Don’t You Talk About My Defense Like That!

December 14, 2010 | Dwayne Showalter

I can’t stand idly by any longer and let the buffoonery continue.  I know people like to vent after losses (and near collapses like last night in Houston).  But the constant bashing of the Ravens offense while the defense continues to get a free pass has to stop.

It’s like the offense is Muslim and the defense is the Pope around here.   The offense has its moments where components fail and make the whole unit looked whacked but generally it’s just a solid group that goes misunderstood.  And the Pope?  Well golly, how can you question him?

I can.  And I will.  Certainly when it comes to last night’s game.  Once being staked to a 21-0 lead, the defense came on the field.  Admittedly, they were playing well, but let’s be honest, the Texans were killing themselves a bit too.   The D had surrendered 108 yards to that point.  The offense was clicking.  There was no reason to be “winded” at this point.

But the Texans breezed through for an 80 yard, 7-play TD.  Then it was halftime.  OK.  The D made a late mistake.  The break would give them time to sure up themselves for the second half, right?  And the bonus?  Returning the opening kick all the way to restore a 21-point lead.

Now here is where people lose perspective.  They are certainly rested after the half.   So how do you explain a 16 play, 70 yard drive, using half the 3rd quarter.  That’s on them.  Now a Ravens offense comes out that hasn’t ran a meaningful play in nearly an hour and goes three-and-out.  Shame on you offense for doing that for only the 2nd time all night and after scoring TDs on 3 of your last 5 possessions.  Maybe the Ravens defense can step up now and give you a hand.  It’s still 28-10.  No…another 10 play drive ending with a field goal and its 28-13.

Now surely the offense will move the ball, right?  I mean the lead is only 15 and only 11 minutes remain.  Well, they don’t score but they do net a couple first downs, knock 4:33 off the clock and pin the Texans at the 1-yard line with another brilliant punt by Sam Koch.  Now the defense should have had time to catch its breath with timeouts and clock stoppages. 

But no, it’s a 99-yard, 15 play comedy that includes gains of 23,7,10,16,8,13,10,5 and finally a 7 yard TD to close the gap.

Now the offense needs to come up big.  Well, they don’t but they do gain two first downs again, flip the field again, knock 3:18 off the clock and pin the Texans at their own 5.  But as we have seen already, that is no challenge to Houston who gains 95 yards in 2:13 and ties the game with two-point conversion.

And remember the overtime?  Pinned again, Houston is forced, finally, into a mistake that wins the game for Baltimore.  Did the Ravens offense have the knock-out blow in the second half, NO.  I get that.  But that, folks, is one extremely poor defensive showing.  Tired?  Please…I was tired of watching them play like crap.  The offense could at least make some 1st downs.  The defense never stopped Houston after the 21-0 lead.  Never…until overtime.  Guess what, if they would have done it just once in the previous five drives, the game was over.

And for a town that always seems to be chasing the Steelers, chew on this.  In their past three games, Pittsburgh has scored 2 TDs (a 9 yard drive and one to begin the Buffalo game 3 weeks ago), fumbled twice, were picked off once, and punted 16 times.  Now they have kicked 9 field goals in that time.  You can win that way when you play great defense as Pittsburgh is doing.  The Ravens have done it before.  But this is not a great defense or a great offense.  Both have shortcomings.  Somehow they are 9-4.  And the NFL doesn’t offer up “gimme’s”.  So take it for what it is…an escape…and look forward to the next roller coaster ride on Sunday because my guess is we’ll need to scrounge up another 30-plus points versus the Saints…offense, defense and special teams again.