yesterday, 34-0 in Atlanta, and still looking for their own mojo as the NFC East race has become the tightest in the NFL.
Eli Manning will get his chance here next Sunday but big brother Peyton once again laid down the law in Baltimore on Sunday. Replete with John Elway watching from the sidelines, it’s like every old 33rd Street Colts fans’ worst nightmare. That’s nine wins in a row for No. 18 over the Ravens to start this millennium.
It truly feels like the Ravens will never solve Peyton Manning.
The troubles of the offense are glaring. The running game can’t move. The blocking is inconsistent and mostly poor. One-on-one matchups at the line are consistently being lost. The passing game has been hindered by injuries and lack of separation.
Last week Yahoo! sports reporter Jason Cole asked John Harbaugh a tough question about chaos in Baltimore. Now, with New York coming to town, every reporter will be sharpening the line of questioning as two massively disappointing squads will square off before Christmas.
The Ravens haven’t played well in over a month in any aspect of the game, except perhaps for punting, which Sam Koch has done a lot of over the past four games.
The defense is trying to get Ray Lewis back to the field after 10 weeks down and having played worst handful of games of his career. Terrell Suggs is obviously hurt. Ditto Haloti Ngata, who has not been the dominant force he’s been in previous years in the run stopping game. The secondary and linebacker corps are playing with rotations of 2nd and 3rd teamers trying to defend the likes of Peyton Manning’s wizardry.
As expected, it was a total mismatch. Despite getting almost adequate pressure on Manning, the Ravens secondary was exposed early enough to make it an easy afternoon for No. 18.
Suddenly, 9-2 feels like a long, long time ago.
Harbaugh will be called upon to lead this banged-up unit into January. This will certainly test his leadership and his fifth consecutive trip to the playoffs will certainly be his most treacherous.
The head coach has had his own fair share of gaffes in recent weeks and didn’t shine yesterday amidst the poor play of his team.
With three timeouts in his pocket and 36 seconds on the clock in the first half, he could’ve called a timeout before the Flacco interception. Certainly, he’s thrown some of the more bizarre red challenge flags that we’ve seen among NFL coaches. And I have no idea what he was thinking – or wasn’t – in not going for a two-point conversion, which would’ve made it a two-score game at 34-18.
But, more than anyone this side of Flacco, Harbaugh has his work cut out for him as the leader of these not-so-mighty-lately men of 53 tattered souls.
As he said in the postgame, the Ravens can still win the Super Bowl, which is their ultimate dream.
But a whole lot of things are going to need to change between now and 2013 for the Baltimore Ravens.