After Sunday’s loss to the Eagles, fans are still trying to figure out how that game slipped out of the grasp of John Harbaugh. There is a long list of reasons why this team didn’t leave Philadelphia 2-0; the refs are not one of them. Though there were some bad calls, some terrible calls and just a lack of control on the field, as things were chippy throughout the game (which probably should have resulted in ejections for DeSean Jackson, Cary Williams and Ray Rice). But that went both ways, the Eagles endured just as many issues with the refs, making that excuse a moot point when looking at the results.
Two things really stood out as the key problems for the Ravens; Joe Flacco’s inaccuracy and Ed Reed’s bad game. To the first point, the QB was not nearly as precise as he was on last Monday night versus the Bengals. A lot of the credit can be placed on the Eagles defensive line, namely their ends, as when they were not hitting or sacking Flacco, were at least constantly at his feet. The pocket was very uncomfortable the whole game, as the biggest issue heading into the season, the state of the offensive line, was exposed. Passes were errant up until the last offensive snap, as Flacco only completed 52% of his passes.
The latter of the problems is simply an anomaly here in Baltimore; Ed Reed is a sure fire Hall of Famer, but just had an off day. Though he reeled in another interception, it was off a tipped ball that fell into his lap. Reed was slow to swing coverage all game; a key play being DeSean Jackson’s catch down the sideline while the Eagles were backed up to the 7 yard line. That drive eventually ended up in Reed’s pick but the swing in field position was a devastating blow to the defense, as the offense could only muster a 51 yard field goal from Justin Tucker.
And then you must look at Brent Celek, as not only did he embarrass Reed with that leap over him, but was blatantly open the entire game. Now, that is not all Reed’s fault but he was responsible for his coverage a lot, while also being responsible for help over the top in the middle of the field (where Celek did most his damage with 157 yards). There is probably good odds that the tight end was not the first, second or third concerns for Dean Pees defensive game-plan.
So while looking at that game, the refs stood out as a problem for the league but not the problem for the Ravens. Those players know the loss is on them and will get back to the castle with renewed focus for a big game Sunday for the Patriots. Let’s hope they can figure out the coverage issues, with Gronkowski coming to town.