It was bad all around.
The offense was bad-scoring just 7 points and not even threatening to score in the game’s first 45 minutes.
The defense was bad-allowing another 100 yard rusher and letting the Bengals score on their first 3 possessions of the game.
The special teams were bad-missing a big field goal and being flagged for multiple costly penalties.
The coaching was REALLY bad-as no unit appeared prepared for what may have been the most important game of the season thus far.
The Ravens’ 17-7 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday was just a poor performance all around.
They’re not a bad team. Even in one of their worst games they still had a chance in the 4th quarter before a costly missed field goal kept them from closing the gap to one possession. But they have an uncanny ability to play like a bad team for long stretches on both sides of the football.
The first half was one of those stretches. Through three possessions for each team in Sunday’s game, the Bengals out-gained the Ravens offensively 228 yards to 41. The 17-0 scoring advantage they established would ultimately prove to be too much for the outmatched Ravens to overcome.
John Harbaugh will almost certainly tell us that he was “proud of his team” for their fight on Sunday, but don’t be fooled. A team that “fights” is no match for a team that is better than their opponent. The Bengals were flat out BETTER than the Ravens today. The Bengals have been better than the Ravens all season.
The season isn’t over, no matter how much some of us will want to think it is. The Ravens are likely dead in the AFC North race, now trailing the Bengals by 2 full games and a tiebreaker. But at 4-4, the Ravens are very much alive in the AFC playoff race, and have two games remaining with the Steelers-who will be in direct competition for a playoff spot. The Texans and Chargers appear to be the other teams they will be battling with in the race for a Wild Card spot.
If the Ravens want to seize a playoff spot, they must play better than they did Sunday. Games against the Colts, Steelers and Packers will not be easy games to win; and they cannot spot ANY of those teams a multi-score early lead. The Ravens spoke this week about a desire to start quicker, but failed to get started until there were less than 15 minutes remaining in the game.
The season isn’t over. The season is only halfway through. But 4-4 in the next 8 won’t be good enough. This team has shown signs of being an elite team, but must BECOME an elite team. And it won’t be via personnel change. Steve Hauschka’s head will be asked for on a silver platter-and there will be some heavy breathing on his seat on tonight’s charter back to BWI. But even a kicker change will not make this a better football team. Strategy and execution will be the only two things that will make this a better football team.
Hopefully it will come.
4:11-At least I’ll have two names to put on my Tuesday Top 7. The other 5 spots are REALLY unknown…..
4:09-Cedric Benson goes over 100 yards twice……3 100 yard rushers in 4 games. Not so good.
4:07-THREE STRAIGHT SACKS?!?!?!?!? The awesome O-Line play this season has been non-existent today.
4:06-When did Robert Geathers and Brandon Johnson become Adalius Thomas and Bart Scott???
4:04-What was Joe trying to do there?!?!?!? Boy……
4:02-This is MAYBE the worst 2 minute offense I’ve ever seen. Did they think Hauschka MADE the field goal?
4:00-If this is their 2 minute drill, it is not very good.
3:55-Getting the ball back with this much time left on the clock only makes the Hauschka miss all the more painful…..
3:52-Did that commercial just say Wal-Mart was selling XBox 360 for 200 bucks with a 100 dollar gift card? Is that going on right now? I will go to Wal-Mart NOW……
3:50-Have you EVER seen a coach as emphatic in throwing a red flag as Harbs just was?
3:46-If I say now that neither Matt Stover NOR Chris McAlister is coming back to this team, can we avoid the phone calls tomorrow?
Wow. That’s a tough spot for Steve Hauschka-first FG try of the day…..and it could be costly not only for the game, but for his NFL career…..
3:45-Just when we were getting excited……
3:44-The Drew Forrester curse hits RIGHT before the incompletion and missed FG.
3:43-A field goal IS okay here; but I get nervous about this team being forced to get another stop without giving up points.
3:41-HOW FREAKING HUGE WAS THAT?!?!?!?!?!?!
3:40-Jarret Johnson REALLY should have had that tackle. Another big 3rd down here…..
3:37-What a weapon Brian Leonard is…..big momentum shift for Cincinnati.
3:36-This is a HUGE 3rd and short. Really, HUGE.
Going back and forth with Princess Bride quotes with CP has almost been as fun as the game early on.
3:32-WHOA!!!!!! SOMETHING GOOD HAPPENED!
17-7 with 12:54 to play. This COULD get interesting?
3:28-Joe! Mark Clayton is 5’10″! If they run that route and he’s double-covered, you CAN’T throw that ball!
3:27-Hey! Some offense! Where has this been?!?!?
3:25-Penalties on Grubbs and Oher very shortly after the penalty on Jared Gaither. This team is not making it easy…..
3:22-The offensive line has had a great season. Not a great day.
At least credit Greg Mattison for making some adjustments after a disastrous start. The offense has not done the same.
3:20-Once again, I COMPLETELY agree with this decision by Marvin Lewis.
