Mark Viviano: Triumph Or Trouble
In the aftermath of a 21-point comeback win over lowly Arizona, it’s fair to ask of the Ravens: how did they get in the position of trailing a bad team by 3 touchdowns on your home field? Why such a lousy first half after what was admittedly an embarrassing loss six days earlier at Jacksonville? What’s up with these Ravens who were rightfully booed by their home fans in the first half before the team rallied?
The Ravens remain a mystery on offense: messy in the first half, masterful in the second. Joe Flacco to Anquan Boldin looks like Montana-to-Rice for a stretch, but there are stretches where the offense looks incompetent. What’s lacking is overall consistency on offense- and that’s troubling if it’s not fixed. Flacco said after the Arizona win that he doesn’t know what’s been wrong for a game and a half. So, it’s a mystery to the quarterback, too.
Boldin had a brilliant game and of the rally he said “we woke up.” Indeed, but again- why were you asleep in front of 70,000 supportive fans who were rooting you on before you gave them reason to boo? Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron says “our fans are brutal and rightfully so.” Imagine how brutal it would be had the Ravens not rallied.
It’s important to remember that inconsistency is the nature of the National Football League. How terrible did the Pittsburgh Steelers look during their season-opening loss to the Ravens…and fast-forward to how well they handled Tom Brady and the Patriots in week 8. The New Orleans Saints are considered a Super Bowl contender, yet they failed to show up and were blown out by previously sinless St. Louis on Sunday. So, it’s not a Ravens-only question/dilemma.
So, was the high-wire escape act to beat Arizona a wake-up call for the Ravens? Linebacker Paul Kruger told me after the game “I think you need those games to be a great team. We’ll take them.” No doubt, you take any and all victories in the NFL. What remains to be seen is how far the Ravens can take themselves toward the Super Bowl- while they try to solve the mystery that is their own offense.
posted by Mark Viviano