In holiday spirit, Ravens gift-wrap huge win for the Redskins

December 09, 2012 | Drew Forrester

Let me get this straight.

Joe Flacco threw for three touchdowns.

Ray Rice carried the ball 20 times for 121 yards and a TD.

And the Ravens lost.

Wait, what?

Yep, *that* happened today in Washington, where the Ravens defense collapsed late in the game for the second straight week and wasted a rare 28-point road scoring effort in an overtime loss to the Redskins that drops Baltimore to 9-4 on the season.

Last Sunday, it was Pittsburgh.  Sunday in Washington, the Redskins beat Baltimore.

What’s next, the Orioles losing to the Yankees in the playof — oh, wait.

The defeat wasted a dominating defensive performance from Paul Kruger and Arthur Jones, who both produced their best games of the season and helped quiet wonder-rookie Robert Griffin III in the second half.

If only Kruger, Jones and the Ravens defense could have stopped some guy named Kirk Cousins when it mattered.

Cousins was a late replacement for the injured Griffin and threw an 11 yard TD over Ravens defensive back Chris Johnson with 0:29 left in regulation, then ran in the 2-point conversion himself to tie the game at 28-28.

That defensive meltdown was bad enough, but then the special teams unit got involved in overtime, surrendering a 64 yard punt return that set up the game-winning 34 yard field goal as Washington literally stole a game they had little business winning.

Sort of like the Ravens against the Patriots, Cowboys, Steelers and Chargers this season.

And as I wrote last week after Charlie Batch used smoke and mirrors to beat the Ravens in Baltimore, you’re going to find those “unconventional” wins like the ones produced by John Harbaugh’s team earlier in the campaign always have a way of evening themselves out by season’s end.

The Ravens, by virtue of both the Bengals and Steelers choking at home on Sunday, still maintain a comfortable two-game lead in the AFC North at 9-4.

But it’s not going to get any easier from here to the finish line.

Baltimore now faces Denver and the New York Giants over the next two Sunday’s, being forced, perhaps, to play those games without Terrell Suggs, who missed the shocker in D.C. with a torn biceps injury.

And with a late-game right ankle injury to starting right guard Marshal Yanda – who left the stadium on crutches – the Baltimore injury report is starting to look like a who’s who of missing-in-action.

There’s a saying in sports:  “It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.”  That’s the early-season philosophy you use to handle a loss or two when you still have plenty of time to recover and get yourself situated for a run at the post-season.

Well, now, with three weeks left, it’s looking a lot more like a sprint.

And the Ravens don’t have many guys left to do the sprinting.

Sunday’s meltdown in Washington will have a lot of players wearing the goat horns this week.

Despite a 28-point road effort, Joe Flacco will get blasted for a pair of turnovers, one deep in his own territory and the other on the Redskins 11 yard line.  No one will mention Michael Oher getting beat like Neil Peart’s drum kit during the YYZ solo or Kelechi Osemele losing his man on the ill-timed pick in the 3rd quarter.  It will just be, “Flacco sucks”, all week.  And then, to make matters worse, the quarterback had the gall to stand up after the game and say stuff like, “We’re not going to let this crush us.  We’ll go back to work on Monday and try to get things back on track for next Sunday against Denver.”  (I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather hear him say:  “Well, that should just about do it for us for the season.  There’s very little chance we can rebound from these two debacles against the Steelers and Redskins.”)

Cam Cameron will be hammered all week, again, if for no other reason than everyone in town has their lines memorized from a season’s worth of frustration with the team’s offensive play-caller.  Despite the fact that his quarterback threw for 3 TD’s and his running backs churned out 186 yards on the ground, he’ll get scrutinized like Charles Manson at a parole hearing.

John Harbaugh will get his share of blame.  It was probably his call at the end of the 4th quarter to take a knee and head to overtime, even though he was armed with one time-out and the Redskins secondary had been woeful most of the afternoon. Naturally, had Flacco thrown a pass at the end that was picked off, everyone would have blasted Harbaugh for not just taking a knee.  Sometimes, you can’t win as a coach, unless you win.

