Tag Archive | "Denver Broncos"

“Live…from New York…it’s WNST.”

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“Live…from New York…it’s WNST.”

Posted on 27 January 2014 by Drew Forrester

OK, so we’re here in New York for a week of radio from “radio row” in the NY Sheraton in Manhattan.

So far, so good.

I did put one cab driver on blast Sunday afternoon who was beeping the horn behind us as we unloaded our bags in front of our hotel.  The scene reminded me of the stupidity of booing the home team at a sporting event.  You think I’m going to get my bags out more quickly because you’re beeping the horn like an impatient fool on a Sunday afternoon?

I didn’t watch the Grammy’s last night.

I didn’t watch the Royal Rumble with Glenn and Luke.

I forgot the Pro Bowl was on, honestly, until Nestor said, “We should watch the Pro Bowl for a few minutes of comedic intervention” and I mumbled something about my iPod and wanting to listen to The Pet Shop Boys Greatest Hits.  I can proudly say I didn’t watch one play, although I’ll admit – having seen the highlights this morning – the uniforms were pretty cool.

The only sports I watched on Sunday?  The PGA Tour event from Torrey Pines, won by Scott Stallings at -9 after everyone else with a chance gagged it down the stretch.  That’s a nice win for Stallings, who now has three victories on TOUR.  He drove it all over the lot on the back nine, but managed a bunch of nifty up-and-downs and made birdie putts at #17 and #18 to win.  Tiger got Jordan Spieth’d on Friday when the kid posted 62 and TW shot 73, then Woods threw up a 79 on Saturday and ducked out a day early thanks to the rarely used “too many guys in the field” rule that resulted in a “MDF” (made cut, did not finish).

Speaking of Spieth, despite his shaky short game on the back nine Sunday, this is the guy the TOUR has been waiting for since the early part of last decade when Tiger blazed through the entire roster of potential competitors, leaving guys like Duval, Garcia, Els and Mickelson in his wake.  Spieth is the real deal.  The only thing he has to be leery of is the much-discussed “golf burnout” that players of his age (20) sometimes get when they arrive on the scene and start making $300,000 for shooting five under par and want to play in every single event on the schedule.  I’m sure Spieth has someone to guide him through this, his first full season, on TOUR, and he’ll handle the workload just fine, but it’s the only thing that can set him back over the long haul.

That’s it for now.

Luke and I are getting ready to launch WNST’s forty hours of live coverage of Super Bowl 48, so I better end this edition of Drew’s Morning Dish and get to the microphone.

Stay warm back there in Charm City.

 

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If you’re going to be 5-6, this is a good season for it…

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If you’re going to be 5-6, this is a good season for it…

Posted on 25 November 2013 by Drew Forrester

Think about the teams that are still very much alive in the AFC playoff picture.

The Titans are currently the 6th seed and they lost to Jacksonville – at home – three weeks ago.  And Ryan Fitzpatrick is their quarterback.

The Steelers are now 5-6 after starting the season 0-4.  Minnesota beat them.

The Chargers are 5-6 and they couldn’t beat the Redskins or Miami this season.

Miami is 5-6 but they’re 5-6 because they’re not very good.  They’re going nowhere.

The Jets are — well, never mind.  I don’t care that they’re 5-6, the Jets have ZERO CHANCE of making the playoffs.  They’re officially the one 5-6 team who can’t make it.  Not with that kid at quarterback.

So, as the Ravens and Steelers get ready to do battle on Thursday night, John Harbaugh’s team is 5-6 and right there in the mix for a 6th straight post-season berth.

The Thanksgiving night game will likely doom the loser, particularly if it’s Baltimore since the Steelers won the first match-up between the two teams back on October 20.

It’s not quite an elimination game, but it’s awfully close.

I suspect the Thursday night affair will have a little more excitement than Sunday’s snore-fest between the Ravens and Jets.  I’ve seen chess matches with more action than that thing produced yesterday.

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By the way, speaking of the NFL playoffs, you can take this to the bank.

Denver isn’t going to the Super Bowl.

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Hats off to coach Pete Caringi and his son, Pete III, for a phenomenal soccer season at UMBC.

