Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Man in the Mirror

Last night's game was really interesting. I've for years really disliked to Ravens. I don't have any real reason personally to dislike them, but I do. Perhaps it's the fact that I think Brian Billick is the most over rated coach in the NFL. He lucked into Randy Moss and Robert Smith when he was with the Vikings and became known as an offensive genius. Then he lucked into a dominant defense which carried the Genuis' pathetic offense into a Super Bowl ring. Add to that Ray Lewis getting away with murder, Jamal Lewis being busted as a drug dealer, that they were moved by a sorry owner from Cleveland and you have in my opinion a dislikeable franchise.
Last night, however, as the adversary of the Patriots on Monday Night Football, the Ravens because the carriers of all things good and righteous against the evil Hoodies. And for three and half quarters, they were what we all hoped for. And with Don Shula in the MNF broadcast booth, clearly rooting for them, I thought they had a chance. By now, you know what happened. Trailing 24-20 with 4 minutes left in the game, Tom Brady led the Patriots down the field to the winning touchdown and the Pats are now 4 games from 16-0. The Ravens would have you believe that their righteous victory was stolen from them by the evil refs in dark conspiracy perpetrated by the highest of puppet masters in the NFL offices in New York. Don't you believe it. Really, they should just look in the mirror, coaches and players. Here are a list of reasons the Ravens lost last night starting with the least egregious.

1. A still inept offense. Brian Billick has been at Baltimore for nine years and the Ravens have consistently been below average on offense. In the 4th quarter, Baltimore had three possessions while ahead and each time went three and out. Until the last desperation drive, Kyle Bolar was 2-5 for 10 yards and a pick. Willis McGahee ran 5 times for 5 yards. At the time when they needed to run the clock and pick up first downs (in that order), they completely failed.

2. Bad defensive coaching on the Patriots last drive. From what I hear the Ravens defensive coaching had as good a game plan for most of the game, bringing pressure from different places, well run disguised blitzed. Until the end that is. I wish I could go back and watch that last drive because it seemed every time Brady was able to get yardage passing was when the Ravens rushed only three. With the talented receivers that Brady has, you can't give him time to sit back there and wait for someone to come open and that's exactly what happened. Everyone wants to complain about the timeout, but the Ravens let Tom Brady run for twelve yards and a first down after the timeout. As expected the Ravens only rushed three and left the right side of the offense wide open. Brady's not Vince Young. Unless there's a wide open space, he's not gonna run. It was not a good defensive performance there.

3. Undisciplined players. The real problem with the Ravens were players who went off the deep end after the touchdown. I understand that it was an emotional game and there were a number of times when they thought they had to game won only to have that not be the case because of factors not always under their control. The fact of the matter is there has been infighting on this team for most of the year. Even as one who doesn't pay close attention living in another city, I can tell there are problems. It all culminated last night with the penalties after the touchdown and the comments after the game. When the Patriots scored the touch down there was 44 seconds left in the game. A long time? No. But there was a possibility of a long return on the kickoff or some other unforeseen circumstance. Instead, the Ravens lost 35 yards in penalties, mostly by Bart Scott's 2 unsportsmanlike conduct fouls. When the Ravens cry about loosing this game, they can only blame themselves. Not that I care about the direction of this team, but the Billick needs to go. He has presided over the deterioration of all discipline and ability to play like a team.


PJ said...

While I will disagree with your comments about the Patriots being the "evil Hoodies" (clever name though), I completely agree with the end of the game. There were several things that stood out to me. 1. All the time wasted getting a play off within that 44 seconds at the end. The commentators said that it was inexcusable and I agreed. 2. For all of the griping about the officiating, you didn't hear one of them suggest that Mason should have been penalized for a tackle of Asante Samuel during the last play which could have cost NE the game. 3. The whole to-do about the "boy" comments. Really? you, as a big tough football player are getting upset because a ref called yoou "boy"? I just don't get it. I'm sure the ref was called MUCH worse during the game.

rus said...

Well of course you disagree with the Pats being called evil. But it's clear that they are with the running up of the score and the fact that Bill Belichek is a jerk and the whole cheating scandle. Which, by the way, I still don't believe we got a full answer on that. I'm not even going to mention the insufferability of their fans (actually I just did mention it). Boston fans are getting to be worse than Yankee fans.
I mean, why don't they just take it the rest of the way and start wearing black hats? They are clearly the bad guys this year.

Chris said...

Rus, I think Boston officially passed New York this year as the home of the most insufferable fans. A Sox fan at armchairgm.com made a comment about "how it sucks to be a Sox fan" after a playoff loss to Cleveland--I quickly called them on it. Mind you, this is a mere three years after the "bloody sock" World Series, and, oh yeah, Boston went on to win this year, too. I wish being a Rangers fan sucked so much.