Will Ravens continue to be haunted by the four deadly sins of defense in 2012?

November 04, 2012 | Nestor Aparicio

way into bad down and distance situations with penalties and poor execution.

I’m not a big fan about complaining about Cam Cameron or play calling most weeks. The definition of a good play call is one that works. As my partner Brian Billick has said many times, you have two choices — run or pass. So it’s always 50-50 but the first few possessions yesterday were a perfect blueprint for how the Ravens can be effective. A steady diet of Ray Rice spelled by Bernard Pierce and mixed with possession receptions by Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta with the ever-present possibility of Torrey Smith going long is a nice menu of weapons.

But it’s been inconsistent and comes in spurts with enough success to be dangerous but enough three-and-outs and punts to be maddening.

There are eight weeks left in the season and the Ravens get one more cream puff next week with the Oakland Raiders, who were soundly beaten at home by Tampa Bay on Sunday.

But then the road gets long and difficult as seven potential playoff opponents are waiting during the holidays.

So just who are the Ravens of 2012?

The team that belted the Cleveland Browns early on Sunday?

Or the sputtering mess we saw for the better part of three quarters for the rest of the afternoon before Flacco and Torrey Smith connected on a beautiful touchdown play to seal the win?

It’s hard to argue with a 6-2 start. It’s also impossible to not have a debate about the obvious deficiencies that other savvy NFL teams and coaches will look to exploit as we all turn to the egg nog and pumpkin pie.

The race is halfway over.

So far so good. But what we’ve seen so far might not be good enough to satiate the fan base’s burning desire for a Super Bowl winner.