The Retrievers fell in the cruelest of manners on Sunday night, losing to UConn in penalty kicks (3-2) after the two teams battled to a 2-2 regulation tie in their NCAA second round playoff game at Retriever Soccer Park.

I get it.  You have to figure out a way to produce a winner.  But ending a playoff game like that is just a terrible way to do it.  Then again, that’s how they decide World Cup games once the teams reach the knockout stage.

The stands were packed last night and the atmosphere was electric, despite the cold temperatures and windy conditions.

It’s a shame only two media members in town decided to give UMBC’s soccer season any coverage.  They were a great story throughout the Fall and did themselves proud in winning the America East regular season and conference tournament.

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Wes_Welker_Drop_John_Harbaugh_Replay_Ravens_Broncos

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RAVENS LOSE BRAGGING RIGHTS EARLY

Posted on 09 September 2013 by Tom Federline

The NFL Kickoff Celebration last Thursday evening simply just started off all wrong. First and foremost the game was not in Baltimore. Ohhhhhh, we will let Keith Urban sing on a barge for you and set up a few tents and call them the NFL Village, but no game. The NFL schedules the reigning Super Bowl Champs “kickoff game”, to be played on a Thursday night in conflict with another professional sports team schedule, against a team you upset in the playoffs on their home turf. Hey Baltimore, hey MLB, here’s the deal, we know your schedule is already set, change it or go to Denver. How wrong was that? Wasn’t the 2012 opening game on a Wednesday night (Giants-Cowboys)? Orioles were away on Wednesday. What’s up NFL? Second, NFL football is played beginning at 1:00pm, on Sunday afternoons. Not on Thursday nights. I do not watch football on Thursday, unless it is Thanksgiving. If the NFL wants to put on a show, then do it Monday Night, one game and start the pre-game at 7:00. Conclude the Kickoff Weekend showcasing the Super Bowl winner and their home city. I do not know the whole story behind the scheduling deal, but the Orioles, White Sox, MLB and the NFL should have worked it out. Baltimore was not given it’s due.

After swallowing the pill that the Ravens are NOT opening up at home, I turn on the tube to hear Bob Costas continually reminding us – the game is NOT being played and how Denver has been preparing for this game since their “surprising” loss to Baltimore in the playoffs. I also am not a fan of what the 30 commentators are predicting for the 2013 season for 2 hours. Screw the pagentry, “Let’s Get it Started” – (Black Eyed Peas). It’s 8:20 and I am ready for some football – BANG, time to screw with the Ravens again, potential storm rolling through, maybe some lightning – 40 minute delay in start of game. Visions of the “power outage FIX” from the Super Bowl dance through my head. I fully understand to be prepared for the worst and safety first. I also fully understand that it is mandated that all professional stadiums be provided with lightning protection in an attempt to gaurd against a storm tragedy. You have to err on the side of caution, but the delay at that time, just piled on another negative in the prelude to a disastrous night.

The Ravens were walking into the Broncos corral and there was no room for any Raven birds. The Ravens held their own in the first half. The 20 million dollar man came out respectable. But then we got to witness the “Rocknut Play of the first half”, Brynden Trawick – blowing up Jacoby Jones. How you run into your own man on a punt return is a total rocknut move. He did not just take out the Ravens kick returner, not just the 3rd place contestant on Dancin’ With the Stars, he took out the Ravens #2 wide receiver, It wasn’t just a glancing blow, it was an all out full speed, lapse of concentration, blow up. Jones may be out for 2 months or the year. Dallas Clark dropping that TD catch at the end of the half didn’t help. Michael Oher getting his ankle rolled on, also didn’t help. All more negatives leading up to………….

The second half. That was down right embarrassing. The embarassment could have been delayed, but the tsunami named Manning was coming. It could have been delayed if…. Horribaugh listened to his cornerback, Corey Graham and thrown the “non-challenge flag”. Welkers dropped “catch”. It probably would have not changed the outcome, but it could have changed the sequence of events that followed in that 3rd quarter.

For Horribaugh to say the next day, “he never saw a replay” or “the replay was to slow”, is a cop-out. Horribaugh and his coaching staff, blew it. From that point on, the floodgates opened, the defenses weakness was exposed, the offensive line was truly o-ffensive and the Ravens imploded. Game over. Reigning Super Bowl Champs bragging rights over.

