Marc Trestman may have been made the scapegoat for the Ravens offensive woes, but he is far from the only guilty party.
The AFC North was glad to see week five leave town. Luckily the Steelers were able to overwhelm a 1-4 Jets team to salvage the division’s only win. The two Ohio team were embarrassed in blowouts, and the former team from Ohio was embarrassing to watch, at least when their offense was on the field. I was at the Ravens game and was unable to see anything else, so the Ravens are the focus this week.
Washington Redskins @ Baltimore Ravens
I’ve attended roughly 1/3 of the Ravens home games over their 20 years and have never left a game more frustrated. I’ve watched last second losses as a result of great opposition play, poor home team offensive or defensive execution, questionable calls, and even one horribly timed timeout that wiped out a game winning defensive stand against an 11-0 Patriots team in 2007. At least in most of those games, the course of action made some sense. The game this past Sunday versus Washington had head-scratching plays from start to finish. Lets take a look:
The other definition of insanity- doing the same thing over and over again with a positive result, then scrapping it:
The Ravens started out running the ball… running the ball EFFECTIVELY. Drive #1, 5 rushes for 49 yards resulting in a touchdown. Two drives later, 5 for 26 yards, resulting in a field goal. The Ravens ran the ball NINE TIMES TOTAL in their remaining 11 drives and threw it 47 times total.
Fault: Trestman, with an assist from Flacco for not checking out of horrible play calling. Harbaugh could have stepped in as well.
After the Ravens early success, the team rattled off seven straight drives with four plays or fewer. The only success they had after the drive #3 field goal was against Washington’s prevent defense on their final drive to close out the game.
Fault: Flacco with a major assist from Trestman, and a nod to Juan Castillo for having a horrible offensive line scheme since 2012, likely altering how the game was called.
Ravens 3rd down play “highlights”:
3rd and 21, dump-off pass for 7 yards
3rd and 18, dump-off pass and run for 12 yards
3rd and 9, run for -3 yards, fake field goal attempt
3rd and 1, go-route bomb incomplete, punt
3rd and 14, dump-off pass for 10 yards
3rd and 10, dump-off pass for 6 yards
Fault: Flacco, with an assist from Trestman. Many plays Flacco chose the wrong option, others he had no other option.
Reasons for 3rd and long:
Penalties (nine penalties total, but three assisting in stalled drives)
NEGATIVE PASS PLAYS (at least FOUR during stalled drives… amazing) contributing to the absolutely ridiculous 4.6 yards per pass attempt from Mr. Flacco
Fault: Flacco and the entire coaching staff
Ravens special teams:
Punt coverage parts the red sea in an essentially untouched return TD
Ingenious fake field goal with right footed Tucker lining up as a lefty.
Additional coverage breakdowns result in long returns.
Fault: Harbaugh, a former special teams coach and should be fined and/or publically scrutinized, and should be one step closer to the hot seat just for justifying his fake decision, especially on the heels of last week’s go-for-two debacle.
Interception for TD instead turns into a touchback. If the fumble is a few feet to the left, at the very least the Ravens have the ball 1st and goal inside the one. Hold onto the ball a 1/2 second longer, its a defensive touchdown.
Two short 4th quarter punts took perfect bounces, pinning the Ravens inside their 10 yard line
Fault: The entire coaching staff for having the team in a situation where those plays even mattered.
Next up, the Ravens head to New Jersey for the first of two straight in the Meadowlands.
New England Patriots @ Cleveland Browns
Nothing unexpected here. There was some glimmer of hope based on the recent past, but everyone knew Belichick and company were not going to let Brady’s return be anything but an “up yours Goodell” celebration. I didn’t see the game, but it didn’t appear to help that the Browns focused on stopping the run game (Patriots ran 35 times for 98 yards), but gave up 400+ yards through the air. I doubt that hurt Belichick’s game plan to showcase Tom Brady.
Next up for the Browns is a trip to Nashville. At least they will enjoy good BBQ and music.
New York Jets @ Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers started out slowly, then took over blanking the Jets in the 2nd half and scoring the games final 24 points. Like the Pats Browns game, the result wasn’t surprising.
Next up for the Steelers is a trip to Miami, a neutral site at worst for the Steelers, as it has proven to be a home away from home for AFC North fans.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Dallas Cowboys
Probably the most surprising outcome of the week considering the talent on the Bengals roster, and their 5+ year track record in the regular season. Down 28-0 in the 4th quarter should start shaking up the coaching staff, or at least putting them on notice. Who am I kidding. The status quo Bengals will still have the same coaching staff even if they are similarly dismantled in New England next week.
Next up for the Bengals is the aforementioned game somewhere between Providence, RI and Boston.