Ravens loss in Chicago hurts more than any other so far in ’13

November 18, 2013 | Drew Forrester

Of the six losses so far in 2013, Sunday’s defeat in Chicago was the toughest.

It was the only one of the defeats where they had a chance to win at the buzzer…and failed.

Against Denver, a 17-14 halftime lead turned into a blowout when Peyton Manning and Company went nuts in the 3rd quarter.

In Buffalo, a last minute drive ended at midfield when Dallas Clark deflected a throw that was intercepted by Kiko Alonso of the Bills.

Green Bay salted the game-away with their own late-game drive and the Ravens never really even had a chance to go on the offensive down the stretch.

Pittsburgh parlayed a late kickoff return into a last second field goal to beat the Ravens.

And, in Cleveland, the Ravens trailed throughout and didn’t have much of a chance late in the 4th quarter.

That was not the case in Chicago on Sunday, though, as the Ravens drove the length of the field — aided by a huge personal foul penalty against the Bears — and moved the ball to the 5-yard with less than a minute to play.  Down by three, a Baltimore touchdown would have given John Harbaugh’s team a huge road win and put them in glorious position for an AFC wild card berth.

Three downs to get five yards.

Three downs to pick up fifteen friggin’ feet.

They couldn’t do it.

And that, more than anything else, is why the Ravens are a 4-6 team.

Yes, yes, yes, the Baltimore defense got gashed in overtime and gave up a huge 3rd down pitch-and-catch to Alshon Jeffery and a 43-yard game-breaker to Martellus Bennett on the next play to set-up the winning field goal.

That, though, was only made possible because the Baltimore offense couldn’t move the ball fifteen feet in three plays.

On first down at the five, the Ravens tried running the ball with Ray Rice.  He picked up three yards.

Now, you need just six feet — two yards — to win.

On second down, Rice tried going to his left and was bumped back a yard to the three.

And then, on third down, Gino Gradkowski’s bad snap fouled things up from the start and Flacco’s throw to Torrey Smith in the end zone was too high.

That’s how you turn winning into losing.

There were lots of bright spots on Sunday in Chicago.  The Ravens’ running game came back to life after a season-in-a-coma, taking advantage of a horrible Bears run defense to pile up 174 yards on the ground.  Gradkowski and A.Q. Shipley both had their best days of the season at center and guard, respectively.  Chris Canty and Art Jones were studs defensively.  Dallas Clark made a couple of terrific catches, including a game-saver – potentially – on 4th and 4 on the final drive in regulation.

Unfortunately, the negatives narrowly outnumberd the positives, which is how the Ravens wound up losing 23-20.  Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil were both no-shows on Sunday, although Dumervil finally did get his name mentioned late in the game when he picked up a personal foul penalty in the 4th quarter that helped extend a Chicago drive and keep the clock running for the home team.  Joe Flacco and Rice teamed up for a horrific 2nd quarter interception-for-return by the Bears, as the running back whiffed on a high-school level blocking assignment and Flacco then didn’t get the ball up and over Chicago’s David Bass, who did the tip-and-catch thing to perfection and scampered into the end zone for a 24-yard TD.  And, early in the fourth quarter, the Ravens inexplicably challenged an Alshon Jeffery catch that cost them a valuable time-out after the play was – not surprisingly – upheld after video review.

When you have a couple of more negatives than positives, that’s how you lose.

Honestly, the Ravens would have won this game a year ago.  Not because of heart or effort or anything like that.  You certainly can’t fault the team’s fight on Sunday in Chicago.  They battled like a defending champion is expected to battle.  But, a season ago, the Ravens would have reached the end-zone with twenty seconds left in the game.  How?  I don’t know.  They just would have.

This team is 4-6 for a reason.

They don’t do anything particularly well is probably the most logical reason, but the truth is they’re 4-6 because they can’t beat teams like the Bills, Browns and Bears.

The funniest part?  The Ravens are still very much in the AFC playoff race, along with about seven other teams.  At this point, a two game win streak over the next eleven days would put them at 6-6 and give them a legit shot at finishing the season on a strong note and securing a 6th straight playoff berth.

That said, there’s no guarantee the Ravens win two more games TOTAL, let alone two in a row at home over New York and Pittsburgh.

As we’ve seen over the first ten games, there’s no telling what this Ravens team is going to do from game-to-game, half-to-half, quarter-to-quarter and series-to-series.