Wait-a-minute, the Ravens weren’t the only ones embarassed. We have to acknowledge the “Rocknut play of the 2nd half”, which went to the Bronco cat who dropped the ball prior to the goal line on the non-pick-6. A successful crossing of the goal line on that one, would have just made the debacle even worse.

Ravens need a lot of work. If they don’t do anything with the o-ffensive line and that vulnerable defensive backfield, it’s going to be an ugly year. If they remain status quo, the 20 million dollar man which I read works out to $170,000.00/per day, may have trouble earning his pay. A few questions: 1. Who will rise to be the new leader on defense? 2. Can Yanda pull o-ffensive line together? 3. When will Ray be back to coach? Hey Johnny, miss those coat-tails yet? 4. The real reason why Anquan Boldin was let go? It’s gonna be a long year.

D.I.Y.
Fedman

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The Injury Bug

Posted on 29 July 2013 by timjones60

Training Camp hasn’t even been in session for a week with most teams and already several players have been bit by the injury bug. The Ravens own Dennis Pitta is out for the season with a fractured and dislocated hip. Right up I-95 the Eagles lost Receiver and Return Specialist Jeremy Maclin to a torn ACL. And finally out in the mountains the Broncos are trying to talk retired center and former Colt Jeff Saturday to make a return due to the loss of their starting center Dan Koppen. The bug has bitten hard so far this season with SEVEN confirmed season ending injuries in less than a week.

Another interesting take is that we haven’t even reached the first preseason game which will take place this Sunday. Players seem to go down more often in the first couple of days of camp, but when players are going full speed in game type situations, injuries could be abundant.

The NFL has confirmed over 80 players have started the season with an injury, and multiple Ravens are on that list. Now these injuries aren’t likely going to change the outcome of this seasons teams. But the teams will be forced to adjust and how they adjust is how teams could lose out on playoff hopes.

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Schedule-Gate 2013: Ravens Win…Fans Whine

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Schedule-Gate 2013: Ravens Win…Fans Whine

Posted on 25 March 2013 by Thyrl Nelson

Lets’ face it, when it comes to generating bad PR, the Orioles haven’t needed any help for a long time; but whether deserved or not, with a helping hand from NBC, Steve Bisciotti, the Ravens and Roger Goodell, the O’s are unfairly taking the brunt of the criticism for the fallout from Schedule-Gate 2013.

It’s a topic that’s been discussed ad nauseum for the better part of the last couple of weeks, and now that it’s been resolved (or at least decided) I’m going to take one last lick at this dead horse before we put it to bed…until the beginning of September that is, when we’re sure to dig it back up and beat it to death all over again.

 

For now, it’s time for Ravens fans to let go of the “woe is us” and realize that this couldn’t have worked out any better for the team.

 

In the Harbaugh era, and to some degree before it, there are two giant hammers that the Ravens have wielded consistently. The Ravens have been near impossible to beat at home, and are undefeated when they’ve had extra rest or opportunity to prepare for an opponent. There’s no need to swing both of those hammers at the same time, and all Schedule-Gate has done is prevented the Ravens from having to.

 

I get that fans want to celebrate the team’s Super Bowl win with the whole world watching; but what’s best for the team? It’s kind of laughable that those who consider themselves fans of the Ravens suddenly seem to be more interested in having center stage for themselves for one night in September, than they are in giving the Ravens their best opportunity at winning enough games to possibly make another Super Bowl run.

 

The Harbaugh era Ravens are 5-0 in opening games and 14-0 when having 10 or more days to prepare for an opponent (including openers). It’s probably also worth mentioning that 4 of those 5 opening game wins have been at home (so much for the “NFL is out to get us” angle). Now that it’s decided that the Ravens will open on the road, there are only 3 games that should be up for consideration for the NFL’s showcase. Not coincidentally, those games happen to be the Ravens 3 toughest looking road games as well (Pittsburgh, Cincinnati or Denver). Since there’s no avoiding having to play those games anyway, doing it in the first week of the season is ideal.

