Posted in Ravens Thoughts

Baltimore Ravens fall to Rams: Good, bad, ugly

By Chris Schisler

A quick recap of a painful loss for the Baltimore Ravens

The Good

Most of the first half went the Baltimore Ravens way. Chuck Clark has two interceptions for the Ravens’ defense including a pick-six for the first score of the contest. Mark Andrews set the franchise record for receding yards in a season.

Outside of one bad decision, Tyler Huntley was incredibly efficient. The end of the first half was excellent. The Ravens managed the game well and therefore had all three-time outs. Huntley led an impressive march to get Justin Tucker a big field goal to make it 13-7 at the half.

The second half could have started disastrously for the Ravens. While they sure would have liked a 3rd & 7 stop on the initial set of downs, things worked out. Matthew Stafford fumbled under duress in the red zone and Justin Houston got the ball for Baltimore. That was huge and it kept things on track for the Ravens.

One thing that went according to the script was the time of possession battle. The Ravens shortened the game, limited possessions for Stafford, and the defense gave their offense a couple of extra possessions. The Ravens held the ball for over 33 minutes of the game clock. They only got 19 points with it, but it was there for the taking. This game in so many ways went the Ravens’ way… Oh, man. What can you say? 

The Bad

The Ravens were up 10-0 when Tyler Huntley got greedy and forced the ball downfield. Instead of setting up a lead-extending score before halftime, Huntley put the Rams back into the game.  It didn’t take long for Cooper Kupp to get the Rams on the board with a touchdown reception. The Ravens could have been in full command. A self-imposed error put the pressure back on the purple and black.

The Baltimore Ravens ended up with field goals on two drives in which they picked up a fourth-down conversion. The lack of finishing drives was the biggest eyesore for the offense. The Ravens could’ve closed the door in this game before they did. The outcome doesn’t change that fact.

The offensive line had some struggles. In fact, Ben Cleveland‘s red zone poor pass protection probably prevented a Tyler Huntley touchdown pass in the first half. The Ravens left points on the field and theirs no way around it. Change one field goal for a touchdown and this is a completely different outcome.

Stats that killed the Ravens:

  • Cooper Kupp had six receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown.
  • Huntley was sacked five times.
  • The Ravens went 3/14 on third downs. The Rams got the fourth down conversion that mattered.

The Ugly

Run defense was bad in this game. Linebackers we’re getting caught in the trash. Tacking was suspect at times and the defensive line was getting pushed off the ball. Sony Michel‘s average per carry was way to healthy.

Up 16-7 in the third quarter, the Ravens had pass protection cost them. A quick stop by the Rams was helped by a second-down sack and a hopeless third-down play where Huntley just had to make an escape and protect the football. Roman’s play-calling was frustrating. It put a ton of pressure on the five offensive linemen. Too much for this unit against Von Miller and Aaron Donald.

Open-field tackling was awful. A lot of the plays that Cooper Kupp and Sony Michel made early were too easy.

The Ravens’ lack of killer instinct was potentially murderous in this game. Baltimore had a chance to put the game away. With a 1st and goal opportunity, the Ravens ended up with a late fourth-quarter field goal. The Ravens were up five with about five minutes left in the game.

It was a bad spot to be in. The Ravens needed a stop. The Rams got to the red zone with a little over two minutes remaining in the game. The absolute inability to stop Cooper Kupp loomed large, as it got the Rams in a dangerously close position.

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens vent session: A tough month

The Ravens had a fourth-down situation on defense. Odell Beckham Jr. caught a first down reception with 1:01 left on the clock. Baltimore had to use a timeout. It didn’t matter. The Rams scored with 57 seconds left. The Ravens stopped the two-point conversion, but they knew they may have lost the hard-fought game. And they did.

 

 

Posted in Ravens Thoughts

Baltimore Ravens vent session: A tough month

By Chris Schisler 

Perhaps the hardest part of the Baltimore Ravens four-game skid is how much has been out of their control. Weekly injury reports, the Covid-19 reserve list, and in-game injuries have held down a team that has shown incredible spirit.

The Ravens lost 41-21 against the Cincinnati Bengals. It was a game you couldn’t even get angry about. What adjustments could have been made that would have changed the outcome? It went beyond calling on the newly anointed plan C at quarterback Josh Johnson. The Ravens had practice squad corners going against Tee Higgins and Ja’Mar Chase. That could only go one way, and when Anthony Averett left the game hurt, it went that way even quicker.

The Ravens were decimated. Circumstances they couldn’t have prepared for and they couldn’t have any control over forced them into a farce of a contest. The Bengals were awarded their ninth win and the inside track to the AFC North crown.

The Ravens were essentially like Superman tied down by Kryptonite under a red sun projector. They were powerless and stuck in a bad spot. Let me indulge in a nerdy reference, it’s been a bad month.

The first stab of the heart:  

Things started with the slow and painful fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Heinz Field crowd relished when the Ravens defense tired out and the Steelers took complete control of the game. After the worst fourth quarter in recent memory was almost in the books Lamar Jackson fought back.

The Ravens were able to match down for the last-minute score. Instead of kicking the extra point and going into overtime, John Harbaugh elected to go for two. It didn’t work out and the Ravens lost by one point. Marlon Humphrey, by the way, sustained a season-ending injury. That night felt like a heavy death blow for the Ravens.

Then the Ravens got a rematch with the Cleveland Browns. The Browns got out to a commanding lead. Lamar Jackson got hurt (on a passing play). Tyler Huntley was able to lead a remarkable comeback. Justin Tucker even got his first successful onside kick. Then the Ravens fell short on a fourth down. The Ravens lost by two points, 24-22.

This is when Covid-19 decided to be a problem for the purple and black. The Ravens went into a game against the Green Bay Packers without much help at all in the secondary. The Ravens’ chances were severely hampered with that and a torn through the offensive line.

Tyler Huntley didn’t care about the odds and the Ravens went for it. Huntley led the Ravens to 30 points. For the second time in three weeks, Baltimore lost on a failed two-point conversion attempt instead of chancing overtime.

The knife turning: 

Then the Ravens had to play the Bengals with the most outmatched secondary the league has ever seen. That’s not a hyperbolic statement. Joe Burrow had over 500 yards passing for a reason. The Ravens’ only healthy starting corner was Tavon Young. The rest of the corners were replacements of replacements. If you told me the Ravens were filming the sequel to The Replacements I might have believed you. The Ravens were stuck playing guys who only get on the field in the preseason.

