Team Grades: Ravens Offense Sputters Against Cardinals In Final Moments

By Samuel Njoku

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before.

The Ravens had the ball with less than two minutes to go, but couldn’t get the job done and fell to the Cardinals 18-26. It was another poor showing for the team as Baltimore fell to a league-low 1-6 on the season. Arizona improved to 5-2 and look to compete in the NFC West while the Ravens appear to be out of the running for a playoff spot this year.

Offense: C+

Fans have been amazed by what Joe Flacco has been able to accomplish with the weapons that have been left for him this year. Flacco has been far from perfect this season, but he continues to do more with less. Steve Smith has been a joy to watch this season and it’s a shame that his talents are being wasted on a team that won’t make any kind of push for a championship this season. Besides Smith and Flacco, this passing offense has been sporadic at best.

The running game was no better as the Cardinals rush defense kept Forsett in check with only 36 yards on the ground. The lack of a running game forced Baltimore to become one dimensional and was a factor in the loss on Monday night. The play everyone will talk about is the interception in the endzone to seal the Cardinals victory. But Flacco was faced with so much pressure, he had no choice but to throw it up for grabs. With the loss of Kelechi Osemele and Eugene Monroe, the Ravens had no way to protect their quarterback. Luckily, he was able to finish the game unharmed.

Defense: D

The Ravens defense has been the weak point of this team since the season started. Monday Night was no different as they were continuously exposed by Carson Palmer and the Cardinals offense.  Lardarius Webb was charged with containing Larry Fitzgerald and didn’t look comfortable throughout the contest. He was flagged on a few occasions simply because he couldn’t keep up with the future Hall of Famer. The rest of the secondary followed his lead with poor play on nearly every drive.

The run defense has been the strength of this unit. Besides the questionable run play where Chris Johnson took off after it seemed as if he was stopped, the unit held their own against a solid group of backs. But with the way the defensive backs have played this year, there may be few opportunities for them to show their dominance in 2015.

Special Teams: A+

Justin Tucker was perfect. Sam Koch was stellar. And a blocked punt that could have been the turning point in the game if the Ravens offense were able to punch the ball into the endzone. Sounds like A+ work.

Coaching: C-

Though the Ravens came to within a touchdown of sending the game into overtime, the overall issue remains the same as it has in previous weeks. The Ravens don’t look prepared on gameday to face their opponents. The play has been sloppy and players seem to be lacking in the fundamentals. That’s on the coaching staff. Questionable calls by the offensive coordinator need to be addressed in house. John Harbaugh will have to do his best to make sure his team is giving 100% effort the rest of the way, considering how poorly the season has gone so far.

The Ravens will now have to return to Baltimore and prepare to face the San Diego Chargers at home on a short week. With Philip Rivers coming to town, it could be another frustrating game for the purple and black.

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.

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