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.
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