The Ravens managed to get eight wins despite being the most banged-up team in the NFL. Down went Marcus Peters, Gus Edwards, J.K. Dobbins, and Ronnie Stanley, and the Ravens won five of their first six games. There was no point of the season where the Ravens weren’t without a handful of key players.

The four-game losing streak is simply everything catching up to them. The Ravens were out in a position where they couldn’t survive many more hits to their roster.

The hits came and came and came. The big bad wolf essentially huffed and puffed until the 53 man roster was almost unrecognizable from the one that battled the Las Vegas Raiders in week 1.

Every hit that came changed the roster. The Ravens have had to constantly adapt. The Ravens are a much different team than the one that started 6-1. The team that beat the Chiefs and came back against the Colts doesn’t exist anymore. That team needed luck with injuries and Covid to stay away. To no fault of their own, the Ravens have crumbled.

A search for a perspective beyond emotional pain: 

It’s both remarkable and frustrating that the Ravens aren’t even out of playoff contention. There’s a part of every Ravens fan that’s just waiting for next season. There’s a part of every Ravens fan that wants to see their team pull through, win out and see if they can steal a game or two in the postseason.

The Ravens went down to the wire against the Steelers, Browns and, Packers. If the Ravens just won two of those games they’d have 10 wins and would be in a much different situation. That’s three games settled by a total of four points. That’s brutal. Those were games a healthier Ravens team found a way to win early I’m the season. It’s just too much now. The last straw was had and for some reason, the Ravens still fight and still have a heartbeat.

What’s been missed in the four-game losing streak is how much there is to be positive about. The Ravens don’t have to rebuild – they have to get healthy and regroup for next season. They don’t need a new coach – if anything John Harbaugh’s proven himself with this season. The Ravens are going to be good next year if they simply get any luck at all on the injury front. 

Positives to keep you going Baltimore Ravens fans: 

Mark Andrews is having the best season a Baltimore Ravens tight end ever has. Andrews is dangerously close to breaking receiving records for the Baltimore Ravens. Marquise Brown isn’t far behind him. Could you imagine this offense with a healthy Lamar Jackson and J.K. Dobbins back in the fold?

We asked all offseason for growth in the passing game and the Ravens receiving options are about the only thing going for this team. The very fact that the Ravens don’t need a receiver with great desperation should be something to applaud, even when we’re hurting here in Maryland. 

The Ravens lost core players. Imagine though how much greater the impact of the young talent on this team would be with that core talent back. Odafe Oweh, Brandon Stephens, Rashod Bateman… guys Baltimore has some players for the future. 

NEXT POST: Ravens Flock: Can we just give John Harbaugh a break?

This has been the worst month of Baltimore Ravens football in quite some time. Nothing has gone right, the team has a million built-in excuses, and talking heads still want to use the last game to prop up Joe Burrow as the next big thing (…cool). This is the season that nobody signed up for. This is the season where the Ravens have a chance when injuries and Covid never gave them a fair shot. While there’s always next year – and that’s the focus if you are not a masochistic fan, this season isn’t over. 

 

 

 

 

Posted in The good bad and ugly

Ravens 30 Packers 31: The Good, bad and the ugly

By Chris Schisler

The Baltimore Ravens had a valiant effort against the Green Bay Packers. In the end, the Packers inch closer to the number one seed, while the Ravens put themselves in a tough spot with three games left. The sun has come up – proving that there’s always another day. Since we have to process this game and move on to Cincinnati (literally) let’s talk about the good, bad and, the ugly vs. the Packers:

Whatever you expected, chances are that the Ravens surpassed your expectations. This game came down to the end. The purple and black had a lot of guys out of this game for injuries and the latest surge of Covid-19. The Packers won, but they did not get the easy win that they were supposed to have. They got a fight. The first thing you have to praise is the Ravens’ effort in this game. They wanted it and they protected The Bank honorably.

The Good:

Tyler Huntley continued to be the best backup quarterback in football. He’s going to be a starter somewhere else sooner rather than later. Baltimore let Huntley sling it. They didn’t change their offensive approach and go into an ultra-conservative ground and pound mode. Huntley completed 28 out of 40 passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 73 yards and two touchdowns. Huntley put up a Lamar Jackson-like performance and he was incredibly fun to watch. 

Latavius Murray showed great burst and averaged 6.8 yards per rushing attempt. He only got the rock seven times, but he had some high-impact runs. Baltimore had 143 yards rushing, which is usually a good sign for this offense.

Mark Andrews was amazing in this contest. He had 10 receptions for 136 yards and two touchdowns. The Packers had trouble with Andrews on a regular basis in this game. He somehow kept slipping open. Eight Ravens caught passes in this game showing a healthy distribution and flow of the football. Huntley’s decisions were quick and the offense was efficient.

Defensively, you have to like what you saw. The Ravens were without Chuck Clark and only had five healthy cornerbacks for the game. When Tavon Young left the game hurt, the Ravens were even more shorthanded. If you would have told me that the Packers would only score 31 points and Rodgers would be held under 300 yards before this game, I would have a hard time believing you. The defense got a clutch stop that gave the Ravens a chance at the end. When you have Robert Jackson and Kevon Seymore filling in at cornerback, this is about as good as this thing can go.

The Bad:

Believe it or not, the Packers and Ravens had the same number of penalties. The Ravens had some very dumb things that hurt them in this area though. The Packers caught Justin Houston failing to get off the field in time and it got the Packers a free first down. The Ravens were going to go for it on fourth and one in the fourth quarter. They settled for a field goal when a false start penalty knocked them back five yards. The Ravens needed to play more flawlessly to win this game. They couldn’t afford the self-inflicted mistakes.

While the Ravens did spread the ball around in this game, Rashod Bateman seemingly vanished from the game. The rookie receiver looked unstoppable against the Cleveland Browns. His momentum completely halted in this game.

The Ravens had trouble getting off the field on defense. To be fair, this was to be expected. Still, one of the big problems in this game is that Green Bay won the time of possession battle. While it may look like the Packers didn’t do that much on the ground, their running backs had a huge mark on this game. Aaron Jones only had 58 yards but that came with a healthy 4.5 yards per attempt. Some of those runs were backbreakers – the front seven didn’t have the excuses that the secondary did.

