Someone needs to call the company "LifeLock" — the Ravens identity has been stolen. A once proud defensive franchise got embarrassed last night on national TV and the offense was called "not professional" — and that’s AFTER spending $18 million in signing bonuses on a starting QB and a high-profile running back in the last 18 months…both of whom coughed up the ball on Monday Night in the 38-7 Ravens loss in Pittsburgh.
You know the game’s out of hand when the TV people have to find a hobbling, former player on the sidelines to help lay the groundwork for a half-hour of national bashing. Ex-Steeler Mel Blount started the onslaught by calling the Ravens "pathetic" and by game’s end, Baltimore proved him right. And "pathetic" could have been the nicest thing he said.
It was a weird night, to say the least. Hines Ward outhit Bart Scott. Pittsburgh only scored 3 points in the 2nd half and STILL won the final 30 minutes because the Ravens didn’t even come close to scoring. And, in an odd twist, the Steelers could have absolutely won the game 58-7 if they would have tried to win by that margin. But, keeping in mind that they play one another in the season’s final game, the Steelers opted for the gentlemanly approach and just took the air out of the ball in the last two quarters. Let’s be serious: If that would have been New England last night, the Pats would have probably scored 70. If nothing else, at least we now know Mike Tomlin is smart enough to NOT to run up the score in the first of the two regular season meetings.
I’m not sure what’s more embarrassing. Ward hitting our players in the mouth and then laughing about it — or the Steelers playing the old Dean Smith version of the NFL’s "4 corners" so as not to further humiliate Brian Billick & Co. on national TV.
I talked throughout the last two weeks that a Ravens team without Chris McAlister (and Samari Rolle) would not be a good match-up in Pittsburgh. As the old saying goes, you can’t make chicken salad out of chicken "manure" – and while they are nice, young men who are trying their best, it’s very clear to anyone who watched Monday’s game that Derrick Martin, David Pittman and Corey Ivy are NOT chicken salad. Big Ben exposed them for what they are — and that is, not capable of playing at the same level of C-Mac and Rolle.
Baltimore’s season is now clearly in "desperate times" mode. With division rivals Cincinnati and Cleveland coming to town over the next two weeks, the Ravens have a chance to get well at the right time — because after those two games, it’s the San Diego-New England-Indianapolis triangle. At this point, the Bengals could be in more turmoil than the Ravens, but that could change this weekend if Carson Palmer dices up the Baltimore secondary like Roethelisberger did on Monday. Another loss like the one administered by the Steelers and this train could REALLY derail over the season’s final two months. And that wouldn’t be pretty, I can assure you.
For now, there’s not much sense in reflecting on Monday’s drubbing at Heinz Field. Nothing good happened – except for the fact that the Steelers fell asleep near the end of the first half and let Willis McGahee scamper into the end zone for the Ravens only score of the game. There’s not much difference between 38-7 and 38-0 – but when you don’t score touchdowns often, even one of them – accidental as it might have been – is a welcome respite.
The Ravens identity was stolen on Monday Night. They now have eight games to get it back. Someone call LifeLock and let’s get the process started.