 

It’s better to get Peyton Manning and Wes Welker in the first game of the year, when they’re still trying to figure one another out, and probably more ideal to get in and out of Denver before the frost settles in. While it by no means insures the Ravens will win; it seems to give them their best chance to win. In fact, if we can get over our hurt feelings for long enough to think about the good of the team, ideally the Ravens would open in Denver, and then on the back of 10 days rest head to either Pittsburgh or Cincinnati, and then return to Baltimore for the home opener.

 

It’s also worth mentioning that opening on Thursday night has not always precluded teams from having to play another Thursday game in the same season. Given that the Ravens are defending Super Bowl champions, it would seem likely that they’ll get their maximum 5 prime time games, and that there’s a real possibility that they’ll have another Thursday game. Opening on Thursday, on the road would not only prevent the Ravens from having to be ready for Thursday night on 3 days rest, but would also virtually insure that if they did get a 2nd Thursday game it would be in Baltimore, with another (likely tough) opponent having to prepare and travel on short rest.

 

So if we’re keeping score at home, the NFL played the role of bully on behalf of NBC, and tried to impose themselves on the Orioles. The Orioles held their ground and as a result are stuck with a September 5th game that is sure to be a dog attendance-wise because it’s going up against the Ravens opener. The Ravens by opening on the road against a tough opponent will have a likely better chance to win a tough road game than they would otherwise, and may still get a Thursday home game with significant, inherent advantages built in. Someone remind me again why everyone is so mad at the Orioles over this. Oh yeah…it’s because we miss out on the chance to scream “look at us” to the football world while pounding our chests, right?

 

Sign me up, 10 times out of 10, for the schedule formula that gives the Ravens the best shot at being a playoff team, or a division winner, or a home playoff game host, or a bye week possessor. Frankly I’m shocked that Ravens fans are having such trouble grasping this one. I thought better of most of you.

 

Lastly, if the locker room somehow sees this as a slight, as fans clearly have, then it facilitates the mentality that has seemed to serve them so well lately. It’s Baltimore against the world as usual. If that works, so be it. But the Ravens are the winners in this mess; it’s just that some folks’ sensitivity won’t allow them to see it.

 

 

 

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Broncos Busted on to Beating Brady

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Broncos Busted on to Beating Brady

Posted on 15 January 2013 by Thyrl Nelson

When I wrote a few months ago that the Ravens had the look of a championship team, I certainly had my doubts about them actually being able to live up to the legacies of the Packers and Giants as the league’s previous 2 champions by catching lightning in a bottle at just the right time. That however is exactly what has happened so far, and now for the 3rd time in 5 years the Ravens find themselves within one game of the Super Bowl.

The funny thing about the week leading up to the game in Denver was that on paper at least, it seemed to be the most daunting task the Ravens had faced in the playoffs since the Flacco, Harbaugh et al era began. It sounded strange to say that, while still holding out hope that they could win, because obviously they’ve been ousted from the playoffs in each of the last 4 years by teams that didn’t look nearly as frightening as the Broncos seemed to be.

 

The one saving grace in that expectation was that the previous most daunting playoff match-up in Ravens playoff history was probably their game against the Tennessee Titans in their run to Super Bowl 35, and of course we all remember how that one ended.

 

If we were looking for the defining moments and match-ups in Saturday’s game that helped to propel the Ravens to victory we could likely spend at least as long as they spent playing the game…perhaps even longer doing it. Here however are my 7 key elements to Saturday’s win against the Broncos and the questions that arise as a result, relative to the AFC title game and the New England Patriots.

 

#1 – The Offensive Line

 

The newly retooled offensive line has come to play so far in the playoffs and on Saturday they were more than impressive in stymieing the likes of Von Miller, Elvis Dumervil and company. Bryant McKinnie was great at left tackle, Michael Oher was comfortable and dominant restored to his natural right tackle spot, Kelechi Osemele seems much better suited (at least for now) at the left guard where he was able to work in concert with Matt Birk, and almost everything the Ravens do on the ground begins with Marshal Yanda who seems healthy once again.