The Ugly:

The play-calling and game management of this game could make eyes bleed. The Ravens march down the field at the beginning of the game. They had every chance to make a statement on the opening drive and they walked away with no points. On a seemingly long three-yard fourth-down attempt. Tyler Huntley was bottled up on a quarterback keeper. It was a fourth-down call with one option, remember that point for later.

It ended up working out. The Ravens got the Packers to punt. The Ravens marched back down the field and scored. Still, in a game where you have every disadvantage you have to take any points you can have. The Ravens lost 31-30. They didn’t need that many points. If they kick that field goal it would have played out differently. You can’t say the Ravens lost because they didn’t take the points on the first drive. You can say though, that the Ravens mismanaged that whole situation from the idea to go for it to the play-call itself.

Let’s fast-forward to the end of the game. With what Baltimore had to deal with, they get a pass for some things and the ugly section doesn’t need to be that intensive. The Ravens going for two at the end of the game… We have to talk about it. Whether or not you think it was the right decision the play-call gave the Ravens very little chance.

The Ravens rolled out to the right and looked for Andrews. That was it. The way the play unfolded, that’s all Huntley was even going to see. The Packers knew it was going to Andrews. Brown was technically open, on the run, Andrews was the one true shot the Ravens had. The Ravens failed to get the touchdown early and failed to get the two-point conversion. Both play-calls essentially gave the Ravens one choice and it wasn’t there. You can blame execution all you want, that’s bad concepts being played out.

Next Post: Baltimore Ravens who deserve a spot in the NFL Pro Bowl

When you consider that the Ravens were playing with all the cards stacked against them, this was the best possible bad situation. Even though the Ravens lost, they showed the team hasn’t given up. At the end of the day, the Ravens have their third straight loss and desperately need to beat the Cincinnati Bengals next week. When you look at what the Ravens had to work with, it has to fuel your belief in John Harbaugh and the Ravens’ mission this season. With everything this team has been through, they haven’t given up.

Posted in Ravens Thoughts

Baltimore Ravens who deserve a spot in the NFL Pro Bowl

By Chris Schisler

The Baltimore Ravens are 8-5 heading into a battle with the Green Bay Packers. Let’s take a glance out of the moment and have some fun. Let’s talk about the Ravens who belong in the NFL Pro Bowl.

Mark Andrews – Tight End

Mark Andrews is one of the best weapons in football. Statistically, there’s no leaving him out of the conversation. He has 75 receptions for 926 yards and six touchdowns with four games left to go. Andrews has been a matchup nightmare and he’s made some of the most important plays of the Ravens season. Andrews is the leading NFL receiver among tight ends. The only tight end all that close to him is Travis Kelce, who is 51 receptions behind Andrews.

Andrews has stepped up his game. He’s always been a good player and in 2020, he was a top-five tight end. Now, he may be the best tight end. His career highs coming into the season were 64 receptions and 852 yards. Andrews has smashed past those numbers. While he’s scored fewer touchdowns so far, that’s more of a side effect of how the Ravens are doing in the red zone in general than a knock on the former Oklahoma Sooner tight end.

Marquise Brown – Wide Receiver

Speaking of career highs, Marquise Brown has had the best year of his short NFL career. He has 70 receptions and 866 yards. Brown had a bad game against the Detroit Lions. In just about every other game he’s been rock solid. He’s averaging almost six receptions per game. He’s had three games with over 100 receiving yards. Brown has been a game-changer at times this season. The Ravens wouldn’t;t have eight wins without him.

Pat Ricard:

Is there a better fullback in the NFL? The answer is no. Ricard has proven to be more of a weapon this season, but his blocking is the main attraction to his game. In a league without many smashmouth fullbacks, Ricard is the toughest of them all.

Bradley Bozeman – Center

The Baltimore Ravens offensive line isn’t all that great this season, but most of their problems come from the offensive tackle positions. At center, Bradley Bozeman is the strongest player in the unit. Bozeman is the only reason the offensive line is somewhat functional.

If you took him out of the equation, nothing would work for the offense. Bozeman has had problems all around him and yet he’s been the most consistent presence for the offensive line. His improvement as a pass protector is really starting to shine. Bozeman has something to be proud about even if he doesn’t get the Pro Bowl nod. He’s the Ravens’ nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.

Justin Tucker – Kicker

Duh. He set the NFL record for the longest field goal to beat the Detroit Lions. He’s the most accurate kicker in NFL history and he’s having another almost flawless year. There should never be a season where Justin Tucker isn’t in the Pro Bowl. Believe it or not, though, he’s only been to the Pro Bowl four times in his career. Tucker better get his fifth Pro Bowl trip because he 100 percent deserves it. He’s the most consistent Ravens player; he may be the most consistent Ravens player ever.

Devin Duvernay – Kick Returner

Duvernay has led the way as a return specialist. One of the crazy things about his season is how close he’s been to breaking a big return for a touchdown. Nobody averages more for a punt return than Duvernay. He has six punt returns over 20 yards. He’s also one of the best kickoff returners in the NFL. The Ravens’ special teams have been a strength this season. The yards Duvernay preserves and creates by making the right decisions as a returner are crucial to Baltimore’s eight wins.

Players who have a case: Lamar Jackson, Nick Moore, Sam Koch

Lamar Jackson was the MVP frontrunner until his season started to spiral out of control. Now Jackson is hurt. Jackson had an incredible first half of the season. He led the Ravens on comebacks against the Kansas City Chiefs and the Indianapolis Colts and was arguably playing the best football of his career. If he returns from injury and starts playing like he did earlier in the season, he can salvage his Pro Bowl status.

The Ravens’ long snapper and punter have a case for the Pro Bowl. Special teams has been a strength. If Tucker and Sam Koch are both in the Pro Bowl conversation, the player who snaps them the football should be as well.

NEXT POST: State of the Baltimore Ravens: 13 thoughts after loss to Browns

 

Posted in Ravens Thoughts

State of the Baltimore Ravens: 13 thoughts after loss to Browns

By Chris Schisler

1. John Harbaugh can frustrate like no other but he’s not the problem and shouldn’t be on the hot seat.

Rational thinking Baltimore Ravens fans can understand that John Harbaugh should be safe going into the next season of Baltimore Ravens football. In a game where the Baltimore Ravens had everything go wrong from the start, where their injury problems extended to their quarterback, and where the NFL officials helped their opponent out a lot, the Ravens almost won the game. The Ravens didn’t give up, showed resilience, and that Harbaugh had the train on the tracks.

