By Samuel Njoku
During a typical Ravens season, Baltimore would use their bye week to bounce back from any shortcomings. But this hasn’t been a typical season for the Baltimore Ravens. As such, the Ravens (3-5) fell to the Cleveland Browns (4-5) 24-18, which snapped an 11-game win streak against their division foe. With the Ravens suffering a third straight loss, any hopes of a championship defense is fading rather quickly.
Offense Grade: D
The Ravens offense was once again abysmal on the field. This was particularly true during the first quarter when it didn’t look like the Ravens were going to be able to put any points on the board. The offensive line was once again playing at a poor level. With Kelechi Osemele likely out for the season, A.Q. Shipley has been brought in to start in his absence. But his presence brought little to this anemic offense.
There was a time when the Ravens rushing attack was a feared entity. Those days appear to be over as Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce continue to struggle on the ground. It’s true that holes in that line have been scarce, but the running backs haven’t hit the holes when they have shown up. Their lackluster performance has sent ripples throughout the team.
Defense Grade: D
Baltimore cut Michael Huff a few days prior to their game against Cleveland. But it appears as if the defense may have picked up some of Huff’s bad habits. The defense was around the ball for most of the contest. But when the opposing team made the catch, the Ravens defense found it extremely difficult to make the tackle. If you can’t tackle in this league, teams will convert for first downs on a consistent basis. That was the case on Sunday.
Quarterback Grade: F
The Ravens didn’t give Flacco any time in the pocket as he was sacked five times. The reigning Super Bowl MVP was clearly rattled throughout the day. Often times it appeared as if Flacco was hesitant to step up in the pocket.
In the second half, Flacco would routinely run away from the pocket on bootlegs to give him more time to make his reads. But even with all that going against him, Flacco played poorly. He was off target on a number of passes. Some of the passes were meant for players that were relatively open. And when they weren’t open, he’d throw it to them anyway.
Your franchise quarterback is supposed to lift the team up from their mediocre play. It’s what makes the quarterback position one of the most important in all of sports. So far, Flacco has failed to live up to his contract. Though it isn’t nearly all his fault, Flacco deserves some of the blame.
Special Teams Grade: D
Besides Justin Tucker, the special teams unit didn’t play well. P Sam Koch made a poor punt to give the Browns great field position. Tandon Doss muffed on a punt return that lead to points for the Browns. It was a day that this unit would rather forget.
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Samuel Njoku was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Samuel has covered the Ravens for Examiner.com since 2010. Prior to 2010, Samuel was an avid blogger and radio personality in Salisbury, MD. Samuel Njoku is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.