There’s no reason to dance around the issue: yesterday’s loss hurts…it really hurts.
And the Steelers game may be the key game that keeps the Ravens out of the playoffs.
The Steelers straight-up, man-to-man, punched Baltimore in the mouth and beat the Ravens yesterday.
Not a low blow, just a fact.
I agree with Drew and most of the listeners to this station: you absolutely cannot score 9 points at home and expect to win a game against a good team. Ever.
This game will be debated for years to come in Baltimore. I’ll be the first to admit that the referees screwed us. It’s unfathomable to me that they could make that many one-sided mistakes in such a pivotal game.
Someone should tell John Voight…er, I mean Walt Coleman…to take off that Steelers underwear that he obviously wore under his uniform last night. This has yet to be confirmed, but Rico in Towson said that Coleman’s wife is from Pittsburgh.
Disclaimer: put as much stock in that as you feel necessary…honestly, I find it hard to believe. But if that’s true, maybe we have another Tim Donaghy situation on our hands?
I’m kidding (kind of), but conspiracy theories and joking aside, Walt Coleman and his crew called a terrible game on both sides of the ball. It just so happens that the Ravens got the short end of the stick when it mattered most.
Five things that went wrong:
5. Play calling – Cam Cameron’s play calling was way too conservative. I don’t think the Ravens passed the ball enough. Sorry, I should rephrase that. Flacco passed the ball 28 times, which probably fits right into the Ravens game plan. The Ravens just didn’t pass the ball in the right situations. And whatever happened to all of these trick plays? I know the Steelers defense is disciplined, but can’t we at least take a shot? I dunno…the Ravens seemed awfully predictable and the scoreboard reflected that.
4. Joe Flacco – Not one of his best games for sure. Flacco went 11/28 for 115 yards and two picks. We saw a rookie quarterback last night. Guess what? He faced the best defense in the NFL and they made him look like a rookie. I’ve said it all season: he’s going to have games like these, and he’ll probably have a few more that will be just as bad. But I honestly think that two or three years down the road, Big Ben won’t be able to wash his jock strap.
3. Willis McGahee – He might be ranked a little too high…if it weren’t for the defensive meltdown and the referees, he’d be the number one reason why the Ravens lost. But this guy came into training camp out of shape, and he has proven to be nothing more than a liability in the last three weeks. He dropped two balls, including a potential first down that would have extended a drive. And let’s not get started on that whiffed block…pathetic. Maybe Flacco should have recognized the blitz, but that would not have been a factor if McGahee could have blocked somebody.
2. Walt Coleman and the “Referees” - what’s the use of Instant Replay if the referees can’t get the call right? We’ll get to the touchdown catch in a second…how about the first down that wasn’t? How about the delay of game that was never called? What about the blatant 15 yard face mask penalty on Le’Ron McClain that was never called? I’m not one to blame anything on the refs for a loss, because if Flacco doesn’t overthrow Mason in the end zone or if Mason gets big on Ike Taylor to catch a jump ball, we’re talking about a Ravens win. But it’s hard to debate that the officiating was absolutely atrocious last night. We all saw the replays, and I don’t want to bust open any emotional scabs, but…I still can’t believe what I saw last night. And what’s worse? Head of NFL Officiating Mike Pereira backed Coleman, saying that the call was right but it wasn’t explained properly. Really? Don’t patronize me…even the talking heads on ESPN who usually are anti-Baltimore were confused about the call. Don’t urinate on my head and tell me it’s raining.
1. The Defense - Yeah, I said it. This is the third time this season that the Ravens fell back into a prevent defense, sometimes rushing only two down lineman, and it came back to bite them in the backside. This is why they’re the second-best defense in the NFL and not the best. We saw the best defense in the NFL last night and they weren’t wearing purple. When push comes to shove and a win is on the line in a close game against a good team, they’ve only proven that all they can do is write checks that their mouths can’t cash. However, Fabian Washington played like a rock star last night. If he didn’t pull his hamstring, we could be singing a different tune in Charm City today. You can’t blame the officials for coverage break downs. Sorry, but as a Ravens fan, I expect more out of Ray, Ed, and Suggs.
Check back tomorrow for Five Reasons To Be Excited about the 2008 Ravens season.