Cornerback Chris Johnson will get crushed, too.  He was a liability on the game-tying drive, getting beat twice – including the Garcon touchdown with 0:29 left – and earlier being flagged for pass interference on a huge 3rd and 6 play.  If you’re asking, “Who the hell is Chris Johnson, wasn’t he the guy in Fast Times at Ridgemont High?”, I would say to you: “No, that was RON Johnson.  Chris Johnson is the guy who got beat by Kirk Cousins for the late game score at Fed Ex Field on Sunday.”

Defensive coordinator Dean Pees will face a thrashing or two, despite the fact his unit stepped up with a good second half and limited the Redskins to just one offensive touchdown.  However – and you know the coordinators have to get beat up somehow, someway, it was once again the famous “prevent” defense that hurt Baltimore on the game-tying 85 yard drive surrendered to the Redskins, as Griffin and Cousins picked the Ravens apart in the middle of the field, like most teams have this season.

And anyone on the Ravens who tried to make a tackle on Sunday that wasn’t named Kruger or Jones should get lathered for their lack of tackling and toughness in the first half, when Washington’s Alfred Morris plowed through, around and over everyone in white.

It all added up to a most shocking loss in Washington, where the Ravens looked poised to claim their 2nd straight AFC North crown at the expense of their neighbors-in-state and in front of a huge following of purple fans who made the trip 40 miles south.

Instead of a playoff-clinching win, Baltimore handed a game away in stunning fashion.

What a week this is going to be in Charm City.

Someone better get the Ravens a new rabbit’s foot.

And earmuffs for the coaching staff and players.


14 Comments For This Post

  1. Joe Says:

    The is the begging of the end. No way Ravens can recover for this and validates the fact that the 9-2 record prior to the Steeler-Redskins loss was a fraud. Our offense is inept at the worst possible moments with faltering drives or a critical turnover. Final record is 9-7.

  2. Lisa, Aberdeen Says:

    I’m very disappointed with this team after today’s loss. Usually pretty open minded but today, different story. I can’t believe I’m saying this b/c I beat people up who do, but this team will not go far in play offs. Just don’t have what it takes. D plays well, O can’t score enough points to win. O puts up pts, D gives up more and we lose. I have no answers. Pretty frustrating but still a believer. With that said, ordered my playoff tickets, hope we have a home game.

    Lisa, Aberdeen

  3. joe of bel air Says:


    Can either you or Luke ask Harbaugh tomorrow at his press conference why he continually burns timeouts when it is not necessary to do so. Who knows Harbaugh may have had Flacco take a knee at the end of regulation even if they had 3 timeouts but the fact that he used two timeouts when it wasn’t necessary is mind boggling. When the Ravens went into the fake punt formation trying to draw the Redskins offside why not just take a delay penalty. Why not save your timeout and punt from the Skins’ 45 insterad of burning a timeout and punting from your 40. I would have only burned the timeout if I was going to go for it on 4th down. Then Harbaugh burns a second timeout after the Skins score at the end just befor trying the 2 point conversion. Why give a rookie fresh off the bench an additional 30 seconds to get his thoughts together. Why not save the timeout just in case Jacoby Jones returned the kickoff to midfield with 20 seconds lft in the game. This isn’t the first time Harbaugh mismanaged their timeouts in a game. He does it all the time. Please ask him why he wasted 2 timeouts unnecessarily. God know that time out before the 2 point try certainly did the Ravens a world of good. Cousins could have moonwalked into the endzone.

  4. PghSteve Says:

    Hard to see how any of the AFC North teams who qualify for the playoffs go far. Ravens blew a game they had pretty much won, Steelers got embarrassed by San Diego, and Cincy loses after giving up a 13 play drive at the end of the game. None of the AFC North teams seem to be in the same league as Houston, New England, or Denver.

  5. unitastoberry Says:

    I will most definitley like to mention Micheal “Hollywood” Oher and KO as some goats today. In fact I think Oher is beyond repair as a stating O lineman in the league, KO is a rookie and the book is out on him. I have been saying all year that McKinnie is their best left tackle and I would bench Mr Oher. The cornerback situation is due to injuries. Kruger is proving himself every week now I was wrong on him he is developing well.Our Center is a turnstyle.Joe is Joe you have to max protect him and give him high percentage routes and he can win.Our running game is a three headed beast but you have to pass in the NFL to win now. Finally I would like to bash the head coach for not getting more involved in his offensive co-ordinators play calling, route running, etc over the course of the whole game.Get some training at offensive play calling and clock management from your brother or father. Like Ray Lewis always says 60 MINUTES!

