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The Ravens' Offense (With Or Without Lamar Jackson) Is Going To Be The Death Of The 2022 Ravens

Icon Sportswire. Getty Images.

Frustrating loss last night, no two ways about it. The Ravens have been treading water at best for weeks. They've played in some ugly ugly football games, which has become their identity of sorts over the past couple of months. Defense first, run the football, and make sure you're on the right side of those handful of plays that can tend to swing any given football game.

It's a risky formula, and one that doesn't leave a great taste in many people's mouths. You tend to allow lesser football teams into games they don't belong in, and you try to bring better teams down with you into the mud. It's a style of play that can give you a fighting chance against any given team, but it's one that's very difficult to win a championship with. The Titans have perfected this identity in the Mike Vrabel era, and that's helped them consistently punch a postseason ticket while scoring a couple of postseason upsets along the way… but nobody has ever mistaken them for a Super Bowl contender.

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That's where the Ravens are at right now offensively, and we saw the ugliest of it in Cleveland. There are some numbers buried on the stat sheet that suggest that game could have gone a different way (outgained them 324-283, 198 yards gained on the ground), but the Ravens failed to do so many basic things that you need to do to avoid giving the game away. If the Ravens are capable of avoiding any 2 of these 5 things, there's a great chance the result is different:

- failed 4th and 1 attempt inside the Browns' 10 on the opening drive where Pat Ricard failed to get the 1st down

- Justin Tucker missed FG before half

- Tyler Huntley red zone pick on a slant to DeSean Jackson

- DeMarcus Robinson fumble

- Justin Tucker blocked FG attempt

Of course, JT gets a well deserved pass. He's due to miss every once in a while and there's nothing he could have done about the block. That puts the microscope directly on the offense, who sprinkled in numerous other moments of ineptitude throughout the night. I want to sit here and give them a pass considering they're playing with their backup QB and are merely falling to 9-5, but this has been a pattern for weeks… months even.

A major root of the issues has been just a complete and utter lack of talent at the WR position. When Rashod Bateman was healthy, this offense hummed. We watched him and the rest of the offense show explosiveness in September and it was the defense that kept the Ravens from getting out to a scorching start. But it was always a risk to depend on Bateman, who has had shaky health throughout his short NFL career and there's a strong case to be made the receiver position should have been supplemented anyway. When he went down, Duvernay and Robinson each showed brief moments of brilliance at times, but both have fallen off the map. Couple that with Mark Andrews not quite replicating his 2021 performance and suddenly you've got a pass game that can't do shit, regardless of who is at QB.

That ineptitude is magnified when all of those mistakes dig yourself a 10-point hole in the 2nd half. There's a way to dig yourself out of it, and that answer should be right in front of you when you're chugging along at damn near 8.5 yards a carry. Yet early in the 4th quarter, the refusal to run the football by Greg Roman was infuriating. Especially given the Browns' complete inability to stop anyone on the ground. It's a habit I've never really forgiven Roman for after his offense completely abandoned the run game way too early in the infamous Titans' playoff loss 3 years ago, and it seemed all too familiar last night.

I've apologized for Roman a ton over the years. I think what he brings to the table in the run game is valuable and he brought a lot of the best out of Lamar Jackson. But it's gotten stale. You win, Ravens twitter. You were right. It's time for him to be shown the door. I'm not really sure where that would leave us for 2022, but there's just no way he's back in 2023. A change now would at least shake things up down the stretch. I'm not sure what the upside is to let him ride out these 3+ weeks. As it stands, this team cannot win a Super Bowl with the way the offense is playing.

Of course, so much will hinge on whether Lamar Jackson can get himself back out on the field. Based on how quickly he was declared out this past week and the way the final month played out last season, I don't have a ton of confidence that we see him before what could be a division-deciding game in Cincinnati Week 18. We'll see. 

But I've seen enough of Greg Roman and so has the rest of Baltimore.