Saying the Ravens’ Monday night loss against the Packers was ugly would be quite an understatement. I thought the Ravens were done with their so-called “ugly” games, but I guess I was wrong. It’s not considered an accomplishment for the Ravens to say they played in a game that featured the second most combined penalty yards in NFL history (310). Furthermore, they may have played themselves right out of playoff contention with their lackluster performance. Like I said last week, this was a game the Ravens desperately needed, and they laid an egg. They forced a couple turnovers early, but couldn’t capitalize on the Packers’ mistakes and turn them into points like the Packers did to the Ravens. Nobody thought it was going to be easy to go into Lambeau Field and beat the Packers especially with the way they have been playing as of late. But we did expect the Ravens to put more of a concerted effort together considering they were playing for their postseason lives. All is not lost, though, and upcoming home games against the Lions and Bears should help keep the Ravens in the mix. But we all know what is going to standing in the way of the Ravens and the playoffs – their Week 16 match up with the Pittsburgh Steelers. But I’ll save that commentary for a later date. For now, let’s just hand out these week’s awards.
I’ve been having trouble with this award for the past few weeks because nobody has really stood out to me or done enough to deserve this award. So, I’ll use this spot to give some credit to some of the Ravens rookies who have been playing particularly well throughout this season. Michael Oher and Lardarius Webb have made quite an impact on the team in just their first season and are two players that will be very important parts to this franchise in the future. Almost everyone in America knows about Oher and the struggles he encountered while working his way through the streets and into the NFL because of his movie, “The Blind Side.” But what people don’t know is how good he actually is on the football field. He has struggled at times like most rookies do, but for the most part he has played relatively well. Oher has very quick hands and feet and his technique is reminiscent of a young Jonathan Ogden. We’ll have to wait and see how good that comparison is 10 years down the road, but his future looks extremely bright. Webb has been another bright spot for the Ravens and, from the looks of it, they may have found their next long-term starting cornerback. I know I’ve talked about him before, but Webb has just been outstanding this season. He looks like a season veteran out on the field and I’ve yet to criticize any play he’s been involved in. Ozzie Newsome, you’ve done it again.
The “This Could Get Ugly” Moment
Two possessions, two turnovers. The Ravens and the first quarter don’t mix well. I’m not sure if it’s nervousness or just flat-out poor execution, but it seems like it takes them at least a quarter-and-a-half to get things going. Ray Rice uncharacteristically fumbled in the red zone to end the first drive and then on the second drive, Joe Flacco was intercepted trying to connect on a deep ball to Derrick Mason. In a tough venue like Lambeau, you have to start out fast to try and take the crowd as much out of the game as possible. The Ravens did the complete opposite. All they did was pour more fuel on the fire for the Packer Faithful and could never recover from the hole in which they dug themselves. Flacco finished the game with three interceptions including one on second down at the two-yard line early in the fourth quarter. The Ravens were down 24-14 at that point and would’ve been within one score even if they only came away with a field goal. That interception was probably the worst decision I have ever seen Flacco make. I understand that he extended the play and was trying to make something happen, but you absolutely cannot try and force the ball in that tight of a window at that juncture of the game. Throw the ball away and live to fight another down especially when it’s only second down. I guess we were all just so spoiled from last season because Flacco didn’t make the crucial mistakes that he has made throughout this season. But he is still young and he’ll bounce back, hopefully sooner rather than later.
The Detroit Lions come to town next week. The Ravens need a win. Need I say more?