This is the Reality Assessment, and reality is that the Ravens were horrendous on every level against the Philadelphia Eagles.
However, I am an educator, so most things in life can be used as teachable moments. Here are things that I have zeroed in on that I am sure have been, and will be, addressed at the UA Performance Center.
It would have been great had two of the team’s leaders actually shown up and played well. But alas, that didn’t happen.
Joe Flacco was horrific. When a quarterback completes almost as many completions to the other team (two interceptions) as he does to his own team (three completions), you know things are awful. The first interception was a clear shot-play from about the 50 yard line. Flacco was mildly pressured from his right and looked like he unleashed the bomb a little earlier than he would have liked. One could argue that Kamar Aiken could have given a little more effort to the underthrown ball, but that would not have changed the outcome. This was very reminiscent of Flacco’s throw that ended the comeback bid against the Patriots in last year’s playoff game.
The second interception was ridiculous. Flacco sums it up best by describing the throw to receiver Marlon Brown. "He's a 6-foot-5 wide receiver and I overthrew him by five feet, so you just can't have that," Flacco said. "I made a terrible throw." Imagine how bad it would have looked if the receiver was Steve Smith.
Terrell Suggs couldn't have played worse--three penalties (one was declined), zero impact, and lots of controversy. First things first, Suggs’ hit was not illegal. As he was assessed the roughing the passer penalty by referee Jerome Boger, I was screaming at the TV (and my Eagles’ friend) that the quarterback is supposed to be treated as a runner in that situation. NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino confirmed this Monday morning.
Ironically, Boger was the referee for Super Bowl XLVII, and he saw a heavy dose of read-option quarterback Colin Kaepernick. In that game, the Ravens continually hit Kaepernick at the mesh point (where quarterback and running back meet) because it was a legal play.
Rushing: The Good and the Bad and the Ugly
The Good: Behind a makeshift offensive line, the Ravens averaged 4.5 yards per rush.
The Bad: The Ravens continue to struggle in short yardage situations. Though there were only two situations when the Ravens faced 3rd and 1, the offense managed a net of minus-1 yard. Yes, they picked up the 4th and 1, but the Ravens will not be going for it from their own 36 yard line in the regular season.
The Ugly: The run defense was man handled at the point of attack to the tune of 6.3 yards per rush. No one from the starting front seven played well. Was it all of the misdirection plays? Was it the uptempo offense? The Eagles ran at will, amassing 238 yards rushing. This needs to be fixed.
2005 Detroit-esque Sloppiness
We haven't seen a game quite like this since 2005 against the Detroit Lions. I am not sure we have seen a John Harbaugh led team this sloppy in so many facets.
Here is a sample of the sloppiness:
- Penalties: 17 for 139 yards (another four penalties were declined by the Eagles)
- Third down efficiency: 6 for 15 (40 percent)
- Third down efficiency allowed: 10 for 17 (59 percent)
- Turnovers: 2 interceptions
- Sacks-Yards Lost: 3 for 12 yards
- Preseason Reality: Scheming for an Opponent vs. Vanilla Base Sets
Jimmy Smith said it best. Here is his quote from the Baltimore Sun: “Penalties were killing us. It was a sloppy first quarter. Obviously, we are not game-planning for them, so they are going to have a lot of plays because we're not in the correct defense in the second preseason game. If this was a real game, we would game-plan against them. Instead, we were just running our basic scheme, and they were able to make the plays.”
In addition, the Eagles were exclusively in no huddle-shotgun mode during the game. Of the 91 Eagles’ offensive snaps, 89 were from no huddle-shotgun. After three days of practices at slower speeds (do you think Chip Kelly revealed the true speed of his modus operandi?), I am sure it was quite the juxtaposition when it came time to the game.
Though it was a dreadful performance on every level, Ravens’ fans can take solace that it was just a preseason game.