Well, we weren’t gonna win ’em all anyway.
How’s that for being Mr. Positive this morning?
Actually, there IS a positive from Thursday night’s ass kicking in Denver.
The Ravens’ team plane landed safely at BWI Airport just before 6am Friday morning.
Unfortunately, the entire defensive backfield was on the flight. I’m kidding. I think…
How ugly was the 49-27 de-balling in Denver? There were Old Mill High School cheerleaders who were more pretty back in 1981. (Yeah, I know…hard to believe.)
After looking very much like a defending Super Bowl champion through 30 minutes of season-opening football, the Ravens imploded over the final two quarters Thursday night, embarrassing themselves in front of a national TV audience and leaving themselves open to a plethora of questions over the next ten days before the Browns come to town as the home-opener-sacrificial lamb on September 15.
Where to start?
As my Dad used to tell me, “this is going to hurt ME a lot more than it’s going to hurt YOU…”
It hurts me to put Dallas Clark on blast — he just showed up here three weeks ago. But, that drop at the end of the first half was a real momentum killer. It reminded me of last January’s AFC championship game in New England when Tom Brady and Co. botched the final half minute of the second quarter and were forced to kick a field goal to go up 13-7 instead of 17-7 at the intermission. There’s a huge difference between being up six points (one score) and ten points (two scores). If Clark catches that ball late in the second quarter, it’s 21-14 instead of 17-14. Would the Ravens have gone on to win if Flacco and Clark connect for a TD there? Probably not. Read that again: Probably not. In other words — who knows?
The Jacoby Jones injury was huge. An already suspect Baltimore receiving corps was reduced to nothing more than Torrey Smith and newcomer Marlon Brown — and although both of those guys acquitted themselves well on Thursday night, you’re not beating anyone in the league with just those two players.
Michael Oher got hurt and rookie Rick Wagner came in. The best part of the night for Wagner? His name was spelled correctly on the back of his jersey. Other than that, it was a complete disaster. Red-headed step children all over the country were feeling bad for him.
The good news for Gino Gradkowski? Because Wagner had to play, GG wasn’t the worst Ravens offensive lineman on Thursday night. Can we blame Matt Birk for that one? After all, he took Gradkowski under his wing a year ago. I’m joking, of course. That said, Gradkowski was pushed back and shoved around more than Eminem’s ex-wife Kim.
Cornerback Corey Graham had so many holes in his game the Ravens gave him a kevlar vest to start the 4th quarter. Michael Huff wasn’t much better. Neither was Jimmy Smith. The good news for those three? They only see Peyton Manning once in the regular season. And that’s the truth. To keep Thursday night’s debacle in perspective, you simply have to keep in mind that the Ravens likely won’t face an offense that dangerous and that prolific over the final 15 regular season games.
The failure to challenge the Wes Welker catch in the 3rd quarter was clearly a game-changer. There’s nothing else to say about that. Someone upstairs in the press box wasn’t able to get to John Harbaugh in time and it completely altered the complexion of the final two quarters of play. Blame it on Harbaugh if you want — after all, Corey Graham was pleading with him to challenge it — but the truth is the coach gets his information from a staffer who has access to the TV replay. That was obviously a HUGE blunder in the game. Huge.
Hold on a second — the Broncos just scored again while I’m writing this. It’s now 88-27.
Anyway, that was brutal on Thursday night.
Somewhere, even Frank Walker was laughing at how inept the Baltimore secondary was…
Shut up, Frank.
There was even a blocked punt last night, which has only happened to Sam Koch three times in his entire career.
Not much went right in the second half, which is what most people will focus on over the next ten days. The Broncos, of course, are a pretty good team. It’s not like the Raiders plowed us last night. But, if that’s the kind of defensive performance we’re going to see six or eight times this season, it’s gonna be a long 2013 campaign.