Ripping Refs Is For Losers

September 17, 2012 | Thyrl Nelson

2. Predictable offense


It’s been a running theme in the Cam Cameron / John Harbaugh / Joe Flacco era and it reared its head again. The Ravens ran 39 of their 67 offensive snaps from the shotgun and ran the ball exactly twice from that set. The reason play action works so well for the Ravens is because it keeps the defense honest and makes them account for the pass. What the Ravens have done from the shotgun formation over the last several seasons essentially announces to the opposing defense that here will be no running. Opposing defenders are then free to pin their ears back and sell out to the pass. The Eagles took full advantage of those pre-snap “announcements” on Sunday. And again, where was the hurry up?


3. Free runners in the secondary


Maybe Bernard Pollard is much more of a “glue factor” for the defense than we gave him credit for, as the Ravens didn’t seem to be the same after his departure. Maybe it was Ed Reed being Ed Reed. He caught a tipped pass that basically fell into his lap, but he also allowed himself to be hurdled by Brent Celek and left Cary Williams absolutely naked on his over the top coverage on Jeremy Maclin’s touchdown. Maybe it was the lack of a pass rush, seemingly too tentative about not allowing Vick to run. Whatever the cause, Celek, Maclin (while he was in) and DeSean Jackson all ran mostly unmolested through the Baltimore secondary for most of the day. Dare I say Kyle Boller could have lit the Ravens up under those circumstances?


4. Michael Vick


The Ravens allowed a glorified running back to light them up through the air on Sunday. As much as many like to bash him (myself included) Vick torched the Ravens for 54 more yards than he had against the Browns last week on 24 less passing attempts. His knack for running the ball kept the Ravens off balance all day and allowed him to carve up their defense. The absence of Terrell Suggs and Jarret Johnson to contain the edges has left the Ravens defensive front gun-shy and on Sunday they paid the price.


5. The Eagles are good


Forget their struggles against the Browns in week 1; it sure looks like they did. The Ravens went on the road, in a short week against a team looking for a boost in confidence and hungry to get it. This was, in some ways, predictable. Vegas saw the Ravens as a 2-point underdog this week despite last week’s impressive showing. The Ravens to their credit held it to 1, which should be of no consolation to anyone.


3 Comments For This Post

  1. Mike Says:

    The idea that officiating crews do not affect the outcomes of games is at least perplexing and at most misguided. How can they not. If they didn’t you could make a case to get rid of them. To simply say that players have to overcome the mistakes of refs is, well, silly in a way and at the same time, true to some extent. Just like each team has to overcome what their opponent does. However, that is not to say that the mistakes of refs don’t affect and in some cases determine the outcome of games. Just like when the refs get it right – it also has an effect on the outcome. You cannot ignore refs’ mistakes anymore than you can ignore players’ mistakes or coaches’ mistakes. They all count and have a determining power in the equation. You cannot remove any one of them – either they all count or none of them do. Not to mention every time some talking head “expert” says the officials’ screw-ups don’t matter, the players just didn’t play hard enough – the NFL, MLB, NBA – all of them breathe a sigh of relief, “Ah, not being held accountable again.” No matter how concrete one is in their thinking, this is a simple and easily understood concept. This does not absolve players from putting forth maximum effort. It does not excuse coaches from putting-forth their maximum either. The officials overseeing the games – must be held to the same standard. And, on those occasions where coaches and players do their share, but the refs don’t – it does not dishonor any inherent truth about sports competition or life in general for that – to point it out. Though it is rare that an official’s gaffe outright determines the outcome of a game, when it does, it falls to you to acknowledge and even to assess blame. Indeed it is the duty of those in observation and commentary of these events, as is done for players and coaches, to do just that. It is a part of the calling. An important facet of what you do to protect the games we watch. If you will put yourself behind the paper and pencil, or the typewriter or computer or behind microphone, you take on this mantle.

  2. Timm Rogowski Says:


    Was that your thesis on “butt hurt” that you wrote to earn your doctorate?


    All Nelson is intimating by this article/blog is to NOT blame the refs for EVERY single loss.

    Ravens fans are notorious for this.

    One look at Facebook feeds will get how the league favors Pittsburgh and how the league hates Baltimore hence shoddy officiating which costs them games.

    It’s never Flacco’s failures and never can Ray Lewis miss a tackle but it is always that one call that should have been a first down or a touchdown that was the difference.

    If you can score a bunch more points than your opponent and NOT TURN THE BALL OVER, you will put yourself in such a place that a few bad calls won’t have the chance to cost you the game.

    THIS is what Nelson is implying.

    Play better. Score more. Don’t leave it in the hands of the judges in a fight by knocking out your opponent.

    Also, paper and pencil and typewriter?

    Do you still think sportswriters look like Jack Klugman from The Odd Couple?

  3. Mike Says:

    All fans everywhere complain about officiating, not just Raven’s fans. If you listen to fans in Pittsburgh they claim the refs are out to get them. I am saying that the refs have to be accountable just like the players and the coaches. What is wrong with that? They are integral to the process and when they don’t hold up their end, they impact the results. I am not saying that one should blame them for ANY loss, let alone “EVERY” loss. But if you allow substandard officiating, then you can’t complain about substandard coaching or play. They all count. This does not change the dynamic of effort required from the players and coaches. I don’t understand why anyone would think that holding the NFL and the officials they put forth accountable means that players and coaches get a pass. It doesn’t. Some of the animus toward the players is rooted in the amount of money they are paid. Many fans believe they should not have a say because they are earning huge paychecks. Rest assure, the NFL is happy to hear it. They much prefer not being held accountable. Call the players and coaches down all you want. But to function under the mistaken belief that bad officiating doesn’t have an impact on the game, I just don’t get it. And pointing out bad officiating is not whining – if you are in the reporting business it would be doing your job. Paper, and pencil and typewriters – I am willing to bet that there is some old-guy out there still using them. I didn’t want to leave him out. As for a doctoral thesis on “butt hurt.” No, I never reach that vaunted level of education. But I have the capacity to observe and learn. I hope to do so as long as I am breathing on my own. I would hope everyone would.

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