Do the tracks lead to the playoffs? We’ll find out later. The thing is that the head coach hasn’t lost the team. The Ravens have an unprecedented amount of injuries and it’s starting to be too much. One thing is for sure, Harbaugh has done an admirable job with this beaten-up roster. The Ravens shouldn’t have eight wins. They shouldn’t have been able to give the Browns a scare down 24-6.

John Harbaugh is not mistake-proof. Because Harbaugh went for the two-point conversion at a questionable time, the Ravens needed one more possession than they would have needed. Harbaugh was being aggressive and not rational in that stretch. He’s not perfect. My question is this: What would this team be without him? I don’t want to know the answer to that question.

2. It’s troubling that Tyler Huntley looked better than Lamar Jackson in the past several weeks:

Is Tyler Huntley better than the 2019 NFL MVP? Absolutely not. The ceiling for Huntley is never going to be as high as it will be for Jackson, who is a truly generational talent. The floor for Jackson has been on display for the past handful of weeks and it’s relatively unbearable. Jackson is the quarterback of the now, and the quarterback of the future. There is no reality where Huntley replaces Jackson as the starter. That shouldn’t have to be explained, yet you know how the internet works, don’t you?

With that preface, we can get into the real conversation. Why did Tyler Huntley play better football than Jackson did in this game? If Jackson stayed in this game, it’s hard to see this comeback happening, and that’s hard to type into the keyboard. The difference is that Huntley was distributing the football and making quick decisions. Whether they were the right call or not, Huntley wasn’t hesitant and the offense stayed mostly on schedule. This highlighted the problems that Jackson is having. That’s something to be aware of moving forward.

3. The officials were unbelievably bad, especially with pass interference:

In the first half, the Baltimore Ravens were playing so poorly that it almost didn’t matter how bad the refs had been. Now that we almost saw the comeback nobody saw coming, let’s look into the refs. The Ravens were flagged 10 times for 125 yards, while the Browns only had four penalties. Early in the game, it seemed like the Ravens couldn’t have a play without a defensive pass interference call. Late in the game, Huntley missed Marquise Brown deep down the field, and the Browns more than probably got away with pass interference on the play.

Pass interference is always questionable. The NFL has made it complicated and reasonable fans just want it to be called consistently and as fairly as possible. The NFL officials have a built-in leeway on these calls, but several of them question the intelligence of the players, coaches, and the viewing audience. When Chris Westry got penalized for interference on a play where he played the ball and was in textbook perfect position, and the calls kept coming just like it, the integrity of the game was affected.

4. This offensive line is bad:

The offensive line is bad. Last week, there had to be a clear focus in my writing that the quarterback wasn’t immune from criticism. This game doesn’t allow me to cover anybody from the smear of blame. The offensive line was horrible. Alejandro Villanueva and Tyre Phillips struggled in a big way. Tyre Phillips should never be the plan at right tackle; I can’t watch it anymore. This offensive line is in a situation where nobody expected them to be good, but it’s still bad.

5. Opening up the offense isn’t a bad idea:

The Ravens didn’t have Nick Boyle or Patrick Ricard in this game. They had a bad offensive line. It forced the Ravens to spread out the offense and rely more heavily on their wide receivers and Mark Andrews. Mark Andrews, by the way, has an inspiring amount of heart and continues to be my favorite player not named Jackson. Opening up the offense was effective.

Huntley had 270 yards in the air and 45 on the ground. Ironically it felt almost like having Lamar back in stride. Rashod Bateman won his matchup in this game and had 103 yards. Seven different players caught a pass and Devonta Freeman still got 64 rushing yards as the main running back. The offense didn’t play in a box, and the ball moved more freely around the field.

6. The Baltimore Ravens defense deserves a lot of praise:

Anthony Averett came away with a huge interception that got the Ravens their first points. It stopped the bleeding and prevented this game from getting too out of hand in the second quarter. This was cracking the door open for a comeback attempt (at the time a comeback seemed like a distant dream). The Browns scored all 24 of their points in the first half. Did Don Martindale just have his guys pitch a second-half shutout? You bet your butt he did.

In a game, the Browns led wire to wire, Cleveland only managed an even 100 rushing yards. The Ravens were playing catch-up and still ran for more yards than the Browns. Nick Chubb had 17 carries and only picked up 3.6 yards a pop. The Ravens’ front seven did some serious work in this game.

7. How was this game close?

I still don’t really understand this. Cleveland had to be very generous hosts for this game to be close. They were up 24-6. They wasted a lot of chances. Cleveland won the time-of-possession battle, yet its not like we can reward them for chewing up big chunks of game clock. The Ravens shouldn’t have been allowed to get back into this game. It says as much about Baltimore’s resilience as it does Cleveland’s proficiency.

The Ravens were playing without Lamar Jackson for most of the game. Jimmy Smith didn’t play the week after Marlon Humphrey was lost for the year. The defense did okay, all things considered. Nick Boyle and Pat Ricard were out on offense. Patrick Mekari was out at the right tackle spot. This was an even more banged-up Ravens team than usual, after a heartbreaking loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Browns had a bye week before this game. That may have been the advantage that won them the game. One thing is for sure, you can’t make this up. The Browns have issues. The Ravens may not win another game (It’s a dark and conceivable thought) but the Browns should take no solace here. They have issues that will come back to bite them.

8. Mark Andrews should just live in the slot:

According to a tweet by sideline reporter, Aditi Kinkhabwala, Mark Andrews was lined up in the slot 10 times, targeted 10 times, and caught all 10 passes. I’m half-joking here, but why line up Andrews anywhere else? This has been his most impactful spot all season. Andrews has 75 receptions for 926 yards and he’s done a bit of everything for this offense. Tight ends have to block, especially without Nick Boyle. You want to show different looks and all that good stuff. One thing is for sure, the Browns couldn’t stop Andrews when he lined up in the slot. I’m not sure many teams can.

9. The Baltimore Ravens know how to hurt us the most, don’t they?

Most Ravens fans were probably ambivalent at the halftime intermission. If ever there was a game where you laughed not to cry and made a couple of extra drinks it was this one. The first half was about as fun as waiting in line at the MVA or sitting in traffic for an hour because there was an accident up ahead. It was what it was and fans just had to sit there and make the best of it. Then the Ravens came back and got hopes up.

