We're out of it. Similar to what happened the last time we met, Baltimore again hammered us in every facet of the game. They were more physical, better prepared, more intense, and more precise in just about everything they did.
We clearly don't match up well with Baltimore right now. Coming into the contest, our defense had been stingy as can be--albeit against inferior offenses. Still, it's hard to comprehend how our defense can be manhandled so thoroughly by any team in the NFL.
The real problem again though, was the offense. Our running game, which had shown promise during our prior mini-streak, was entirely unproductive. I thought offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt called a mediocre game at best. In our most important game of the season, against a defense that clearly matches up extremely well with our offense, Whisenhunt was uncreative with his playcalling. There's some teams you can't simply line up and run right at...Baltimore's one of them. No gadget plays, no innnovative screens, nothing to really get the Ravens defense on their heels.
Big Ben looked tentative and unsure of what to do, as if he was expecting to not have time to go through his progressions. Of course, he was often pressured yesterday, but when he did have time, it seemed as if he was more skittish than usual. I guess that's what getting sacked 9 times the previous meeting will do to a QB.
What's even more disappointing is the fact that many of the things we needed to happen for our playoff chances did in fact happen. Jacksonville choked at home; Kansas City took care of business Saturday night; the Bungals blew it; and the Titans took out Buffalo. It would have been an exciting weekend had we gotten the job done.
But we didn't, and it wasn't even close.
There is one saving grace however. We still have one game left and it's against the Bengals. We still have something to play for: to knock them out of the playoffs.
Much more coverage to come this week, including a preview of our final game against the Bengals, a breakdown of the AFC Wild Card picture, and a recap of the craziness that was Week 16 in the NFL.