Let’s see now, this was a new way to lose, wasn’t it?
Had Matt Stover EVER missed a game-winning overtime field goal?
Nope, not until today.
And so goes the Ravens 2007 season. Some guy named Nick Griesen played for the Ravens today. I didn’t even know he was still on the team. Willie Gaston started in the defensive secondary. So did Corey Ivy. Both were liabilities. Edgar Jones also played for the Ravens. I thought the St. Louis Rams’ stadium was named after him, no? Who ARE these guys?
You want reality? How’s this for reality…the Ravens team that played the 4th quarter (and overtime) might not win a game in the league if that was their roster on opening day. Heart? Sure. Ability? Not much. Wins? Maybe none.
And still, despite playing guys who probably only DREAMED of playing in the NFL back in September, the Ravens had a chance to win if not for Stover’s untimely and unheard of miss in sudden death. You can’t blame him. Hell, there’s an argument Stover is the team’s offensive MVP of the 21st century.
A last minute drive engineered by Troy Smith and greatly assisted by Miami’s "prevent defense" led to a 16-16 tie in what could have been the spark for an interesting final two games (and it still might be, actually) — instead, it was merely a footnote to a 22-16 Ravens defeat in Miami that ended the Dolphins’ winless season and extended Baltimore’s losing skid to eight games.
Ray Lewis’ season is presumably over after he suffered a hand fracture and left the game.
Kyle Boller’s grasp on the starting QB job against Seattle and Pittsburgh is also presumably over as well. Mind you, Boller’s play today was difficult to judge given a woeful performance from the offensive line – but it’s safe to say the Ravens will go with Troy Smith over the last two games of the year. If the quarterback is going to get that kind of protection (if you call it that) from the offensive line, you might as well put the fleet footed Smith in and let him run for his life over the season’s final 120 minutes.
But the debate about Brian Billick’s play calling isn’t over. Not by a long shot. Faced with a 4th and 1 at the 1 yard line with 0:12 to play, Billick opted for a sure-thing field goal to send the game into overtime instead of a one-play, "winner take all" effort that would have either given Baltimore a win – or a loss.
But, Billick’s decision looked solid in sudden death when the Ravens moved into field goal position, but a 44-yard attempt from Matt Stover hooked left and gave the Dolphins new life. Minutes later, some guy I’ve never heard of named Camarillo beat Jamaine Winborne across the middle of the field and raced to the endzone to give Miami the improbable win.
Has any QB in the league WORSE than Cleo Lemon ever recorded a win in the NFL? I can’t imagine so. He makes Boller look like Joe Montana.
And the losing streak rolls on. You have to assume the last two games of the year are going to result in losses as well. Seattle will need a win next week and Pittsburgh might very well need a victory in Baltimore on December 30 to secure a playoff spot. Yep, these last two won’t be easy, that’s for sure.
If nothing else, we’ll get a good look at Troy Smith over the last couple of games, although it won’t be fair to make a full judgement on him given the injuries and the 4-10 record that will certainly make most of the veterans "less than interested". Still, it will give Smith a headstart on next summer’s QB competition at Westminster, that is, unless the Ravens select a quarterback with their first pick in the ’08 draft and hand him the starting gig hassle-free.
Miami looked like they had just clinched a playoff spot when the game ended.
Oddly enough, I found myself smiling a little bit when Camarillo hopped into the endzone. You had to feel a little good for those guys today.
You know what I’ve been saying for six years now…
"The toughest thing to do in sports is to stop losing."
Today, even Matt Stover couldn’t stop the skid.
And if he can’t, no one can.