The Ravens get the onside kick. Then a two-yard pass on fourth and six falls to the ground. Then the heartbreak is worse than watching the first half. Ravens fans, I know. This one stunk. The Ravens are competitive no matter what, getting steamrolled may have been easier to digest. It sounds silly, but the emotions of this game were universally felt among the Ravens Flock. Being a sports fan is signing up for punishment and the Ravens can take this to extremes, can’t they?

10. Young bright spots are what you have to cling on to:

The obvious example of a young bright spot is Rashod Batemen. He was incredible in this game. His explosive and tough style of play is working. We knew the Ravens needed to get him the ball more and this game just confirmed it. Let’s talk about some other guys though.

In the secondary, Brandon Stephens is going to have a long and illustrious career with the Ravens. Stephens played really well in this game. The Ravens were absolutely needy at cornerback and he was on the field almost the entire game for this defense. He had six tackles in this game and his quick and fluid skillset shined in coverage. Chris Westry was really sharp at cornerback as well. Westry was an undrafted free agent that made the roster. Stephens was a third-round pick nobody saw coming. Ravens fans, on a day where everything is bumming you out, enjoy this.

11. Where is the Baltimore Ravens- Cleveland Browns rivalry?

The Ravens split the season series with the Browns, so where is the rivalry? The Browns can’t be too happy with the power dynamic. This should have been an easy win. In the back of Kevin Stefanski’s head is that the Ravens took his team to the brink even when everything stacked against them. The Ravens have won four of the last six games against the Browns. It will be interesting to see what happens next time.

If the Browns beat the doors of the Ravens, the way it looked they would, we’d have to talk about the status of this rivalry. For the moment, the Ravens don’t fear the Browns. The Ravens wish they had another crack at Cleveland. The Browns are glad they’re done with the Ravens on their regular-season schedule, whether they admit it or not.

12. The Browns had a great game plan:

The Browns were incredibly prepared for this game. They throttled the Ravens’ offense at the start of the game. They knew exactly where to attack the Ravens defensively. Kevin Stefanski and his staff had more answers than John Harbaugh’s crew did. This allowed the Browns to get ahead from the start. While I think the Browns overthought the second half to their detriment, they had all the right concepts prepared for this game. You have to credit the Browns on that. They learned lessons from the last game and unleashed on Baltimore at the start of this game.

13. Hosting Green Bay could be another brutal Sunday:

The Green Bay Packers dropped 45 points on the Chicago Bears last night. Aaron Rodgers went 29 of 37 passing for 341 yards and four touchdowns. Devante Adams had 10 receptions for 121 yards and two touchdowns. The Ravens defense is hurt most in the secondary, hasn’t had a great pass rush, and might be playing without the help of Lamar Jackson on offense. Hope for the best Baltimore. Still… brace yourself.

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens: How to get the offense rolling again

Thank you for reading my long-form thoughts. There is a lot to process here.

 

Posted in Ravens Thoughts

Baltimore Ravens vs Browns: 4 predictions and a score

The Baltimore Ravens are in first place in the AFC North. With an 8-4 record they have three more divisional battles. On Sunday they head to Ohio to take on the Cleveland Browns. Here are four predictions and a score for this very important game.

Lamar Jackson is turnover-free but sacks remain a problem:

 

Lamar Jackson has been a turnover slot machine in the last handful of weeks. He’s getting sacked a good bit as well. The Baltimore Ravens desperately need to get their quarterback back on track.

Pass protection is going to be an issue. Assuming Myles Garrett plays, the offensive line could face a bigger problem than it did last week. Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney take on Alejandro Villanueva and Tyre Phillips. A lot of things could go wrong there.

Jackson will be very cautious with the football. He’ll avoid turnovers. Being a bit gun-shy could worsen the problem with sacks. If Jackson is hesitant to take open shots down the field or to check the ball down, he’s going to get hit, way too much.

Jackson will avoid the boneheaded interceptions. He’ll cling to the ball for dear life. This will be his ultimate focus. Playing nervously at quarterback has negative symptoms though. With the offensive line facing a matchup that (at least on paper) they can’t win in pass protection, Jackson will take at least four sacks.

The defensive front keeps this a battle for the Ravens:

The Cleveland Browns may see Marlon Humphrey being out as their ticket to big plays down the field. While that may be true Kevin Stefanski and company just saw Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt shut down by this Ravens defensive front. The Browns have a highly acclaimed offensive line, though the Ravens won the battle two weeks ago.

Look for another big game from Tyus Bowser, who is crucially important in run defense. Look for Patrick Queen to string another solid performance together. Calais Campbell missed the first Browns game and the defense found a way to dominate the line of scrimmage.

Don Martindale and the Ravens defense are expected to fold without Marlon Humphrey and with a string of secondary injuries. The defensive front had three sacks and held Chubb to 40 yards last time. The Ravens’ defensive backs are a huge question mark. The front seven should have some trust and it will make this interesting.

3. Devin Duvernay makes an impact on special teams:

Devin Duvernay made a big impact against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He’s quietly having a year as the best return specialist in football. Last week it looked like one might break for a touchdown. He’s due for a kickoff or punt return to get him in the end zone. Look for the Texas Longhorns product to put points on the board via special teams.

Duvernay had a kickoff return for a touchdown last year against the Kansas City Chiefs. He leads the league in punt return yards per attempt. He’s a fast player who keeps coming close to a big play. This is his chance to shine. It’s his chance to make a difference in the game.

4. Rashod Bateman stays frustrated:

Much of the talk from this past week has been about Rashod Bateman’s frustration. The Ravens’ rookie wide receiver may have to stay frustrated one more week.

With Jackson trying to protect the football at any cost, he’s going to lean on his top two targets, Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown. It’s a very repetitive cycle. Jackson gets frustrated- Jackson locks on to the two guys he trusts no matter what. Bateman has looked the part and is looking at a matchup that he could win.  It should be a big day for him but the side effects of Jackson recovering from his struggles will resort to the ball not being spread around the way it should be.

And now a score: Browns win 24-21

 

This is a prediction I hope to be wrong about. The Ravens got away with four picks in the last contest with Cleveland; there’s a lot that goes the Ravens way in this matchup. Things are heading in the wrong direction for Baltimore though, and there are a lot of concerns.