3:15-Jared Gaither should NOT have to hold Jonathan Fanene. However, holding is better than a sack.
3:13-Ed Reed is NOT this team’s punt returner. He is only a returner on the “safe” unit. There was no reason for the safe unit to be in there. Therefore, there was no reason for Ed Reed to be out there thinking he needed to do something.
3:05-That’s THREE floaters he’s thrown to Ochocinco like that for first downs.
Good challenge by John Harbaugh…..2nd foot out of bounds.
3:03-Jameel McClain CERTAINLY stripped the ball before Cosby was down; but he must have been blown down with forward progress-which he should have been.
A Terrell Suggs sack! Wow!
3:01-Strange decision by Quan Cosby to return that one from inside the 10. Could have been a game-changing turnover.
Any turnover would be nice, really.
2:59-Keith Rivers won’t return. Chris Henry apparently out for the season. Ravens still losing 17-0.
2:58-Best offensive play of the game. By far.
Also, is that 3 straight drives without points for the Bengals now?
I’m trying to stay positive.
2:54-Why did that play work? Because there was pressure! Forced a bad throw! Where’s that been for 3 quarters???
2:52-How did Brian Leonard turn that into a first down?
Is there any particular reason for the extra booing towards Ray Lewis? Maybe just the hit on Ochocinco?
2:48-That was just an AWESOME play by Jonathan Joseph. And a reminder that a 5’10” receiver is NOT a good target for a deep ball. Wow……
2:46-I’m back. Not because I want to be…..
2:31-There’s no reason to risk it here. I know we’d like to see Cam Cameron actually take a chance, but only bad could have happened from the 1 yard line. Maybe Tony Robbins can come in and speak at halftime.
2:29-Incredible play by Kyries Hebert and Rey Maualuga. Brilliant stuff.
2:25-I’m not totally certain, but I’m not sure you’re supposed to throw the ball off of your star running back when you’re trying to throw the ball away. But what would I know?
2:24-Are there other games on???
2:23-If they put points on the board here, they can at least make it a game….
2:21-Holy crap. The Bengals had scored on TEN STRAIGHT DRIVES under Carson Palmer before that? That’s REALLY amazing.
2:18-J.P. Foschi should not be embarrassing anyone. Unreal.
2:14-Did Todd Heap go horizontal a YARD before the first down marker? This has been disastrous for EVERYONE.
Add Matt Katula to the list.
2:12-What the Bengals did on coverage right there is remarkably similar to what the Ravens did on coverage last week against Eddie Royal. If you force a returner to stop and start again, you have a GREAT chance to bring them down.
2:09-If you think the officials have something against the Ravens, you clearly missed whatever Chris Carr was just doing there that somehow went uncalled. Maybe it was a mercy no-call. I’m not sure.
The Bengals didn’t need Shayne Graham to kick that. Billy Graham could have done it.
2:07-There’s no way Cedric Benson should be able to get 5 yards there. Just no way. Getting KILLED at the line of scrimmage.
2:04-Great observation by Carson Palmer. If Lardarius Webb is going to play off of Coles by 10 yards, just throw him the ball.
Carson Palmer isn’t just not getting sacked, he’s not even concerned. He’s sliding head-first. Jesus.
2:02-How freaking random is a Kelly Gregg/Shannon Miller story?
HOW LONG CAN THIS TEAM GIVE CARSON PALMER TO FIND A RECEIVER?!?!?!?!
(Editor’s note: Trevor Pryce was probably held there. Still.)
1:57-Chris Henry injured is the best thing the Ravens defense has done thus far today.
1:53-That’s what happens when you get pressure on a QB. The QB has to throw the ball away. Would be nice to see the Ravens defense do the same thing.
1:50-Nice to see Le’Ron McClain on the field. Apparently it was nice for the Bengals defense to see Le’Ron McClain on the field, too.
1:48-THANK YOU Brandon Johnson. THANK YOU. Looked like the same play that drew Frank Walker off-sides on an extra point.
1:45-What an OBVIOUS penalty on Matt Lawrence, who had actually played quite well.
The no-huddle is not as easy to run on the road……
1:42-I know losing Ngata hurts, but how in the hell is the offensive line of the Cincinnati Bengals just b-slapping the Ravens defense around like this? This is particularly reminiscent of the Vikings game…..
1:39-How in the HELL did Laveranues Coles get out of the grasp of Ed Reed? Reed has to make arm tackles because of his shoulder/neck injuries, and it hurt him there.
1:36-It’s less that they’re getting beat and more that they’re panicking in 1 on 1 situations. These corners just don’t trust their own abilities, and they get grabby when they’re in 1 on 1 situations. It makes a big statement to throw the ball deep on 4th and short. And not a statement that the Ravens should be allowing teams to make against them…..
1:35-Absolutely the right decision by Marvin Lewis to go for it here.
1:34-This doesn’t all fall on the secondary early on. As I said, the Ravens MUST get a pass rush to win this game. They’ve gotten next to nothing early on.