 

The Ravens Offensive line was so effective at stopping a previously dominant Denver pass rush that the Broncos secondary as a result was exposed. The additional time that the Ravens offense had to let routes develop downfield showed weaknesses in the Denver secondary that arguably no one, even the Broncos, knew that they had. Say what you want about Rahim Moore as the goat in Saturday’s game, but at least part of the issue with is big missed play has to be attributed to the fact that he was forced into a role that he hadn’t had to play all year because the Denver corners weren’t able to maintain man coverage vs. the Ravens.

 

The Question: Having dealt effectively with 2 pretty good edge rushing defenses, how do the Ravens, and particularly Matt Birk deal with New England’s interior rush and the disruptive capabilities of Vince Wilfork who was dominant in last year’s AFC title game?

 

#2 – Variety of Weapons

 

I’ve made arguments throughout the Flacco era in Baltimore that he hasn’t been sufficiently armed with the types of weapons that seemingly every other high level quarterback has at his disposal. That still may be the case, but since Jim Caldwell has taken over the offensive reigns the Ravens have used the middle of the field much more effectively. Torrey Smith has shown tremendous upside in his downfield blocking of late and Anquan Boldin has been a deep threat at times. Ed Dickson has returned to the lineup providing some much needed blocking assurance, and Jacoby Jones has been reincorporated into the offense. Add Bernard Pierce and his complimentary running style to Ray Rice’s and suddenly, despite the lack of any superstars in the receiving corps, Baltimore has a variety of weapons that all have to be accounted for equally. As a result, their ability of spread defenses out, and accept what the defense is allowing has enabled Joe Flacco, behind that newly retooled offensive line, to sit back and pick the opposition apart.

 

The Question(s): Which Flacco target will be the key against New England’s suspect pass defense?

If Bernard Pierce is unable to go, how much faith can the Ravens have in Anthony Allen to spell Ray Rice?

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Here’s a tip from the top: Please don’t whine (again) this week as Ravens head to AFC title game

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Here’s a tip from the top: Please don’t whine (again) this week as Ravens head to AFC title game

Posted on 14 January 2013 by Drew Forrester

Well, the Ravens did their part on Saturday in Denver.

Now, let’s see if the fans in Baltimore can follow suit and do their part this week.

I was watching Joel Osteen on Sunday morning and he delivered such a timely, connecting message for Baltimore football fans that I just had to write about it today.

It doesn’t hurt that I tried to get the same message through everyone’s thick heads last week, but now that the Ravens have disposed of the Broncos and are headed to the AFC title game, I figured I’d bring up Osteen’s message and weave it into something worth reading here at WNST.net.

Osteen’s theme on Sunday morning was “Don’t let someone else take your joy from you.”  He went on to ask that you stay focused on what’s important to you and what matters most and to not let others take away your joy and happiness.  His message related to God.  Mine relates to football.

Last week, a lot of you — so many, in fact, I became agitated at first and then, later, just embarrassed – spent a great deal of time complaining and bellyaching about the “Ravens don’t have a chance” angle most of the national media were focused on as the lead-up to the game in Denver.

I must have had 25 calls about it and four times that many e-mails.  Whining, moaning, complaining, fretting.  ”I don’t understand why they’re not giving the Ravens more love…”

“I’m so fed up with the national media…why don’t they give us a chance? – waaaahh, waaaaaah, waaaaaah…”

“All I keep hearing about is Denver and Peyton and how Brady and Manning would be a great AFC title game, blah, blah, blah.”

SHUT UP ALREADY!!! I said to myself under my breath about a hundred times last week.

You could have done so much more with your time last week.  Rather than go on and on and on – and on and on and on – about how “no one likes the Ravens”, you could have walked your neighbor’s dog or washed your car or called an old friend just to shoot the breeze.

Instead, you called ME and just made a whining fool of yourself, complaining about something some guy wrote in Denver…or crying because Skip Bayless thinks “the Ravens don’t have a chance.”  Those people are paid to get you to watch, read, listen and react accordingly.

And, as I tried to tell you for five straight days last week – with the scoreboard supporting me on this Saturday night – the game will be played by the players and NOTHING anyone says or writes about it during the week before will have any bearing on the outcome.

Yet, you guys cried every single time you heard or read something disrespectful to the Ravens.

It was so unbecoming to hear it and read it over and over last week.  Like the teacher said in “Breakfast Club” — “I expected more from a varsity letterman.”

I expected more from you people last week.  Really, I did.

