The Baltimore Ravens beat the St. Louis Rams today in Baltimore with a final score of 13-16. Those numbers, however, do not reflect the true outcome of the game. Though the Baltimore Ravens walked away with their third victory of the 2015 season, their team's leader and starting quarterback Joe Flacco tore his ACL and will not set foot on the gridiron again this season.
Flacco's injury is the latest in a series of major losses. Since offering Flacco his humongous contract after the team's Super Bowl victory in 2013, the Ravens have struggled to retain talent, losing many key players to free agency. On top of that, the Ravens have suffered a slew of serious injuries, including linebacker Terrell Suggs' torn Achilles at the beginning of the season. Bad luck continued when wide receiver Steve Smith also fell to the same injury earlier in the month. Add to the mix running back Justin Forsett, who is also out for the season with a broken arm, and the Ravens have had some of the worst luck in the NFL when it comes to player health.
Even without these injuries, however, the team would likely continue to struggle. Their deficits have gone well beyond basic personnel challenges. Former Bears head coach Marc Trestman has taken over in Baltimore as offensive coordinator, and has not been able to generate momentum or even hope of improved play. Head coach John Harbaugh's tenure this year has been marked by frustration and resignation. He has not given off an air of leadership.
The Steelers take on the Ravens for the second time this season in Baltimore on December 27. One of the Ravens three victories this season was against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on October 1, a game they won by a score of 23-20 the week after Ben Roethlisberger was sidelined with a knee injury against the St. Louis Rams.
Now, Flacco is the injured quarterback and will definitely miss the December 27 match up. Though the Ravens have a very poor record, they are ranked 9th in the league in passing yards. By the time the Steelers travel to Baltimore for their penultimate game of the season, and their final game against the Ravens, it should be clearer how well the team can perform under backup quarterback Matt Schaub, formerly of the Houston Texans.
Schaub was picked up out of the University of Virginia in the third round of the 2004 draft by the Atlanta Falcons. He played there through 2006 before joining the Texans in 2013. He played for the Raiders last year before signing on as the Ravens backup for the current season.
A two-time Pro Bowler, and 2009 Pro Bowl MVP, Schaub allegedly struggled during training camp so much that he was taunted by Suggs. While Schaub is no Flacco, he has extensive NFL experience and has several stellar seasons under his belt. Even if Schaub comes out in top form, the Ravens offense has been completely decimated, especially with the recent losses of receiver Steve Smith and running back Justin Forsett.