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.