we should be throwing our badass FB at their LB’s and letting the best player on the field run behind him.

  18. dave hittinger Says:

    Wonder why nothing is ever mentioned about how slow Ray Lewis has become. Huge liability on anything other than runs straight at him, sorry but he’s so past his prime it’s sad.

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