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens: How to get the offense rolling again

Will the Ravens give Cleveland a fight? Absolutely. The calling card of John Harbaugh teams is being competitive, almost no matter what. To win in Cleveland though they have to play better than they have been. Ravens vs. Browns is almost always close now. A few big passing plays in a big spot will give Cleveland the tight victory.

 

Posted in Ravens Thoughts

Baltimore Ravens breakdown: The 2 point conversion attempt

By Ashley Anderson

I would say good morning, Baltimore Ravens fans, but I am quite sure you are all still reeling from last night’s loss. Of course, the defining moment of the game was Head Coach John Harbaugh’s decision to try for a two-point conversion to win in regulation after Baltimore drove down to score. Conventional wisdom tells you to kick the extra point, go for the tie, and let things play out in overtime. Harbaugh decided against that.

Insider Information

The Ravens, of course, knew something that fans at home did not. Marlon Humphrey had suffered a potentially serious injury on Pittsburgh’s previous drive, and he would not be returning to the game. Pittsburgh had already been running roughshod over Baltimore’s defense, and now they were even more short-handed.

Pundits’ Reactions to the Baltimore Ravens choice:

Some pundits were jumping for joy, excited to see an aggressive approach in line with Harbaugh’s typical strategy. Others felt the Ravens should take the near sure thing and have Justin Tucker kick the extra point. After the touchdown, Harbaugh immediately held up two fingers, and those watching the CBS broadcast could hear how enthused Tony Romo was.

Pittsburgh took a timeout to get their defense situated. Baltimore then seemed to hesitate, as Tucker was on the field. That was just a decoy, however, as Harbaugh fully intended to go for the two-point conversion from the get-go.

The Play Itself

By now, everyone has seen the play. The Ravens went with a misdirection, trying to fake like the ball was going to Devonta Freeman. T.J. Watt did not bite on the fake, and he was in Lamar Jackson’s face untouched nearly instantaneously.

Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick was caught out of position, though. His eyes were in the backfield, as he believed Freeman had the ball. That left tight end Mark Andrews wide open in the flat.

Andrews appeared to slow up on the route and square his hips to the line of scrimmage. With Watt in his face, Jackson threw an off-target pass that went wider than he intended. Although Andrews stuck out one hand and tipped the ball, he was not able to tip it back to himself to secure it. The pass fell harmlessly to the turf, and the Steelers escaped with the one-point win.

Football has always been a game of inches. Early in the day, Pittsburgh missed on a sure touchdown when Dionte Johnson had a ball bounce off his fingertips in the end zone. The Ravens missed a near pick earlier as well on a ball that bounced off a couple of players and through the hands of Marlon Humphrey. On the last play, a couple of inches made all the difference.

Questions Abound for the Baltimore Ravens

It is fair to question Baltimore’s strategy in this situation. Their offense had just executed a solid touchdown drive, and there was nothing saying they would not get the ball back in overtime. Harbaugh, however, felt the best chance at a win came from finding a way to get those two key points in regulation.

In four straight games, the Ravens have now failed to score 20 points. Their offense has sputtered, even when they are in a position to score like they were early in yesterday’s game. The offensive line was dealt another blow with the loss of right tackle Patrick Mekari to a hand injury. Pittsburgh had an eye-popping seven sacks on the day, partly due to poor play by the line, and partly due to Jackson holding the ball too long. With all that going against them, Harbaugh did not trust them to execute another scoring drive.

He also did not trust his defense to make a stop. After holding Pittsburgh to three points through the first 45-minutes, the defense came unglued in the fourth quarter. Poor tackling again reared its ugly head. Anthony Averett was getting burned on every other play.

A miscommunication between Averett and Humphrey allowed Johnson to take a 29-yard pass untouched for a score. Humphrey’s injury occurred while trying to defend Johnson as he scored his second touchdown of the day to put Pittsburgh on top. 17 unanswered points certainly does not inspire confidence.

My Opinion

Personally, I still wish the Ravens had kicked the extra point. Sure, it is the most conservative approach, and it may have extended the misery. Perhaps, Harbaugh was trying to avoid further injuries and get our of Pittsburgh with at least a handful of healthy corners. However, with a kicker who was good from 66-yards earlier this season, one has to wonder what could have been if the coin flip went Baltimore’s way.

If the Ravens won the toss, there was nothing saying Devin Duvernay wouldn’t take the kickoff to the house. He leads the league in kick return yards, so it is entirely possible he would have ripped off a big gain and put Baltimore in excellent field position. On the previous kickoff, Chris Boswell actually kicked the ball out of bounds and gave the Ravens the ball on the 40-yard line. If either of those things happened, Jackson would have only needed to move the ball between 25-30 yards to kick a field goal.

The flip side is that Baltimore may have lost the toss. Even in that scenario, the special teams unit had pinned Pittsburgh deep all day. A proud defensive unit, even sans its top corner, would have been eager to make a stop. Wink Martindale may have found a way to pressure Ben Roethlisberger into a mistake, or bounce or two may have gone Baltimore’s way.

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens 2021 1st round is looking like a smash hit right now

Now, we will never know what might have been. As he did all day, Watt disrupted Jackson’s timing, and poor execution on both ends of the play caused the two-point try to fail. It never should have come down to that, but the Ravens made too many mistakes throughout the game. At 8-4, Baltimore still leads the AFC North, but their season is very much in jeopardy.

Posted in Ravens Thoughts

Ravens showdown with Browns: 4 predictions and a score

By Chris Schisler

The Baltimore Ravens are getting into their judgment day. Their season will be defined by how they do in the five divisional battles they have in the last seven games of the season. The first of these divisional battles is on Sunday Night Football against the Cleveland Browns. The Ravens will see the Browns twice in three weeks so getting off to a big start of this stretch is crucial. Here are four predictions and a free score estimate for the huge game.

1. Mark Andrews has 10 receptions and 125 yards, and two touchdowns

The biggest problem for the Cleveland Browns outside of Lamar Jackson has been Mark Andrews. Andrews is a player that gives Cleveland trouble. Andrews has had five touchdowns against the Browns over the past two seasons. Look for Andrews to go off in this game. This is a game where the Ravens are going to need all the big plays they can get. Jackson trusts Andrews more than anybody in the big spot.

