I Don’t Know: A Ravens-Titans Week 2 Review
We aren’t who we thought we were.
I normally like to title these things after a piece of music I happen to be listening to at the time. Listening to Ozzy Osbourne’s “Blizzard of Ozz” – which still holds up very well mind you – it didn’t take me long to come up with the title this week after the Ravens lost to the Tennessee Titans.
Put it this way: remember how awesome the Ravens played last week against Pittsburgh? Yeah, this game was pretty much the opposite of that. How could they do that? Well, as Ozzy sang, don’t ask me, I don’t know.
To say the Ravens laid an egg in Nashville is almost an insult to eggs. They looked like a team that had spent the week reading their own press clippings, thinking they could just show up and beat a Tennessee team that just lost to a bad Jacksonville squad. The Sports Illustrated cover jinx was also in play.
Whatever the case, it was extremely disappointing to see the Ravens follow the emotional high of the Pittsburgh win with a loss like this. On paper, and judging by last week, they should have beaten this Titans team by at least two touchdowns. But when you don’t show up mentally and don’t bring it physically, you’re going to get beat in the NFL.
Maybe the Ravens aren’t as good as we thought they were. Maybe they just had an off game. Regardless, championship-caliber teams bring it every game. They don’t lose to teams they’re better than. They come that much harder, even if everything isn’t clicking. They figure out how to make it happen. Just look at Green Bay’s game against Carolina for proof of that.
If yesterday’s game is any indication, this Ravens team still has lessons it needs to learn if it wants to become a champion.
---Before the Pittsburgh game, every Ravens fan’s biggest concern was over the offensive line and the secondary. After the Ravens shellacked the Steelers, with the secondary and o-line playing better than anybody could have hoped, we fans thought these problems were behind us.
Consider the problems back.
The offensive line couldn’t pass protect and couldn’t open holes for Ray Rice. Other than that, they were great. Michael Oher started forgetting the snap count again. Bryant McKinnie couldn’t dominate this week like he did last week. Ben Grubbs was missed at left guard.
As for the secondary, well, as Mike Preston succinctly put it, they should just burn the tape of this game.
It is flat-out embarrassing to give up 354 yards passing to Matt Hasselbeck. Not that Hasselbeck is a bad quarterback, but he’s on the downside of his career and the Ravens just made him look like Tom Brady.
The Titans picked on Cary Williams a ton, matching him up with Kenny Britt aka the new Brandon Marshall (not just because Britt is a big, talented receiver, but also for his run-ins with the law). Britt was unstoppable out there. First-round pick Jimmy Smith, who has the size to matchup with Britt, was sorely missed with an ankle injury. Memo to Coach John Harbaugh, don’t put your No.1 corner out there to get hurt on kickoff coverage.
The other guilty parties in the secondary include Domonique Foxworth, who I’ve never been a fan of. He’s just not physical enough. Nickel corner Lardarius Webb has great speed but is more like Corey Ivy than anyone would like – right down to the fact that Webb’s best asset is his blitzing, just like Ivy.
Believe me, I know playing cornerback is not an easy job. But the bottom line is, the Ravens HAVE to find somebody that can shut down receivers on a consistent basis or the aggressive brand of defense they want to play is never going to work.
--- So one week after I sing his praises, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron goes back to the same kind of unimaginative game planning we’ve seen far too often over the last two years.
---It won’t take long for the talk radio critics to start in on Joe Flacco again after that game.
The less said about this game, the better. The Ravens let slip a golden opportunity to go to 2-0. It’s a loss to a team they should beat, something that has rarely happened in the Harbaugh Era. In fact, yesterday’s game was a throwback to the Brian Billick years, when the Ravens routinely underwhelmed against lesser competition.
To keep things in perspective, it is only two games and the season is a long way from over. The Ravens can put this loss behind them and focus on St. Louis next week, a very winnable road game. But it's time to put down those press clippings boys, you’re not as good as you thought you were.