Mark Zinno: Ravens Reactive – Week 4 Recap
It’s not often in life that the smaller number is better than the bigger number. Five is usually better than one. Five dollars are better than one dollar. Five wins are better than one win. Maybe the only time where one is better than five is in the game of golf – and in the case of Anquan Boldin. One player. One man. One wide receiver. The Ravens traded away Boldin this off-season to free up enough salary cap room to sign five defensive players. But not even the likes of Elvis Dumervil, Daryl Smith, Chris Canty, Marcus Spears and Michael Huff – all starters on the Ravens defense – failed to help their team get a win in Buffalo Sunday as the defending Super Bowl champs lost to the Bills 23-20.
The 2-2 Ravens were awful on the offensive side of the football. And with Anquan Boldin in San Francisco, Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco only has one teammate he trusts that will catch a ball thrown his way, and that’s Torrey Smith. Naturally it begs the question as to why John Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell would drop back 55 times in the game compared to just nine total rushes for a measly 24 yards. The Bills conversely, gashed the Ravens defense, and their five new starters for over 200 yards on the ground. And while it’s silly to assume that Anquan Boldin is the panacea for the Ravens offense, he certainly wouldn’t hurt.
It was one week ago where John Harbaugh said that running the football was “part of our DNA.” Someone must have cloned an evil twin who totally abandoned the run, especially in the second half attempting just two rushes that occurred late in the fourth quarter. Head coach John Harbaugh took 100% of the blame for the imbalance. He said, “That’s my call all the way. I felt like we weren’t running the ball well enough to win the game running the ball. No second guessing myself on that.” While he pointed the finger at himself for the play calling, he wasn’t shy about where the execution lacked the most. “The whole O-line is disappointing,” Harbaugh said.
The longest timed drive the Ravens had was their opening drive of the game, which lasted a game-high six plays, spanning four minutes and six seconds, went a total of 11 yards and ended in a punt. Baltimore held onto the football for just 23 minutes and 34 seconds.
The Ravens are a mess offensively. No identity. No consistency. Most importantly, no production or push out of the offensive line. They are getting beat up front early and often. That of all things may be secretly driving John Harbaugh crazy because he loves being a physical football team. Harbaugh also hinted that he has to find the schemes to fit his personnel. That personnel doesn’t include Anquan Boldin, who was one of the more physical players on that Super Bowl team.
Thankfully for the Ravens, no one wants to take control over the AFC North just yet. Baltimore is in a three-way tie for the division lead with a tiebreaker over the Browns – which John Harbaugh called, “a consolation.”
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