Well, that didn’t go according to plan. You and I just watched the largest home loss and Ravens history!
It took the Ravens three quarters to finally put some points on the board against the Patriots. Nothing seemed to go their way. Here are my five instant-reaction thoughts to the Ravens 41-7 loss to the Patriots:
1. Damn you, knee brace - Joe Flacco looked terrible. He finished the game going 22-38 with 260 yards, no passing touchdowns and two picks. I was initially skeptical of blaming his MCL sprain on his performance — we’ve all seen him under-throw some long-balls — but he wasn’t mobile in the pocket and didn’t appear comfortable wearing the brace. As a result, the offense never found any sort of rhythm. I’m not sure why they didn’t turn to Tyrod Taylor earlier, it would have made more sense to rest Flacco with the season on the line next week in Cincinnati.
2. Ravens secondary forgot to show up - Jimmy Smith and Matt Elam turned in stellar performance in Detroit last week. Today, the entire Baltimore secondary got embarrassed by a hobbled Patriots receiving corps. Brady only threw for 172 yards, but I was more frustrated with what the Pats receivers did after making a catch. No one in purple appeared capable of making open-field tackles and there were way too many yards after contact.
3. Coaching head scratchers – In a lot of ways, John Harbaugh deserved to lose this game. On third-and-one on the New England four yard line, the Ravens decided to pass. After failing to complete that pass, they lineup in a shotgun formation with Ray Rice as the lone back and hand it off. Rice fails to convert and the Ravens turnover on downs. The Patriots have one of the worst run defenses in the NFL, why not run it on third-and-one — and use a fullback? Also, opting to kick a 37 yard field goal when your team is down 20-0 in the fourth quarter is just plain stupid.
4. Is T-Sizzle hurt? – Terrell Suggs seems to be vanishing before our eyes. He recorded five tackles and finally broke his sack-less streak when Tom Brady “tripped” as Suggs came roaring through the Pats offensive line. I was surprised to see just how poor the Ravens pressure was up front. Suggs must be banged up, he hates the Patriots more than any other opponent, but wasn’t a factor today.
5. Worst. Officiating. Crew. Ever. – Lastly, Ron Winter’s crew had no earthly idea what they were doing today. Things were better in the first half when we couldn’t hear him. Dennis Pitta was clearly in bounds on his catch on 2nd-and-2 in the fourth quarter. It took a challenge to change the call. And did this crew actually change Michael Oher‘s false start penalty when they watched it on the jumbotron in M&T Bank Stadium? Oof.
At least that one is over.