I really don’t have my usual joviality. This edition will be on the short side as a result, but last nights seat-of-their-pants victory in OT over the Houston Texans left a horrible taste in my mouth. Coming off a bad loss vs. the biggest rivals, with all the coaches and players saying all the right things about what went wrong… history repeated itself. The Baltimore Ravens haven’t played 60 minutes of football yet this year. The sun is starting to set on the season, and if this continues, an early playoff exit is in the cards. Last night’s problems can be summed up in one play.
4th Qtr. 28-20, Ravens leading, with possession. A little over 3 minutes remaining. Texans have zero timeouts remaining. 3rd. And 2.
You know exactly what I’m talking about, don’t you? Of course you do. I heard every last Raven fan in the known universe screaming in anguish as Baltimore QB Joe Flacco took the snap, and dropped back to pass. We all know what happened, incomplete pass. But here’s the thing… even if that first down is converted, that is the wrong call.
Ravens Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron should be absolutely ashamed of himself. Head Coach John Harbaugh said in post-game interviews that Cameron felt strongly about passing in that situation, and since Harbaugh let him run it, Harbaugh should shoulder some blame himself. Because with the incomplete pass, the clock stops and the Ravens punt with about two and half minutes to work.
Considering the 4th quarter was all Texans up to that point, including a 99-yard drive that ate up half the quarter, the defense was getting gassed. This gave the Texans offense momentum and hope that if they could get the ball back with enough time, they could go down the field again on the overworked Ravens defense. So with the Ravens running game moving the ball fairly well on that possession, in a short-yardage third down situation as an offense, you have one job: keep the clock moving. Period. Power the ball on the ground. You pick up the first, now you only have to contend with the 2 minute warning stopping the clock. You fail to pick it up, you bleed the clock of precious seconds the Texans would need. I don’t know a person alive who thinks a pass there makes a lick of sense.
Except for Cam Cameron.
As it stands today, unless the Ravens show us something in these remaining three games, the coaching staff has written the story of the 2010 season. The title: “Not Quite There,” or “How the Baltimore Ravens Players Won Games Despite Their Coaching.”