The Baltimore Ravens played a very sloppy football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers and it cost them in a devastating 23-20 loss.
Instead of essentially clinching the division title, the AFC North remains up for grabs and the Ravens really have their work cut out for them now if they want to earn a first-round bye.
The Ravens seem to lose a game or two every year that they have no business losing, and it ultimately costs them coveted home-field advantage. When we look back on this season, this may very well be the game that costs the team a trip to the Super Bowl yet again.
The game was littered with turnovers, dropped passes, bad tackling and poor communication on the defensive side of the ball.
There will be the usual John Harbaugh coach-speak, but the Ravens should be completely embarrassed. Joe Flacco was outplayed by a 38-year old, third-string quarterback, yet he wants to complain week after week that he doesn’t get enough credit, wants a big contract, etc.
The Ravens had been terrific in limiting turnovers coming into the game, but Joe Flacco threw a silly interception and later fumbled because he held onto the ball too long, eventually resulting in a game-tying touchdown for Pittsburgh.
As poorly as he played, there was a lot of blame to go around. Torrey Smith dropped a few passes, including a touchdown. Anquan Boldin dropped a couple passes and had a costly pass interference call.
After getting a pass rush going last week, it was non-existent against the Steelers. Terrell Suggs has disappeared, Pernell McPhee didn’t add much to the mix and Haloti Ngata was really quiet. Even Paul Kruger seemed to struggle as he faced some double-teams.
Defensively, the Ravens struggle to keep containment and wrap up the running back, allowing him to bounce it outside for big runs. The backside of the defense had some breakdowns that hurt them and could have been much worse if Pittsburgh would have executed better.
Cam Cameron should have been fired years ago, yet remains the offensive coordinator. What was the offensive scheme in this game? Throw a 60-yard jump ball bomb every other play? No wonder the Ravens couldn’t find any rhythm offensively. Ray Rice finished the game with just 12 runs but had almost 80 yards on the ground. Give him the ball.
John Harbaugh challenged a play that was clearly called correct, costing the Ravens an important timeout. He hasn’t fired Cameron, and either he isn’t willing to tell the offensive coordinator to change the game plan or he is supportive of the current play-calling.