(Please see next page)

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A four-part summary of an easy Ravens win over Indy

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A four-part summary of an easy Ravens win over Indy

Posted on 06 January 2013 by Drew Forrester

If you’re looking for some points-of-light besides the Ray Lewis story, I’ll go ahead and give you some.  I’m sure everyone else in the media will handle the Ray-retirement angle, so I’ll look back at Sunday’s 24-9 whipping of Indianapolis and give you four different things on which to chew.

Not in any order of importance, mind you, but here’s what happened on Sunday.

The stage was too big for Luck

Sure, he threw for a handful more yards (six) than Joe Flacco.  He also had thirty-one more attempts.  Yes, you read that right.  The kid had 288 yards on 54 attempts while his opponent in purple was an effective 12-for-23 for 282 yards.  Luck’s QB rating was woeful (59.8) while Flacco’s was superb (125.6).

Simply put, Andrew Luck wasn’t very good on Sunday afternoon.

Now, let’s note right from the start that his offensive line was horrendous.  And that’s being kind.

But the golden boy from Stanford – the likely Rookie of the Year in the NFL – was hardly a threat all afternoon, particularly in the first half when he looked completely rattled.  His deep balls had too much air under them and his inability to sniff out pressure led to far too many scrambles and errant throws.  Luck did settle down in the second half and was a tad better, but years from now he’ll look back on this performance and wince at how rookie-ish he looked for most of the day.

He’ll have plenty of big games in his career, but Sunday’s outing in Baltimore surely wasn’t one of them.

McKinnie steps in and steps up

With left guard Jah Reid out, John Harbaugh was forced to shuffle his offensive line on Sunday, and the emergency nod went to veteran Bryant McKinnie, who played left tackle in place of Michael Oher, who was switched to right tackle so that Kelechi Osemele could sub for Reid at right guard.  Get it?  McKinnie was the big benefactor of the Reid injury, and the Ravens prospered as well, as the big man put together a nice afternoon protecting Joe Flacco.

A week ago in Cincinnati, McKinnie saw extensive playing time in the final three quarters and to say he looked disinterested would be like saying Ray Lewis looked “sort of” fired up for Sunday’s home finale.

McKinnie has spent most of the 2012 season on the bench.  He’s also spent most of the season out-of-shape, overweight and, when pressed into duty, he’s been largely ineffective, no pun intended.

But Harbaugh got him to break a sweat last week in practice when Reid wasn’t able to suit up and the 5th year coach rolled the dice that his veteran left tackle might actually try in the Colts game.

It was a gamble, of course, for Harbaugh saw just one week before in Cincinnati that McKinnie’s series-by-series effort was basically a coin flip.

But the decision worked out for the coach and the offense, as McKinnie stood up to Dwight Freeney for four quarters and kept Flacco upright virtually all day long.

(Please see next page)

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Ravens get blasted by Broncos; Flacco, Harbaugh have long days ahead

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Ravens get blasted by Broncos; Flacco, Harbaugh have long days ahead

Posted on 16 December 2012 by Drew Forrester

After the Ravens were eliminated by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs on January 15, 2011, lots of folks in town were bellyaching about the (hopeful) removal of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.

At the team’s “State of the Ravens” press conference a week or so later, owner Steve Bisciotti  explained his personal philosophy for retaining Cameron despite an up-and-down offensive performance from the unit he supervised during the regular season and playoffs.

“I know John’s feeling is we like Cam under fire next season as our offensive coordinator,” Bisciotti said that day, effectively supporting his coach by not ursurping his authority and firing Cameron because he has the right to make such a move.

Well, Cameron is gone now, having been dismissed by Bisciotti last Sunday night after the Ravens fell in Washington, 31-28 in OT just hours before.

So, Cameron is no longer under fire.

But someone else is and his name is Joe Flacco.

The Ravens dropped a 3rd straight game on Sunday, getting run out of the gym by the Denver Broncos, 34-17 at M&T Bank Stadium.  It would have been 41-17 or 48-17 if Denver needed bonus points on their checking account.  They basically just walked around throughout the 4th quarter and played keep-away with a 21-point lead.

And with the fan’s scapegoat, Cameron, now no longer part of the problem, Flacco has clearly become public enemy #1.