They couldn’t even pick up five yards on Sunday when doing so would have won the game for them.


10 Comments For This Post

  1. Dan Says:

    They jist aint very good , , but hey , we got Joe locked in for 5 years and that’s really a big plus . Next year they can start looking for some players to help out Joe and maybe in 3 or 4 years , , , we’ll be back on top . :) We been to the playoffs 5 straight years , won a Super Bowl , Ya can’t be good, and almost good ALL the time ! -( like NE -) one of these days they’ll be terrible too .

  2. Dan Says:

    DREW – – But, a season ago, the Ravens would have reached the end-zone with twenty seconds left in the game. HOW ? I DON’T KNOW. They just would have. ” Dan ,I know how, – They would have threw a pass to Bouldin . Like Frisco did on Sunday .

  3. joe of bel air Says:

    Ravens lost yesterday the same way they have lost all year, Flacco’s inability to take care of the ball, bad play calling/decision making by the coaching staff, and the defense’s inability to get off the field in the 4th quarter. When you can’t score a TD from the 5 against second and third string defensive players, like the Bears had yesterday, you don’t deserve to win. Losing 3 games to Josh McCown, Jason Campbell and E.J Manuel says it all. This isn’t the Ravens year.

  4. The Armchair QB Says:

    Lots of blame to go around, but in the final analysis, this is NOT a very good team, particularly on offense where they have no playmakers! Coaching and play calling continue to be problems as is the failure to utilize available new talent, i.e. the rookie from Harvard who was drafted for his PASS CATCHING ABILITY! To those who blame Flacco…. he IS the offense and this team DOES NOT have a chance of winning without him! Harbaugh sounded completely deflated in his press conference following the game. Whether or not we sneak into the playoffs, this is NOT our year……

  5. Chris Says:

    While I’m pulling for them to make the playoffs this year there is a small part of me that wouldn’t mind them bottoming out so they have a top 12 draft pick in what’s supposed to be a killer draft class. It would allow them to draft a potential playmaker (I’d prefer an offensive one but don’t really care). The way the NFL is built, it’s nearly impossible to build a dynasty. One other thing, this is not Joe’s fault. If he weren’t playing they’d have 1 win MAYBE.

  6. unitastoberry Says:

    There’s a pattern here that needs to end or else the culture of losing or the cleat of reality as you call it will start to make permanent residence. Of all the things that went wrong yesterday the one that disturbs me the most is the team seemingly playing for the tie to get into OT once we were on the goal line. I hope Ozzie is feeling better soon.

  7. Robert Says:

    I’d attribute this Raven’s loss to two factors. 1st, backup McCown outplayed starter Flacco and 2nd, the offense managed to post three meager points in the 2nd half, notwithstanding the adverse weather, as both teams & qb’s played in the same conditions. Cheers.

  8. Steve from Sandpoint Says:

    Flacco 2 Picks not so good. The receivers still can’t catch a cold,the run game was better. As you said, if you can’t score from the 5 you don’t deserve to win. Still in the playoff run but I don’t see them making the playoffs, there just not a very good team !!!

  9. tsnamm Says:

    Back in the pre=season I mentioned the fact I didn’t like the way Joe was forcing the ball and getting it picked off with questionable decisions. I attributed it to being the pre-season. Well unfortunately it doesn’t look like it now. The one thing that can actually be put on Joe this year is a lack of ball security, either questionable passes that get picked, or fumble/strips. Joe’s a smart enough QB to know how to fix it, so let’s hope he does. Yesterday was a waste of the best running day we’ve had all year. Plus also like you said Drew, I’d like to know where the pass rush went. After playing a great game against Cincy, they were practically a non-factor, against the Bears on a sloppy field. The inconsistancies are maddening. I know the old saw, “just get in the playoffs”, but the Ravens would be 1 and done unless they tighten up their performances way more than we’ve seen so far this season. Good teams find ways to win and bad teams find ways to lose…maybe that’s just what it comes down to this year.

  10. Dirk Says:

    Maybe the team just needs to slack off a little. Harbaugh keeps telling us how hard they are working. My suggestions to help the team: A little frisbee and few beers might help. A new travel agent might be great too. They work sooooo hard on the road they are exhausted in the 2nd half. Tell the defense to stop watching the CFL too. We play 4 downs in the NFL. The NFL doesn’t punt on 3rd so they have to play that down too. You see problem solved. Now they can win out and make the playoffs.

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