Andrews has had no less than five receptions in a game since he was held to just three catches in week 1. Predicting a 10 reception day for Andrews sounds bolder than it is. Andrews had 11 receptions against the Indianapolis Colts. He’s coming off an eight-grab day against the Chicago Bears in a game where his starting quarterback was out with an illness. Andrews is playing amazingly and he’s the best thing the Ravens have to show off on offense not named Jackson.

2. Odafe Oweh has three sacks

Baker Mayfield has been sacked 27 times this season. The Baltimore Ravens are hoping to add to that number. While the Ravens haven’t been pass-rushing masters, they have a talented young pass rusher in Odafe Oweh. Oweh has four sacks this season and he’s got a good number of pressures on top of that.

So far Oweh’s signature moment was against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday Night Football. The Ravens have a SNF showing again this week. Let’s see if he can top his last performance. How do you top forcing Patrick Mahomes into a pick and a game-saving forced fumble? Three sacks against Baker Mayfield in a crucial game at home would do the trick. Oweh is bound to break out for a huge game eventually and this matchup could be the ticket.

3. Lamar Jackson has 100 yards rushing and nearly 300 in the air:

The Baltimore Ravens are going to need a big day from Lamar Jackson to win this game. This is going to be a classic Lamar Jackson outing. Coming back after he missed a game, against a division rival? You already know Jackson is going to be ready for that. I could see Jackson starting this game a little too amped for his good. Once he settles into the game, Cleveland will remember that he is their worst nightmare.

Jackson topped the Browns in the 2018 season finale. He lost one in 2019, but went to Cleveland and got his swift revenge. Jackson and the Ravens swept Cleveland in 2020. When the Browns thought they had the Ravens last year, Jackson returned from the locker room and made the game-saving touchdown pass to Marquise Brown. Jackson has had the upper hand in this rivalry, not Baker Mayfield. I expect the return of the MVP to be a sight to see. Look for one of Jackson’s best performances under the Sunday night lights.

In games like this Jackson just makes it happen. Remember the 47-42 game? Jackson had to get it done with his legs at the beginning of that game. Jackson led touchdown drives by taking off and making Browns players chase him with desperation. In that game, he had 163 yards passing and 124 yards rushing. This is a “Whatever it takes” kind of game and that means it’s a Jackson special.

4. The Ravens lack of open field tackling makes this more dramatic than it needs to be:

Do I see this as a potentially great night for Baltimore? Yes. Do I also see this as a Ravens game, meaning it’s going to be harder than it has to be? You bet. The Ravens have given up a big play or two in just about every game because of a lack of tackling prowess. Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, and Jarvis Landry in the open field… What could go wrong? This will likely be a back-and-forth affair.

Every missed tackle will give the Browns life. Every big play will make this game a little harder. Knowing the track record of the Ravens and the big-time playmakers on the Browns’ offense, look for some big plays for Cleveland. It’s borderline inevitable.

And now a score: Ravens win 35-28

This is going to be a roller coaster of emotions. Get ready for it now. Strap yourself in and get ready to find a way no matter what. If the Ravens show up and step up to the plate, they’re still going to make it dramatic. That’s the way it goes this season. Give me the offense having a big showing and the defense doing just enough to stop Baker Mayfield and hand him an L.

NEXT POST: 3 big questions for Baltimore Ravens in battle with Browns

This is as big of a game day as you get. Go get it Baltimore!

Posted in Pregame Content

Ravens offense: Things we want to see against the Browns

By Chris Schisler

The Baltimore Ravens are about to host the Cleveland Browns on Sunday Night Football. This is one of the biggest games of the season. It’s a chance to keep the Browns down and hold onto first place in the AFC North. The Ravens have to play the Browns again in Week 14 after playing the Pittsburgh Steelers in week 13. The Browns get a bye in between their clashes with the Ravens. This one is big and it can’t be overstated.

Stars back, the quarterback protected:

The first thing you want to see for the Baltimore Ravens is the return of Lamar Jackson and Marquise Brown. This isn’t a game that the Ravens can get by in without making big plays. The offense can’t leave the defense out to dry. The Browns may be as on and off as the Ravens, but when they’re on they can drop some points on the scoreboard.

The Ravens need more from their pass protection to be better. What was the problem two weeks in a row? Blitzes coming off the edge untouched and unnoticed. This is a game where the Ravens can’t leave Lamar Jackson out to dry, assuming he gets back into the action. This is where the return of Nick Boyle comes in. Protect the right tackle with extra help blocking. Put Boyle in there and have Pat Ricard at the ready.

Myles Garrett has 13 sacks to his name this year and has a case to be the Defensive Player of the Year. The Browns should absolutely send a defensive back after the Ravens’ quarterback in this game, it worked for two teams in a row. The offensive line is outmatched. What does this mean for Greg Roman?

It means it’s not okay to see a lot of looks out of an empty set, taxing your five-man protection. It means that he can’t call a ton of deep shots down the field that doesn’t include safety valves for Jackson underneath. The ball has to come out quick more often than not and that doesn’t mean 50 wide receiver screens.

Run the ball, have some fun with it:

The Ravens need to keep making progress with their run game. Let’s see Devonta Freeman keep picking up some momentum. Let’s see Latavius Murray running fearlessly up the gut as he did against Chicago. We need to see Jackson chip into the run game. The Ravens used to be promised 150 yards on the ground even on a bad day. You can run against this Browns defense. Let’s see the Ravens get back to overpowering their opponent.

This is a game where every bit of creativity from Roman will be appreciated. All season, the Ravens have been using Devin Duvernay in the run game. What if that jet sweep could be used to set up a fairly deadly play-fake? It feels like the Ravens have been setting it up all season and this could be a good game to have it pay off. The Ravens need to pull out all the stops. The last thing Ravens fans will accept is a lack of creativity and inspiration from their play-caller.

More than anything you just want to see the Ravens finish drives. Too often they are stopped to Justin Tucker field goals when the offense looks like it’s about to get going. The offense needs to hone into the moment with no little mistakes. Penalty-free football is next to impossible the way the game is called, but Baltimore can’t beat themselves with stupid things: False starts, delay of game penalties, illegal formations.

Jackson to Andrews:

Again, this article is written in the assumption that we’ll see the Ravens MVP candidate under center on Sunday evening. We have to see Lamar Jackson playing like Lamar Jackson wire to wire. He can’t be off or out of sync at the beginning of this game and look to turn on the jets as the game progresses. He needs to be the number eight that steps into his throws and fires strikes, not the one who misses low, or puts himself in a bad throw because he held the ball too long.

