The Ravens are 3-5 now after a loss to the NFL’s equivalent of Charlie Brown and, per the usual standards of everyone, it’s time to find a scapegoat.
It’s ALWAYS someone, of course.
I have a feeling this week it’s gonna be Joe Flacco.
I heard a couple of national talking heads blabbering as I was driving in on Monday morning, and they’re already on the “ever since they paid Flacco, he’s stunk” theory. It’s quite obvious those two goofs do the show from another planet or they simply haven’t watched the Ravens play this season.
Yet, in fairness, there will be people in Baltimore this week who will blame Flacco for the club’s 2013 woes and they actually DO watch the games.
Losing to Cleveland stinks. No doubt about that. I called Sunday’s loss in Cleveland “the worst of the Harbaugh-Flacco era”. I can recall a few games along the way where they’ve played as poorly — road losses in Jacksonville, Seattle and Buffalo, this season, among them — but none of those came after a bye-week, none of those came against a division team you had owned for five years and none of those featured the completely inept performance of the Baltimore running game.
Look, there’s nothing wrong, really, with having “the worst loss…” or anything like that. Bad games happen. The other team tries, too, as I always remind all of you. If you coach for five years or quarterback for five years, you’re bound to have a game that goes immediately to your “worst ever” list.
Sunday, though, was much more than just about Flacco, who clearly had another listless first half before kicking it into gear for a decent final 30 minutes.
It was about Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce not doing anything. Vonta Leach didn’t do anything, either, but he didn’t really play at all because they don’t have a role for him for some odd reason.
It was about Marshal Yanda and Michael Oher both looking like they thought the game started at 8:25 instead of 4:25.
It was about Tandon Doss coughing up a punt at the absolute worst possible time, with the team trailing only 14-10 and looking like they were going to pull out one of those “a win is a win” kind of victories. As far as individual plays in the game go, that was the biggest one of the game.
It was about the Ravens defense — for the third straight loss now — not being able to get the other team’s offense off the field, regardless of whether it’s 3rd and 4, 4th and 1 or 3rd and 10. Jason Campbell made a helluva play, granted, on that 4th-and-one throw that effectively sealed the game, but that’s been the Ravens’ defensive M.O. nearly all season. They’re just not good enough. They’re not horrible. But they’re just as much of a liability “under the gun” as the team’s running attack on the offensive side of the ball.
And, lastly, it’s about a team that won the Super Bowl a year ago and the very-much expected “market correction” that comes along with it, no matter what the Head Coach said back in August and anyone else assumed over the last eight weeks.
The margin for error is now slimmer-than-slim for the Ravens, who likely have to go 6-2 at a minimum to qualify for the playoffs. I can’t see that happening based on the first eight games of the campaign, but stranger things have happened — like the Jets losing by 40 points in Cincinnati one week and beating New Orleans the following Sunday.
Based on what I’ve seen, I’d call a 6-2 run from the club virtually impossible.
They don’t do anything well.
They do a bunch of stuff “OK”, but nothing stands out at all.
They’re just not that good.
Their record proves that.
Tomorrow: I’ll share some thoughts on John Harbaugh and his role in this 2013 team.