John Harbaugh’s troops suffered a tough loss to New England in OT
Finally, I decided to do something smart and split my posts of the game review and my own analysis of the action.
It allows for me to focus on each individually and to get a quicker review of the game out since I can wait to give my views later in the day.
So I present to you – Post Game Ponderings.
Why was Cam Cameron so conservative in the Fourth Quarter and in the Overtime?
They tried to sit on the lead and in the process played -not to lose. Those that play not to lose, often do so.
Let me start with kudos for the offensive play calling the first three quarters of the game. They started with quick short passes to start and worked into the intermediate and longer throws. Ray Rice, was the focus as well and there was a good balance between run and pass.
It was clear that the Pats were not going to be run on as they were last January. Rice was effective but he didn’t have the daylight to get into space on the second level to really do some damage. That opened up chances for Joe Flacco who was superb at times and made some “elite” throws. It’s what made the decision to sit on the ball seem even more strange. Flacco was having a career day and looked consistently sharp yet they wanted to run on second down almost exclusively.
The key moment for me was when the Ravens elected to punt on 4th and 1 just around midfield. In other words the second time they were in 4th and short. Brady had just scored on the previous series and the momentum was shifting. You could see the body language from the offense as they were called off and the message was clear. We’ll take our chances with the defense instead of letting you get one yard. The offense was never the same after that.
If Flacco played so well why couldn’t he lead the Ravens to victory?
I ask this I read the Facebook postings and message board ramblings of some who were all over Joe at the end of the game. This is answer is for those people.
Today, was the best full game that I’ve seen out of Joe Flacco. He showed composure and great zip on his ball and often placed it where only his receiver could reach it. You have to wonder how the game plays out of Derrick Mason holds on to the tight pass Flacco delivered that would have put the Ravens up 24-10. It would have been a tough catch but it was in Mason’s hands.
Since Cameron refused to adjust or even use play-action on second down late in the game (notice Tom Brady did to great success) he put his quarterback in 3rd downs where the Patriots chose to rush only three and drop eight into coverage. Would you rather Flacco force the ball into coverage for a pick?
Brady also went into no-huddle to keep the Ravens subs on the sideline. Yet, Flacco was forced to hand off and allow a whole new package of players trot on to the field to defense a sure pass. The Ravens ran some no-huddle in Pittsburgh, why not here?
Cameron is normally a guy who is aggressive and often time fans deride him for him not running when he should. Today’s result either gives him firepower to defend his choices in the past or he just doesn’t know the right situation in which to call the right plays.
What mistakes were crucial to the loss today?
There were several. In a game where the Ravens dominated three quarters, and as a team played with such composure to that point it’s what makes this loss tough to swallow.
Billy Cundiff who has been a great special teams weapon this year started the blunders kicking the ball out of bounds and giving Brady and the Pats great field position.
The fourth and one punt I still feel kept the momentum going the wrong way. Those that would have gone the conservative route would say what happens if you don’t make it – you give the Pats great field position again.
True, but at times you must be the brash, an bold team you say you are. John Harbaugh likes to portray a tough guy image but when it came down to it he wimped out. My offense can’t get 1 yard so take the ball back. A conversion is huge there.
Le’Ron McClain’s personal foul penalty summed up the frustration by the players as, if to say, “How did we let this one get away?”
Who was the Offensive player of the game?
Joe Flacco was excellent 27 for 35 – 285 for 2 touchdowns as he became the franchise leader in passing today. Derrick Mason was active with 8 grabs for 100 yards. It would have been nice to see Boldin and Houshmandzadeh more involved today but the run was the focus. Which reminds me, where was Willis McGahee?
Who was the Defensive player of the game?
Haloti Ngata recorded his first multi-sack game in his career and Dawan Landry was solid in run support and on the blitz that caused Brady’s first pick. Ray Lewis was quiet in the first half but picked up later while Chris Car did a decent job slowing Wes Welker.