  6. The Armchair QB Says:

    Here’s the answer to the Ravens’ problems in a nutshell: when you change what is working, like the first half up-tempo, no huddle offense that saw Flacco in a comfortable rhythm while completing 10 of 13 passes for over 100 yards and 3 TD’s to a more conservative style in the second half, and you stay with what isn’t working, like the pass defense, that produces inconsistency on offense and a recipe for beating yourself on defense! All of which has somnething to do with……COACHING!

  7. charlie Says:

    the redskins certainly looked like a team on the rise, while the ravens looked like one headed in the other direction. if they are able to recover and beat peyton & eli, then maybe they’ve got something left. if not, then someone in the front office has to decide if this is a collapse, or if the early record was a mirage. either way, it might not be pretty. this one wasn’t.

  8. Franchise Says:


    Did the final kickoff by the Redskins go out of bounds for a missed call and no flag with a spot at the 45 yard line and score tied at 28-28???

    The way Jacoby Jones reacted (he was furious at the touchback ruling and spot at the 20 yard line) Harbs should have gotten a review from upstairs since the time remaining was under 30 seconds after the skins successful 2 point conversion.

    CBS telecast showed no replay but was commented on by announcers???

    What did you see live at FedExp Field???

    As mentioned on your show last week; I am very nervous—Called the loss at Redskins and now we have Peyton and the Broncos winners of 8 straight coming off ten days of preparation??!!

    Thank you Bolts and Cowgirls for doing us solids at Pittsburgh and Cincy to keep our two game lead in the division!!!



  9. RJ Says:

    Ravens lose out, sorry to say – this team is too undisciplined, can not tackle, and has developed a bad habit of assuming the fetal position when the game is on the line. Bottom line, Bros Manning are going to take it to our “53 mighty men”, and the implosion will already have taken its toll on our players by the Cincy game.

  10. Phil Says:

    With the number of players the Ravens were missing on defense I don’t think anyone should be too critical of that side of the ball. First quarter and end of game was pretty bad but take a look at who was on the field for us. For second, third and most of fourth they did well. Problem is the offense didn’t do enough and we saw the same issues we’ve seen for a long time; critical breakdowns, costly sacks/fumbles, poor clock management, some odd calls…for me this one’s on the offense. Scored four Tds …needed five and could have should have. Again.

  11. Jimmy the Saint Says:

    Ravens didn’t gift wrap the game; Redskins did what was necessary to win. Both secondaries are brutal. How come Torrey Smith was a non-factor? With Broncos, Giants, and Bengals left on schedule, they will be limping into playoffs. Last year was their opportunity to get into the Super Bowl but thanks to Lee Evans and Billy Cundiff, they blew their chance.

  12. Steve from Sandpoint Says:

    As I said, it was not going to be a walk in the park on Sunday and it wasn’t. That said, the Ravens have a real good chance of losing the last 3 games and finishing 9 & 7 that would be a disgrace and HEADS should roll. Now the fans will see a real ELITE QB playing at the stadium this week, to bad it is not Flacco, I hope he brings a pad and pen to take notes on how a real Elite QB runs a offense !!!

  13. Dirk Says:

    What scares me is that there is no better option I know of than Flacco and the Ravens will have to commit a good chunk of cap money to an average/slightly below average QB. Reality is the Ravens are on a downward cycle for a few years like just about every team does. It started this year and will continue for a few I think. The bright side? We won’t have to stay up past midnight to watch them trade out of the 1st round. But seriously if our O or D were consistently poor you could build on that and improve. This team finds ways to lose each week on both sides of the ball.

  14. GlenW Says:

    I see several commentors feel the same about the Ravens as I have since the KC game. They will not win a playoff game. And at this point, won’t win another game this season. Cam Camron is a scapegoat. It is Harbaugh who should be on the hotseat.

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