Ravens get blasted by Broncos; Flacco, Harbaugh have long days ahead

December 16, 2012 | Drew Forrester

There’s no way to judge Jim Caldwell in his first game as the team’s play caller. Granted, he didn’t do anything overly impressive, but what can you do when you’re down 17-0 at the half and 24-3 early in the 3rd quarter?

Caldwell just got the job, we can cut him a little slack.

Flacco…Harbaugh…the offensive line…the receivers.  Don’t know how much slack you can cut them.

And just to prove that Sunday wasn’t a day for the coaching staff to be proud of, there were three other blunders in the second half that were of the Keystone Cops variety.

Harbaugh challenged a 3rd quarter catch Torrey Smith that clearly wasn’t a catch, effectively tossing away a time-out in the chilly December air.

With 4:08 to play, the Ravens scored a touchdown to cut the Denver lead to 34-16.  Instead of going for two, the Ravens sent Justin Tucker in to tack on the extra point and make it 34-17.

Why not go for two points there and make it 34-18, creating a two-score-game if the conversion attempt was successful?

Afterwards, when asked if he considered eschewing the extra point for the conversion, Harbaugh quickly said “No”.

It made sense to me then – to go for two – and it still makes sense to me now, particularly when the Ravens immediately tried an onside kick on the ensuing kick-off.  In other words, they still thought there was a football game to be won (which, there was).  So, down 34-16, why not go for two, get it, and then try the onside kick?

Yes, it’s a small thing, but not going for two there showed a lack of attention to detail.

And then, there’s the end of the game.

Trailing 34-17 with 0:33 on the clock, the Ravens elected to have Joe Flacco call two passing plays to finish the game.  Both resulted in a sack of Flacco — both came from his blind side — and each could have potentially injured him.

Why on earth would Caldwell and/or Harbaugh allow for such stupidity to occur with a half-minute remaining in a game where your offensive line has been ravaged all afternoon and the other team has two of the most fierce pass rushers in the league?

Just tell Joe to take a knee or hand the ball off to a running back and have him plunge into the line and end the game without getting someone killed.  That’s what I would have suggested, anyway.

Having Flacco run around like a maniac out there – trailing 34-17, on his own 20-yard line – and risking injury for no reason at all?  Again, just a lack of attention to detail.

It would be fair to note that Denver has a very good football team.  They obviously have an All-World quarterback and he’s brimming with confidence now that he’s developed a connection with his receiving corps.  The Broncos defense is nasty.  Their 11-3 record is not a fluke.

But on this Sunday, in Baltimore, the Ravens hit rock bottom because no one on offense played worth a hoot and the coaching staff let the little things slide by them.

There’s no more Cam Cameron to kick around.

Now, it’s Joe Flacco’s turn on the hot seat.

He is, officially for the first time in his five years here, public enemy #1.