In Game #1, the Baltimore Ravens managed to hold off the New York Jets, 10-9, when Dustin Keller failed to run one more yard to extend the drive for the Jets. In that game, Quarterback Joe Flacco was 20/38 for 248 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception. Any problems with the team were overlooked by the fans, as the win was all that matters. The overall lack of offense was said to be the result of a great New York Jets defense. But had Keller reached the first down marker, it could have led to an entirely different result.
That win over the Jets led many to believe that they would just roll over the Cincinnati Bengals in Game #2 of the year. But why would people believe that? Was it just die-hard Baltimore going into this game blind, not wanting to believe that anything other than a win would happen? It’s amazing to see how many people forgot that the Bengals went undefeated within the division last year. In fact, the Bengals have not lost a division game since November 2008, when they lost to the Ravens 34-3.
Back to this past Sunday. The Ravens could do nothing but watch Mike Nugent kick five field goals en-route to a 15-10 victory for the Bengals. 10 POINTS AGAIN! What happened to this great offense that the Baltimore fans were going to see every week? Anquan Boldin had five catches for 35 yards. Todd Heap had four catches for 35 yards. T.J. Houshmandzadeh dropped three passes. Derrick Mason had one catch for 31 yards, and that was the only touchdown for the Ravens. Willis McGahee had three rushes for 10 yards. And Le’Ron McClain had one rush for three yards. Poor Ray Rice was the Ravens’ offense, with his 16 carries for 87 yards.
And let’s not forget Joe Flacco: four interceptions, a passer rating of 23.8, and a first quarter which saw him fail to complete a pass for the first time in two years. In the last two years, Flacco has had his worst games against the Cincinnati Bengals. Flacco has completed only 56% of his passes with two touchdowns, eight interceptions and a passer rating of 44.4. If it wasn’t for the defense stepping up once again, the score would have been a lot worse. What the Ravens need to realize is that it’s not 2000. You can’t win on defense alone. The Ravens made a lot of big moves to improve this offense. However, the offensive team chemistry is just not there. Not yet, anyway.
The Ravens are very fortunate that they are not 0-2. Because if they were, the fans would be calling for Marc Bulger to start. I’m sure that some fans are doing that already. The other fans who aren’t calling for Flacco’s benching are calling for “Mr. Touchdown” (lately) Mark Clayton to come back, as he scored two touchdowns for the Rams on Sunday.
Next for the Ravens, the 0-2 Browns. Just what the Ravens need, right? Maybe not. The Browns are desperate for a win. And the Ravens can not afford to cough one up here.