1:33-Not a good day for Domonique Foxworth……
1:32-How in God’s name does Chad Ochocinco come down with that AWFUL floater???? Unbelievable.
1:30-How does Carson Palmer get a first down there? This defense REALLY misses Haloti Ngata today. Thankfully the offsetting penalties nullify, but wow.
1:26-That pass interference PARTICULARLY stings. The “Jim Leonhard was better than Dawan Landry” crowd will be having a field day. Fabian Washington REALLY should have had a pick the next week. I tried bringing up the lack of interceptions with Domonique Foxworth this week-but he really played it down.
1:23-Sam Koch had the space there to do something with that punt. Seen a lot of touchbacks from him recently-which is strange because he’s always been particularly sure-footed.
1:22-Thank God Derrick Mason was there to break up that pass to Leon Hall. Joe knows Leon Hall plays for the other team, right?
1:20-Joe Flacco-I love you. Mark Clayton (and Ray Rice for that matter) are NOT tall. Please throw the ball appropriately. You’re great otherwise.
1:17-Another nice return by Lardarius Webb. He’s really coming along early in his NFL career. His speed is a weapon the Ravens might want to consider finding a way to use offensively……maybe.
1:15-Carson Palmer had all day and Chris Carr just figured he’d watch Andre Caldwell score a TD-I guess. Just an awful first series for the Ravens defense. Wow.
1:10-Really no excuse for letting Carson Palmer get that ball to Ochocinco for a first down there on 3rd and 10. Just unacceptable. That ball was floated because of the pressure, but it should have been a sack or should have been broken up.
Benson running all over the place…..Cincinnati methodically moving the ball. Christ.
1:07-Pittsburgh Steelers fans (who REALLY believe they are the best fans in the world) could learn from the fans in the Queen City. Very impressed by how quiet they were while the Bengals had the ball. However, it was very evident there were a number of Ravens in Ohio by the noise on 3rd down.
1:05-Brian Leonard (Ray Rice’s college teammate at Rutgers) really hurt the Ravens in the first game, too. He’s just a really dangerous player.
How the hell did Cedric Benson get through that?
1:03-Steve Hauschka’s worst kick-off was his first one last week. This first one wasn’t great, either. Weird.
12:58-I was watching the FOX pre-game show instead of the CBS show, and I NEVER get sick of seeing entertainers travel to Iraq/Afghanistan to support our troops. It has been a long-time goal of mine to do a radio show live from the Middle East to support the USO. Was it a bit cheesy? Sure. But was it a great thing for Curt Menafee and company to do? Absolutely.
12:34-Today’s game can be seen live on CBS (WJZ 13 in Baltimore) with Dick Enberg and Dan Fouts on the call. The game can be heard nationally on Westwood One Radio (if for some reason you’re in an area that isn’t showing Ravens-Bengals on CBS) with Kevin Kugler and Mark Malone on the call.
If you want to get hyped for today’s game; head to the Audio Vault at WNST.net, where you can hear from Fouts (who joined Bob Haynie Friday), Malone (who joined Drew Forrester Friday), Bengals LB Coach Jeff Fitzgerald (Drew Friday), Ravens LB Prescott Burgess (Drew Friday), Bengals Play by Play Voice Brad Johansen (Drew Friday) and MORE!
12:17-Chinedum Ndukwe will start for Bengals in place of Roy Williams. Justin Bannan will start for Bengals in place of Haloti Ngata.
As much as the loss of Haloti Ngata will hurt the Ravens in trying to slow down Cedric Benson; it will also hurt them in pursuit of Bengals QB Carson Palmer. Ngata is very good at creating havoc in the backfield; and Justin Bannan will have to improve in pursuit of the Bengals QB. Brandon McKinney and the now-active Kelly Talavou will also get their chances in the D-Line rotation, and will have to work with Dwan Edwards, Trevor Pryce, and Terrell Suggs to get pressure up front.
12:07-As I mentioned in the title, today’s game is particularly crucial for the Ravens, as they CANNOT afford to fall 2 full games behind the Bengals in the AFC North….PLUS the Ravens would lose a tiebreaker to Cincy by virtue of a Bengals sweep. It would be more like the Ravens falling behind 2 and a half games in the division.
DT Haloti Ngata
CB Frank Walker
RB Jalen Parmele
LB Antwan Barnes
OT Tony Moll
DE Paul Kruger
QB John Beck-3rd QB
OT Oniel Cousins
11:27-Greetings from my couch, where I have not made the trip to Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati (I had a wedding to attend, my apologies); but the Baltimore Ravens have-and I will hang out with you during the game. A number of WNST contributors will chime in on Twitter (@WNST); including Nestor Aparicio, Drew Forrester and Luke Jones.
QB Jordan Palmer-3rd QB
S Roy Williams
FB Fui Vakapuna
LB Dan Skuta
OT Andre Smith
TE Chase Coffman
WR Jerome Simpson
DT Orien Harris