“We’re not the only team that lost today and we still have two more games. But as a player, I am embarrassed for our city.” – Ed Reed
One play encapsulated the Ravens' 34-17 loss against the Broncos on Sunday. Quarterback Joe Flacco made a poor decision that turned a first-and-goal opportunity at the Broncos' four-yard line with 30 seconds left in the first half into a 98-yard interception return by safety Chris Harris.
The momentum killer turned a potential 10-7 halftime score into a 17-0 deficit that buried the Ravens' chances of clinching the AFC North this afternoon.
"I just made a mistake, there's no other way to put that." said Flacco who posted a pathetic 0.4 Total QBR in Sunday's loss.
The unbalanced offensive attack the Ravens have displayed in recent weeks was shook up on Monday when offensive coordinator Cam Cameron unexpectedly got the axe in favor of former Colts head coach Jim Caldwell. After suffering two straight losses, head coach Jim Harbaugh thought it was time for a change.
"With our coaches and players, the solution is in the building," said Harbaugh. "We are going to make the most of our opportunities going forward, and this change gives us a better possibility to achieve our goals."
You can argue Cameron's choice of play calling during his five-year stint with the Ravens was suspect but Caldwell is a relatively inexperienced offensive coach; on Sunday he proved that after dialing up pass play after pass play.
Baltimore's forgotten man, Ray Rice, had only 15 carries for a season low of 41 yards from scrimmage and 2.7 per touch. After six games of 100 yards or more last season, Rice has only topped the 100-yard mark three times this year. One thing Caldwell should have learned from Cameron's offense is to run the football, even if it needs to be obsessively.
You have an absolute stud in the backfield who constantly plays second fiddle to Flacco's inconsistent throwing. In fact, Flacco has committed pivotal turnovers during the three game skid that had Ravens' fans calling for a different kind of change at the end of Sunday's game- a switch at the qb position.
"Obviously, it’s tough on those guys (the fans) because they want to see us win." said Flacco, who was booed throughout the afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium. "So they’re entitled to do it the way they see it, and we’re going to do our best from here on out to make sure that we can try to give you guys a good show and put wins on the board.”
Hours later, Baltimore fans did have something to cheer for when the Cowboys beat the hated Steelers in overtime, helping the Ravens (9-5) clinch their fifth straight playoff berth. However, the AFC North title is still up for grabs as the Bengals (8-6) are only a game behind of tying the division.
Depending on how the next two weeks play out, Harbaugh – not Flacco - will be held accountable for the switch if it does indeed turnout to be crippling for the Ravens' playoff performance.
Superbowl teams usually get hot during the end of the season and with that being said, the Baltimore Ravens are cold as ice right now.
Zachary Hutton is the lead boxing writer and an NFL contributor for CraveOnline Sports. You can see what he's up to at his band's website myunclethewolf.com or also subscribe at Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.
Photo Credit: Getty