Reality Assessment: at Cincinnati
This column is not called the Kneejerk Assessment. It is called the Reality Assessment. In the aftermath of the season-ending loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, it is easy to sweep away the season as a total loss. And to some extent, not making the playoffs deems this season a total loss.
However, reading what people are writing about the 2013 Baltimore Ravens is a little reactionary and near-sighted. Yes, the Ravens gambled in a few areas when constructing this roster and they came up on the losing end with some of those moves. Did they make a mistake in giving Joe Flacco franchise quarterback money? Please. Without Flacco, this team wins two or three games, tops. Will the Ravens have some tough roster decisions to make this offseason? Absolutely. Good players may be allowed to leave via free agency. Are there many holes to address? Yes, there probably are.
But let’s not say all is loss. We have been very fortunate to have the five year run we have had as fans of the Baltimore Ravens. The team is in good hands with Steve Bisciotti, Ozzie Newsome, John Harbaugh, and Joe Flacco. In my End of the Season Review column, which will be posted later this weekend, I will address the season as a whole and we will start looking towads the 2014 season.
As for the game against the Bengals, the game was a microcosm of the struggles the Ravens endured all season. In fact, the struggles against the Bengals were the same things we have been seeing since training camp and the preseason. In week three of the preseason, I wrote about the offense’s struggles and defense’s lapses. We saw the writing on the wall in week one about the offensive line and the secondary struggles. Week two was no different.
By week nine and week 11, it was getting more and more challenging each week in finding new ways to describe what we were witnessing. Writing about this team’s deficiencies each week was like listening to a broken record, but that would actually demean broken records.
There was hope all year that the team would be able to gel, make adjusts, and/or fix some of these issues. But in the end, the Ravens succumbed to the same things that plagued them all year.
As I stated, the Bengals game was a microcosm of the struggles the Ravens endured all season. The running game was non-existent. The offensive line was a sieve. The gameplan was vanilla. The pass rush continued its late season swoon. The defense came up small in big situations. The secondary had “miscommunications.” The middle of the field was a vacant hole on defense. The receivers struggled in getting separation. The deep passing game had no rhythm. The quarterback, because of the play of the offensive line, played on one leg, with one arm, and just couldn’t make enough plays.
These issues were nothing we hadn’t seen all season. The downfalls listed above were what plagued the Ravens in week 17 and the entire 2013 season. In the words of Dennis Green, the Ravens were “ what we thought they were.”
That is simply, the reality of the situation for the 2013 Baltimore Ravens.
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An avid sports fan, and a passionate Ravens fan. However, I don't always wear the purple-shaded glasses.