No Shame but plenty of blame to go ’round

October 20, 2009 | Chad Lamasa

With 2 seconds left on the clock Steve Hauschka missed a 44 yard field goal that would have won the game for the Ravens. Ever since the kick went wide everyone has been saying we should have kept Stover or Hauschka should be cut. Let’s calm down and look at this objectively now that some time has passed.
First of all it was a 44 yard kick. That’s not a gimme, even in a dome. Never mind the bad snap and set. Kickers are very habitual and even the slightest difference can mess them up. Remember last season when Stover missed several field goals early in the season? One of the reasons given was because the special teams coach wanted the ball snapped and set faster than what Stover had been used to.
Fans in this town are so fickle. When Stover was missing those kicks many people were saying it’s time for him to hang up his cleats. Now Hauschka has missed a couple and everyone wants Stover back. Well, he’s a Colt now, it’s not going to happen.
I understand Hauschka‘s job is to kick field goals, (I’ve heard that several times) but people make mistakes at their jobs. It happens.
In the other games this weekend seven kickers missed field goals. Feely (90%), Gostkowski (81%), Prater (75%), Kaeding (84%), Akers (75%) are among the names, should they all be replaced because they missed kicks? The Eagles fans probably think Akers should be, but that’s an entirely different issue.
John Carney (85%) the Saints kicker missed a PAT. Should he be replaced?
Hauschka (71%) is just below these guys.
Stover by comparison finished last season at 81%. In his second season in the league, which is what Hauschka is currently in, Stover only made 72% of his his FG attempts.  So let’s relax on trying to run Hauschka out of town.
Just like you can’t put Flacco in the Hall-of-Fame after only 25 games, you can’t judge Hauschka’s career yet. 
Sure he didn’t win the game for us but he also didn’t lose the game for us single handed either.
It was a team loss. However, if pressed to pick one person to hang the loss on, it would be Frank Walker for those two (and third in two games) terrible pass interference calls late in the game. Or possibly Fabian Washington for playing so poorly, the Ravens thought Walker was a better option.
Our defense has been suspect all season. Especially at the corner back position. We just can’t match up with bigger more physical wide receivers.
The Ravens aren’t getting the same kind of pressure on the QB’s that they have in the past. That may be partly due to injuries, losing Bart Scott, or just a change of defensive philosophy. Ray is playing great but he can’t make every play himself. Plus I think he’s lost a step. Two years ago he would have had that interception.
The run defense is not what it was either. After going 39 games without allowing a 100+ yard rusher, it has now happened in back-to-back games. Adrian Peterson you expect that from, but not Cedric Benson.
I think the Ravens are better than their 3-3 record would suggest. The three losses have come by a combined 10 points. Offense is up across the league. Rule changes seem to favor offensive players, which may also be a contributing factor to the down turn by the defense.
The team has had a dramatic shift from an offense that did enough to get by and a stifling defense, to a high flying offense and an average defense. This is a bit of shock to the fans and, I would assume, the team as well.
Joe Flacco and Ray Rice are well on their way to being superstars in the league and among the elite player at their positions.
Jared Gaither should be back the week after the bye which will allow Michael Oher to move back to his natural position. Mark Clayton and Derrick Mason are solid receivers, not on the elite level but just below.
Lardarius Webb has been a nice addition, and David Tyree should help bolster the special teams as well.
The bye week is coming at the perfect time. This is when the team needs to step back and address these issues. With only three games left against teams with losing records, the schedule isn’t going to get any easier.