There’s an argument that he should be, based mainly on a horrible throw at the end of the first half that completely changed the game.  With Denver up 10-0, Flacco drove the offense down the field and had a first and goal on the 4-yard line when the 5th year quarterback tried a quick snap throw in the flat to Anquan Boldin.  The ball was picked off and returned 98 yards for a TD and a 10-7 game suddenly became 17-0.  And, of course, that was all she wrote, as Baltimore fell to 9-5 and dropped consecutive home games for the first time in five seasons.

Should Harbaugh and/or Flacco have called a time-out there?  Absolutely.  They had three to burn – and a rookie offensive coordinator in the booth.  Get a time-out there, get yourself situated, and make the game a 3-point affair heading to the locker room.

Blame that on Harbaugh if you want, or Flacco, since he’s a big boy and he’s been around long enough to know better, but one way or the other, someone has to call a time-out there and get things settled down.

Yes, that throw and the resulting interception return for a TD changed the game.

But I don’t think it cost the Ravens the game.

They weren’t winning this one, no matter how many times they got down there to the 4-yard line.  An undermanned Ravens defense actually did well to only allow Denver 27 points.

This one, honestly, was on Flacco and the offense.  Again.

But the quarterback doesn’t deserve all the blame.  The offensive line continues to be a trainwreck.  The wide receivers looked disinterested most of the afternoon.  And once it got to be 31-3, it almost looked like some guys had – ahem – “stopped trying” if you know what I mean.

(Please see next page) 

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Ravens Loss is No Big Deal

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Ravens Loss is No Big Deal

Posted on 03 December 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

There’s plenty of blame to go around in the aftermath of the Ravens loss on Sunday at the hands of the Steelers, and I’m quite certain we’ll be assessing that blame and going over the shortcomings of the team for the majority of this week on the airwaves and blogosphere at WNST.net. In the grander scheme of things however, this should have been an easy outcome to predict. It can be simplified as easy as the following; the Ravens had little to play for on Sunday and the Steelers had everything to play for.

Knowing what we know about both of those teams, we should have known enough. Ravens and Steelers has been universally recognized as football’s best current rivalry and for some the best rivalry in sports period. That legacy didn’t begin with Joe Flacco and Ben Roethlisberger; they just made it more interesting. For the last 12 years at least, through Kyle Boller and Anthony Wright and Jeff Blake and Troy Smith, through Tommy Maddox and Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon and Byron Leftwich, the Ravens vs. the Steelers has been, more often than not, a slugfest decided by a minimal number of points in the latest stages of the game. There was no reason to guess that this one would be any different.

 

A loss would have dropped the Steelers to 6-6 and put a serious damper on their playoff hopes. It wasn’t exactly do or die for Pittsburgh, but it’s about as close as it gets in week 13 of the NFL season. For the Ravens however, a win didn’t mean much. A win over the Steelers, coupled with a Bengals loss at San Diego would have cemented the AFC North for the Ravens, but for all intents and purposes the Ravens are the AFC North champions. Whether it became official in week 13 or has to wait until week 16 or 17, it’s near impossible to imagine the Ravens not winning the division.

 

A win on Sunday would have had the Ravens playing the Broncos in Week 15 with the second seed in the AFC and a first round bye in the balance. A loss on Sunday has still left the Ravens looking ahead to a week 15 showdown with the Broncos with the second seed in the AFC and a first round bye in the balance. All Sunday’s loss vs. the Steelers did for the Ravens was to delay their inevitable clinching of their own division, and to serve internal notice that there’s still work to be done.

 

The Steelers played like a team that needed desperately to win on Sunday; that’s because they were a team desperate to win on Sunday. Pittsburgh, coming off of two consecutive losses (in their own division no less) is left with no choice but to embrace the remainder of the season with a playoff caliber of urgency. The Ravens on the other hand had nothing really to gain from a win on Sunday, and they also played just that way. Assuming that the Texans can’t be caught, as I think most do, the Ravens could afford to lose one of their final 5 games and still hold onto their second spot in the AFC as long as that loss didn’t come against Denver. Now they’ve lost it and restored a sense of urgency (hopefully) to the remainder of the season.

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