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The Ravens Were An Absolute Embarrassment Yesterday

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I’ve been at a loss for words about that football game yesterday. What a complete and utter disaster that game was in so many ways. The Ravens have had their fair share of failures and crushing defeats, but I’m not sure that I can think of another game where they looked so wildly incompetent at some of the most fundamental aspects of defensive football. Blown coverages, horrific gap discipline in the run game, just complete and total lack of awareness… it was an appalling effort by the Ravens yesterday.

Many times when you play a game like this one, the mantra becomes “burn the tape and move onto the next one”. This is the opposite. The game film on this one becomes the instructional video on what NOT to do as a football team. You make print-outs of all the shitty plays where you had guys miles out of position and you plaster them on every wall of the facility. Shit, you could make an entire poster series out of the Nick Chubb touchdown. Line an entire hallway of posters of Tony Jefferson’s positioning on that play at the team facility.

Better yet, blow up the image of Earl Thomas on that play into a goddamn mural in the team weight room. Look at 29 (and 23) on this.

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME EARL?!? I don’t give a rat’s ass if you don’t have a prayer at catching him. You were brought into this locker room to provide leadership. To show all these young guys what it means to be a professional and set the tone on a tenacious defense. Quitting on a play right in front of your team bench…. That ain’t it chief. It’s a goddamn embarrassment and you should have to look at that pisspoor effort every single day when you come into work. JFC man.

There used to be some things in life that you could set your watch to. The Ravens stopping the run was one of those things. The pass defense has certainly had its ups and downs since the Ray/Reed era ended, but the run defense always continued to be air tight. The optimism in me wants to buy into the idea that Brandon Williams’ sudden absence played a big part in why they were gashed all day yesterday. But the run D was falling apart at the seams last week in Kansas City as well. We’re getting beaten off tackle consistently, and that comes down to our ends being disciplined on the edge and our linebackers and safeties flying to the football. None of those things are happening and none of those things have all that much to do with not having Brandon Williams. Neither does effort level or a complete inability to tackle in the open field. If we can’t stop the run, it doesn’t matter when Jimmy Smith comes back to the secondary. It’s just BAD football and it HAS to change.

So at this point I think we’re all in need of a little bit of a spin zone. So here goes nothing.

In addition to using the film to shame these guys as a motivational tool, most of these mistakes are fixable. These are controllable errors. It’s part of what made yesterday’s game so goddamn frustrating, but it’s also why there’s some reason to believe that things will get better.

I’m disgusted with the coaching by Harbaugh and Martindale, those guys are clearly not absolved of the blame for yesterday. They didn’t have their guys ready to play yesterday and it showed in a big way. Having said that, there’s few people on this planet I would entrust more with righting the ship than John Harbaugh. Wink obviously hasn’t earned the same degree of trust and has a shorter leash, but I’m a believer in him too. I believe they’re going to take a long look in the mirror and figure this thing out. It’s still September and there’s still a lot of football left to be played.

The offense probably played better than we’re willing to give them credit for. But they also made some frustrating errors that need to be cleaned up and that’s what we’re going to remember from that game. Chris Moore not having a clue where the sideline was when he didn’t have a Brown in the same zip code as him was just astounding. More times than not that’s a touchdown and at worst it’s a big chunk play to move the sticks on 3rd down in opponent’s territory. I’m still scratching my head on that one. Mark Ingram coughed one up in field goal range that ultimately put us behind by two touchdowns when the defense faltered on the ensuing drive. Lamar also missed a few throws here and there.

But the sauce is there for the offense. We were having our way with the Browns on the ground. That’s what made the fumble so untimely. Lamar has shown he can throw the football and that he’s capable of getting us back into games, but this offense operates best when it’s out in front (or at a minimum within striking distance of the lead). We can still shove the ball right down people’s throats and that’s not changing any time soon. We just can’t afford to fall behind by two scores with the way the defense is playing right now. They’re not stopping anybody so it doesn’t matter at that point if we can score on every drive. Defense has gotta get off the field for the offense to play the way they need to play. Once they figure that out, the rest of this team all falls into place.

So yes, yesterday absolutely sucked. Losing’s never fun. It’s even less fun when a loss elicits FAR more anger and frustration than it does disappointment, and this game tilted the scales further towards anger than any game I can remember. You have to give some credit to the Browns. They played nearly mistake-free football. But this loss was far more about the Ravens playing undisciplined and uninspired football than it was anything else. I trust in Harbs to fix it. We’ll see those guys again and it’ll be damn near impossible to be less prepared for that Week 16 clash in Cleveland than we were yesterday.

We’re 2-2. They’re 2-2. They’ve got a leg up, but this thing is far from over. We’ve made our bed and now we have to lie in it. Gotta bear down and bury Pittsburgh and Cincy the next two weeks. They’ve gotta go to San Francisco and host Seattle the next two weeks. Hopefully we can look back in two weeks and laugh at all of this when we’re 4-2 and they’re 2-4. But it’s not going to happen on its own. All we can do is fix our mistakes and control what we can control and move forward. Things aren’t fun right now but I still belee.

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PS: There was hardly a window within this blog to fit in a kudos for Marlon Humphrey, but it has to be said. That guy is playing his dick off and completely shut down OBJ yesterday. That’s going to be a fun rivalry for a lot of years, and I suggest the rest of the locker room look at that guy for what it means to play like a Raven. The lasting image will be of Marlon choking OBJ out and some will take issue with that but it symbolizes everything that Baltimore football is about. We do the bullying, not the other way around and it damn near feels like Marlon is the only guy doing any bullying around here. Let’s get back to doing more bullying.

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