Bengals 17 Ravens 14 (The OFFENSIVE REGRESSION Game)
This is the recap that just wasn’t meant to be. I spent a half hour going through my disappointments in the offense, the defense, the playcalling, and the team in general, only to have it all wiped out when I hit the “back” button by accident on my browser. As a result, we’re going to bullet-point this mofo and call it a week.
- Where is the offense? Even though they are still ranked #5 in the NFL statistically, the Ravens offense is scuffling for an identity. They need to figure out who they are, and fast. I thought we were done with this.
- Where is the defense? After allowing 403 yards at home, again failing to get consistent pressure on the QB, and numerous breakdowns in the secondary, the departure of Rex Ryan is looking more and more significant every week.
- When did everyone on the Ravens forget how to tackle? Cedric Benson ran through arm tackles all day on his way to breaking the purple and black’s 39-game streak of not allowing a 100 yard rusher. Cedric. Benson. Ugh.
- Ed Reed is still the man. After a slow first few games, Reed pretty much single-handedly kept this one from being a blowout.
- Dominique Foxworth needs to pick it up. The reviews after 5 games have #24 looking like a HUGE free agent bust from Ozzie Newsome.
- Even after their medicore performance on both sides of the ball, the Ravens still had a great chance to win this one. The officials, of course, had other ideas. The Bengals scored two touchdowns on the day – the first was aided by an illegal contact penalty (on #24, of course) 20-some yards down the field on a 3rd-and-8 play that saw Carson Palmer sacked for an 11-yard loss and should have ended the drive. Instead, Benson scored four plays later. The second, on that fateful final drive, included an illegal contact penalty on Chris Carr, a no-call on pass interference on Ochocinco, a 15-yard unnecessary roughness flag on Ray Lewis for decapitating 85, and the kicker…a TICKY TACK pass interference call on Frank Walker with 34 seconds on the clock. That final flag eliminated what should have been a 4th down and 16, and in all likelihood, a B’More win. Weren’t we told all week, regarding the calls in New England, that it was just an example of the “home cookin’” that all NFL teams enjoy? Well, where the hell was our “home cookin’?”
I bit my tongue last week, but Sunday was another atrocious example of anti-purple officiating. The game book will tell you that the zebras threw 10 flags on the Ravens, and 7 on the Bengals. A bit lopsided, but even more so if you look closer. Three of the 7 on Cincy were delay of game calls – not like they had much choice there (shut up, Titans fans). There were also 2 false starts, 1 hold, and 1 offside called on the Bengals. So basically, ONE call that involved any interpretation on the refs’ part (the hold). Unlike the Ravens, who saw such calls as illegal contact (2), defensive illegal formation, chop block, unnecessary roughness, and pass interference. Pretty much every subjective call that can be made. Oh, and of course there was the whole “taking 5 yards away from you for almost fumbling” on Mark Clayton when Marvin Lewis threw the challenge flag. I also feel compelled to point out that, in the decisive final quarter, the penalty tally was Baltimore 5, Cincinnati 0. Not low blows, just facts.
The schedule is about to heat up something fierce (the Ravens’ next 3 opponents are a combined 14-1), so we’ll see what John Harbaugh and his squad are really made of, as he faces some adversity for pretty much the first time in his short coaching tenure.