As the title says I have mixed emotions about the Ravens 20-13 victory over Houston in the divisional round of the playoffs. Listen, I get it, a win is a win. They move onto the AFC championship game in New England to take on the Patriots. Baltimore tallied a home playoff victory, finished off the 2011 regular season and now playoffs undefeated (9-0) in charm city but something is missing for me. I’m not sure I’m able to put my finger on it but I’ll do my level best. 17-3 after the first quarter was fantastic, zero penalties and winning the turnover battle 4-0 is amazing and almost insures a victory. That said the game and even the feel of it was just off for me after the initial quarter.
Webb & Reed played great, makings important tackles along with a combined three interceptions (Webb with 2) en route to helping the defense shutout the Texans in the second half…. But… It was an ugly offensive performance. Not blaming Joe, but Cam… He’s in my cross-hairs. I’m not saying the Houston defense isn’t stout, because it is, but Cam called some very interesting plays toward the end of the half and game that drove me crazy. Run the stinking ball late in the second quarter, get a few yards and put three points on the board going into half. Instead after the two min warning at the 33 yard line they pass for zero to Rice, pass incomplete to Boldin and sacked on a pass to put Baltimore out of range and force a punt. I just don’t get it. At the very least burn clock and hope for a few yards and a field goal. Pass, pass, pass is not the way to go into half when run, run, run puts more points on the board. I’ll admit, I’m a bit more conservative with points and play calling but that’s just me.
In the fourth quarter to ice the game and put it away Cam “the master mind” Cameron does this.. Rice gets 5 yards on first down with a run to the 26 yard line, Texans are forced to use the first of three timeouts with 3:04 left in the game. On second down instead of running the ball again, burning clock and forcing Houston to use another timeout Joe goes incomplete to Boldin (hot read, audible whatever). Then on third down Joe is in shotgun and goes incomplete to Dickson, stopping the clock again for the Texans. It makes no sense and against Tom Brady (not a third string Rookie QB on the road) you’ll get burned every time playing with that kind of fire.
I’m not sure what the reason behind these calls are but it makes zero sense to me and forces me to write things like this instead of excited blogs about AFC championship games. While I’m excited as can be for a second AFC championship appearance in four seasons I know that kind of nonsense will come back to haunt Baltimore. The Ravens are too good and too balanced for the coaches to leave points on the field and give opponents extra time and possessions.
Go Ravens no doubt, but the coordinator needs to read clock management 101 between now and New England.
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