This is a Browns game so it’s all about Mark Andrews. Andrews has had some of his biggest games against the Browns. That needs to continue on Sunday evening. When Jackson is feeling it and the Browns don’t have a way to stop Andrews, good things happen for Baltimore.

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens: Ranking every crazy victory of this insane season

This is going to be a battle. The offensive focus needs to be on three things. First, the play-calls must help the offensive line. Secondly, creativity must unlock some fun in the run game. Finally, the Ravens need Lamar Jackson back and ready to do some damage. Other than one bad day in 2019, Jackson has owned the Browns. He’s their biggest nightmare. He has to be extra scary to the Browns on this game in front of a national audience.

Posted in Ravens Thoughts

Baltimore Ravens: Ranking every crazy victory of this insane season

By Chris Schisler

The Baltimore Ravens beat the Denver Broncos and the Los Angles Chargers convincingly. The rest of their wins have come in the most insane ways imaginable. In some of these games, I still can’t believe they actually pulled out the win. So in the spirit of having some fun, let’s rank each of the Ravens five miracles this season.

Baltimore Ravens crazy wins:

5. Erasing a 14 point deficit to the Vikings:

The Baltimore Ravens started the Vikings game about as poorly as they could have. Baltimore trailed 17-10 at the end of the first half. The second half started with a touchdown return for the Vikings. The score was 24-10 and the way Baltimore was playing, this game felt over.

The Ravens outscored the Vikings 21-14 in the second half to take the game to overtime. In overtime, Lamar Jackson threw an interception trying to get the ball over a defensive end and into the flat. The Ravens defense found a way to get the stop and Justin Tucker found the win with his leg.

In the second half, you got a completely different Lamar Jackson. It was a completely different Ravens team. When this team gets rolling they are unstoppable. This was fun to watch.

4. Oh my Justin Tucker

If you would have told me after Tucker hit this field goal in week three, that there would be three finishes in front of this one, I would have been shocked. Tucker hit a 66-yard field goal to win the game against the Detroit Lions. Tucker hit a 61-yard field goal in 2013 to beat the Lions. Ford Field is kind to number nine. Until the 66-yard field goal that was his career-long. The football hit the crossbar and then bounced in between the uprights and made Tucker the record holder for the longest field goal in NFL history.

This game probably gets pushed down on my list because of how frustrating the game was. The Ravens had an irredeemable mess on their hands. Dropped passes took a lot of points off the board. The defense buckled eventually. The offense came up short time and time again. If there is a Ravens game I have no interest in rewatching (outside of the crazy finish where Lamar Jackson launched a prayer to get Tucker the chance for that miracle kick) it’s this one. This game was hell to watch. The finish was pure euphoria though.

3. Chicago still can’t believe it:

This game has the benefit of recency bias. At the time of this writing, less than 24 hours have passed since the incredible win. The Bears probably thought they had gotten away with one. Lamar Jackson didn’t play due to a non-Covid illness that sounds about as fun as eating nails and screws. The Bears found themselves up 13-9 with very little time left in an ugly game on a windy Chicago day.

Then a backup quarterback went down the field and got the Ravens a win. This was a day where the Ravens just had to find a way. They were without so many players. They didn’t have Lamar Jackson or Marquise Brown. The defense was more depleted than usual. It was a situation and the Ravens found a way to get the win. If this doesn’t show the resolve of this team when they band together to get something done, I don’t know what does. Congratulations Ravens, you showed you had the heart needed to attack a tough backend of the season.

2. Comeback against the Colts:

Lamar Jackson broke a franchise record for the most passing yards in a game. He found 442 yards in the air and his rushing yards put him over 500 total yards. The Baltimore Ravens were down 22-3. How did they win this game? Even with Lamar Jackson stepping up like Superman to save the day, the Ravens needed a lot of things to go right here.

They needed a blocked field goal by Calais Campbell. They needed a little luck after Tavon Young set up the game-winning field goal with a personal foul. The long and short of it, they needed a magical evening that couldn’t possibly be topped. The Ravens’ comeback against the Colts will go down as one of the most improbable wins ever in sports. Not just football, but sports in general.

Jackson put on one of the biggest displays of leadership I have ever seen with this performance. He willed his team to win. His generals stepped up at the moment. Mark Andrews had the game of his life with 11 receptions, 147 yards, and two touchdowns. Marquise Brown had nine catches for 126 yards and two scores. I pity the fools who went to bed angry and frustrated with the purple and black. They missed a show for the ages.

1. Baltimore Ravens top the Chiefs 36-35

The Baltimore Ravens hosted their kryptonite on Sunday Night Football. In front of a national audience, Lamar Jackson showed he could beat the Chiefs and make an amazing comeback all in one night. Jackson officially crossed off two things on the haters’ go-to list of things he couldn’t achieve. Ultimately, that is why this game gets the top billing.

The Ravens were down 35-24 at the end of the third quarter. It looked like the Ravens couldn’t stop the Chiefs’ offense. It looked like hope was officially lost. Jackson, who had two interceptions in the first half showed up.

He would not be denied. He put the team on his back and he screamed “Let’s go” with his play and his demeanor. Jackson put up 239 yards passing and had the best jump pass you’ll ever see in the process. He rushed for 107 yards and accounted for three touchdowns. No matter what happened, Jackson was walking away with a win. It was written, he decided it.

The defense joined in on the no matter what spirit of that majestic comeback. Odafe Oweh forced Patrick Mahomes to throw an interception, that gave the Ravens a boost late in the game. When a Chiefs’ game-winning field goal seemed imminent, Oweh forced Clyde Edwards-Helaire to fumble. Jackson would pick up the game-winning first down on a fourth-down attempt.

On that night the Baltimore Ravens knew they couldn’t give Mahomes the ball back. It was poetic justice, it was a feeling that couldn’t be matched in that stadium on that night. Jackson picked up the first down and the Ravens sent a statement to the league. Words can’t do that comeback justice.

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens sneak past Bears: 7 lessons on victory Monday

As a guy who covers the team I’m trying to keep some of the emotion from bleeding through the screen you’ll read this on. As a Ravens fan since I was 10 years old, nothing could have meant more than being there at that emotional roller-coaster of a game. The reason it’s number one for me is that the emotion was going to sneak through no matter what my fingers did on this keyboard. This game means the entire world to me.