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Dime Coverage: Post Game Thoughts on Ravens @ Eagles

I thought he was able to Audible out of plays?

This game was a car crash and a complete and utter mess.

It had turnovers, fights, penalties, botched calls, and replay drama.

It didn’t feel like a normal Week two match-up between teams from different conferences with little history with each other. It had the tone of a street fight which seemed appropriate since it was in Philadelphia. In the end it hardly matters because the Ravens just didn’t make enough plays on either side of the ball to win the game. Baltimore didn’t deserve to win. They were clearly outplayed even though they lead almost the entire game. They should have found a way to put it away and walk out with a victory, but didn’t.

Here are my thoughts about today’s loss:

  • Well Ravens fans let me ask you; Why did the Ravens lose today? It sounds like a simple question but there are many possible answers. Is it A) The Offense – which was dreadful in the second half and could only convert 4 of 14 Third Downs? Is it B) The Defense -who were gashed for close to 500 Total yards of offense and offered little resistance (aside from Ngata’s spear on Vick) on the Eagles last drive that led to the game winning score? Is it C) Cam Cameron – Who’s dubious play-calling led the Ravens to throw it 42 times, yet only gave the ball to Ray Rice 16 times on the ground? (Rice averaged 6.2 yds. per carry) Or is it D) All of the Above. I’ll go with Choice D.
  • Joe Flacco followed up a masterful Monday Night gem with a dud this afternoon. He started the game with a fumble on his second play from scrimmage but he seemed to recover and led a nice 58-yd drive that ended with Vonta Leach spiking the ball. The second possession of the Second Quarter was his best of the afternoon driving 70 yards off 4 plays with a beautiful touch pass to a streaking Jacoby Jones for a touchdown. But that’s where the highlights ended for the offense. A badly thrown ball into triple coverage resulted in an interception (No idea what he saw there) and it all went downhill from there. Three consecutive Three and Outs followed. Baltimore was only able to get their only six points of the half due to penalties and Philadelphia turnovers. A possible game changing touchdown was negated due to an Offensive Pass interference call but twice the Ravens had to settle for Field Goals when one touchdown makes the game look very different. Philadelphia turned it over four times and Baltimore simply didn’t make them pay enough for their miscues.
  • Cam Cameron. I honestly have no idea what your offensive game plan was today. What happened to the fast break, unpredictable style we saw achieve so much success against the Bengals? By my count I only saw two drives that showed any of those characteristics. The Ravens were awful on Third Down today but many of them were Third and Short. In these situations Cam usually outhought himself and instead of calling for a run, play-action bootleg or short pass he instead dailed up a five-step drop coupled with a thirty yard route. Unbelievable. One part of the offense that was clicking was Ray Rice on the ground (he finished 16 carries for 99 yds.) and he didn’t get his first carry of the Second Half until 5:30 in the Third Quarter. Unfathomable. Lastly with the Ravens down a point with 1:48 left instead of working the ball downfield in small chunks he once again called for a deep Home Run bomb to Torrey Smith (who was double covered). All you need is a Field Goal there and you’ve got plenty of time. The quick passing game was practically non-existent and with a fast blitzing team with Philadelphia I thought we might see at least some of it. You got some work to do for New England next weekend.
  • I mean really Cam. On that last drive on Third and One Flacco overthrows Pitta in the flat and then on 4th and One we try the same play on the opposite side to Ray Rice. Same result. Just get first downs!
  • Dennis Pitta was once again a top target of Flacco -8 for 65 yds. But the wide receivers were virtually a no-show. Yes, they got mugged in press coverage but they got little separation too. It also makes me wonder why the Baltimore defense didn’t adopt a similar strategy since both Brent Celek and DeSean Jackson seemed to find plenty of room for catches.
  • Justin Tucker. Let me bring up a bright spot from today’s game. The rookie looked tough as he nailed all three of his attempts from 51, 48, and a boomer from 56. That last kick tied Wade Richey for the longest FG in Ravens history but his second 50 gave him his own entry in the record book as the only Ravens kicker to boot two 50+ tries in a game. Hook ’em horns!
  • The Ravens Defense showed improvements in some areas and nagging concerns in others. The Run defense was better as they held LeSean McCoy to 81 yards (3.2 per carry) but the secondary allowed for way too many open receivers as Vick threw for 371 in the air. The Secondary had communications breakdowns and appear to give too much ground before closing in on passes. Ed Reed’s brain fart  that directly led to Jeremy Maclin’s touchdown is a prime example that this group has work to do in defending the passing game. Brent Celek catches for 157, seriously? Still, they did sack Vick twice and hit him early and often so the pressure was at least a bit better. They did also intercept Vick twice and “forced” two fumbles. (botched handoffs count sometimes) Of course in the end they could not keep Philadelphia out of the endzone with a six-point lead (it took the Eagles only two minutes) and as people want to talk about the decline of the defense they have some evidence right here to back up their claim.
  • Bernard Pollard. Right now he’s one of the best players on this defense. He had an interception, a sack and three tackles before leaving the game with a rib contusion. He left to take X-Rays but did say that he expects to play against New England which is good news. Lardarius Webb also had his usual stellar game.
  • These replacement officials are in way over their heads. Not a shocking statement by any means. This game was described by Coach John Harbaugh as “chaotic” and anyone who watched it today wouldn’t be able to disagree with that assessment. Understand that I don’t feel that the Ravens lost because of the refs. They called the best game they could for both teams, which wasn’t very good or by the NFL rulebook but still they tried to complete the task that was assigned to them. This group struggled with even basic things like spotting the ball so I shouldn’t have been surprised that they don’t know the difference between Illegal Contact (ball not in the air) and Pass Interference (Ball in the air). This game was unusually chippy and it was more to the fact that both teams were pressing every advantage they could with these newbies in hopes to gain an edge. But as things got heated early on several skirmishes broke out in the First Half, one of which saw DeSean Jackson throw a punch at a Ravens player. Last I checked that’s an immediate ejection and not just an unsportsmanlike penalty, which was offset as they tagged an unnamed Baltimore player with the same infraction after the play. As a player you hope that the officials are consistent and considering the amount of leeway they gave during the game it makes the Offensive Pass Interference on Jacoby Jones which negated a touchdown even more puzzling. Lastly I implore the NFL again to solve this strike, like yesterday.
  • And to add insult to injury CBS brought out the “B” team today with Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf. If you want misidentified players and no in-game insight from sideline reporting then you’ve come to the right place my friend. I had to get update from my iphone on Bernard Pollard as to what his current status was and what part of his body he’d even injured. No thanks to Greg and Dan who even waited five minutes to tell me that Pollard had been replaced in the lineup. Gumbel was actually worse than his partner at even calling the right names off his roster. You see boys each player has a number on the back and front of his jersey so as to help make identification a snap.


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