It’s pretty safe to say that the Ravens could not have played any worse than they did this past Sunday against the Bengals. They were outplayed, out coached and outsmarted by a team that most people expected them to beat after the Bengals’ comeback win in Week 5. Many people, including myself, were anticipating the Ravens to avenge their loss and repeat last week’s performance against the Broncos. Instead, they decided to play without any passion, drive or desire and got embarrassed in the process. If the Bengals’ first offensive drive didn’t forewarn everyone to what type of day it was going to be, the second drive sure did. It was reminiscent of what the Vikings did in Week 6 when they scored touchdowns on their first two offensive possessions, putting the Ravens in a hole they couldn’t climb out of. I’m not sure if the Ravens like playing from behind or what, but they better find a way to fix the problem or it’s going to be a very long season. Here are this week’s awards, but they’re not going to be pretty.
The “Bright Spot” Award
This one was a no-brainer. If the Ravens could take nothing else out of Sunday’s loss, it was that Lardarius Webb is an up-and-coming player that exemplifies everything the Ravens strive for their players to be. It is hard to ignore how much heart and intensity this guy plays with on every single down. He’s a pure football player and, unlike some at his position, he loves to tackle. When Fabian Washington went down with an injury in the second quarter, it looked as if that Ravens secondary was going to take yet another step back to an already vulnerable group. But, then Webb stepped in and it seemed to be just what the doctor ordered. Carson Palmer took some shots at the rookie cornerback but couldn’t muster a completion of more than seven yards against him. Webb totaled six tackles on the day including an open field stop on running back Cedric Benson, one of the league’s top backs. Webb’s determination may have landed him a starting spot on one of the league’s top defenses. Maybe that pep talk Ray Lewis had with him a couple weeks ago really did help.
The “Oh, S***” Moment
There was no installment of this award last week, but I could’ve picked about 10 for this week. The Bengals’ opening drive was a bad sign of things to come, and the second drive wasn’t much more comforting. I can understand giving up some points to a balanced offense like the Bengals, but the way in which the points were given up was flat out frustrating. It seemed like whenever the Ravens put the Bengals in a third-and-long situation or got a stop on third-down, there was a penalty. It was the same on the offensive side of the ball as well. Dropped balls, holding penalties, sacks on short down-and-distances. Nothing went smoothly on either side of the ball and the only people to blame are the Ravens. It wasn’t the referee’s fault this week. Let’s hope it gets better before next week.
The “Come On, Man” Award
Come on, man. Hauschka, I tried to defend you a couple weeks ago and you totally let me down. You have, have, have to make that kick. That changed the entire complexion of the game because if you make that kick, you’re only down a touchdown with six minutes to go and all three timeouts. The momentum would’ve been shifted and I would almost be willing to bet that the Ravens would’ve had a chance to take the game into overtime. You can’t continue to miss routine field goals, especially from less than 40 yards. That will get you fired in a hurry. If the Ravens keep you around for the rest of the season, I’ll be very surprised. I tried to give you the benefit of the doubt, but I guess that’s what I get for being nice.
So, if the Ravens lose next Monday to the Browns it will be probably be a new all-time low for the franchise. And that’s not an overstatement. They need to get refocused, again, and take care of business in Cleveland. There is no more room for mental breakdowns if the Ravens want any shot at making the playoffs. This is the perfect time to make up some ground in the division since the Steelers and Bengals play each other this week. The mission for this Monday should be simple. First and foremost, beat the Browns. Second, get ready for the Colts because they’re sure going to be ready for the Ravens.