The Baltimore Ravens were dominated Sunday night on national television by their division rival Pittsburgh Steelers. They lost 43-23, and it wasn’t even that close. Now, the Ravens (5-4) suddenly find themselves in last place in the AFC North, looking up at the Cincinnati Bengals (5-2-1), the Steelers (5-3) and yes, the freaking Cleveland Browns (5-3).
Just when it looked like the Ravens were ready to come out swinging, going up 7-0, Lorenzo Taliaferro fumbles the ball and all hell breaks loose. The Steelers ended up scoring a touchdown and on the first play of the next drive for the Ravens, Flacco makes one of his typical Flacco mistakes and throws a pick while trying to throw the ball away. The Ravens proceeded to lose their composure and that was that.
According to Jamison Hensley, a reporter for ESPN, Flacco couldn’t get his team lined up properly on the play where he threw the interception, even confusing Justin Forsett with the way he called the play. Flacco said he “lost his mind on that play.” That’s Joe Flacco for you: Super Bowl MVP one play, losing his mind on the next. That should be the official team slogan. Baltimore Ravens: Super Bowl Caliber One Day, Losing Their Mind the Next.
Pittsburgh ended up turning both turnovers into touchdowns. You aren’t going to win very many games with a brutal secondary if you are handing out early Hanukkah presents.
We all knew the secondary was terrible, but Sunday’s game finally brought out all of the demons and the Ravens suddenly are in damage control mode to try and find a short-term solution. Ravens insider Aaron Wilson tweeted that during his press conference on Monday, John Harbaugh said that the members of secondary need to upgrade discipline ant tackling. But how much can be done? When you have to rely on names like Dominique Franks, Darian Stewart, Matt Elam, Chykie Brown and Will Hill, you can only go so far.
If the pass rush doesn’t get to the quarterback, as it failed to do against Roethisberger after the sack-trick, this secondary group is doomed to fail. I tweeted on Sunday that Ed Reed and Champ Baily couldn’t possibly be worse than the Ravens’ current options. I was only half kidding.
Look, the Ravens fortunately get the lowly Tennessee Titans next week for what should be an easy opportunity to get to 6-4, so hope is not entirely lost. Then they get a bye which hopefully brings the return of Jimmy Smith for Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. Jimmy Smith is the both the hero we deserve and need right now.