Monday, November 17, 2008
Going into yesterday's game against the New York Giants, the question on everyone’s mind was if the Ravens run-stuffing defense could stop the Giants’ “Earth, Wind and Fire” rushing attack of Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw.
That question was answered right away with a resounding “NO!”
Brandon Jacobs scampered for 52 yards and the TD on the Giants' first offensive drive and it set the tone early as the Giants went on to beat the Ravens 30-10.
As a team, the Giants rushed for 207 yards (but no one had over 100 yards individually! YAY!)
Meanwhile, Joe Flacco led the Ravens in rushing yards with 57, which should tell you all you need to know about how well the Ravens were able to run the ball.
As a passer, Flacco was mediocre. He threw a bad interception in the second quarter and then made a great pass to Le’Ron McClain for a TD in the third quarter before his bobbled pass to Derrick Mason was intercepted and returned for a TD by Aaron Ross at the end of the third.
But without a running game to set up the passing game, Flacco struggled to gain any semblance of rhythm. And asking a rookie QB to win the game with his arm is a tall order and one he’s not ready to fulfill. Yet. Flacco finished with a less than stellar line: 20-33, 164 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT.
Some might say that the game was closer than the 30-10 score, but I’d have to disagree. The Ravens were pretty much dominated in every facet of the game. They couldn’t run and they couldn’t stop the run. And without the run, the Ravens couldn't get the passing game going either.
The closest the Ravens ever came to making it a game was late in the third quarter. While trailing 20-10, the Ravens were driving down the field, and had they scored, (either a field goal or a touchdown), they would have been down by only one score. But Flacco’s pass was bobbled by Mason and returned for the TD that put the game out of reach at 27-10.
In my opinion, yesterday’s loss was a reality-check. The Ravens looked good for the last month, beating up on the NFL’s bottom feeders (excluding the Dolphins, who are now 6-4), but as they’ve faced the better teams in the league, they’ve found ways to lose.
And the schedule doesn’t let up any time soon. The Eagles come into town next week. Philly is licking their wounds after playing to a tie with the Cincinnati Bengals, and they’ll be playing hard to save their season, which is on the ropes in the tough NFC East.
Then the Ravens get a break of sorts as they travel to Cincinnati to face the somewhat improved Bengals. But the Ravens haven’t won in Cincy since 2004. Then it’s Washington and Pittsburgh at home, at Dallas and then home against Jacksonville to close out the season.
At 6-4, the Ravens are still very much in the mix for the playoffs. But if they want to make it to the postseason, they’ll have to actually beat some good teams for once.